Blackjack FAQ

Here is a Blackjack FAQ – a list of the most common blackjack questions and their answers:

What is a blackjack pit boss?

This is a casino employee that supervises a certain amount of blackjack tables. They are usually divided into sections and in the middle of the section or “the pit” is where the boss stands. His main purpose is to control the flow of the games, watch for suspicious activities and to make sure everything runs smoothly.

Should I have a certain bankroll when I play blackjack?

Yes, you should. Blackjack is a game with a high variation, so you need to have a decent bankroll to play it. We recommend you to never bet more than 3% on a single hand.

Why do casinos burn a card in baccarat and blackjack?

One of the reasons is to foil card counters, but the main purpose is to ensure fair game. The top card is usually exposed to most of the known cheating schemes like marking or collaboration between a dealer and a player, for example. Finally, it’s possible that a player sees the card and gets an advantage.

Can I use a blackjack strategy sheet at casinos?

It is accepted in most Las Vegas casinos, if you don’t slow the game too much.

Why does the casino gain advantage from hitting on soft 17 when the chance to bust is higher?

It is true that chance of busting is higher, but 17 is not really a strong hand. Hitting on soft 17 actually means the casino has two chances of improving.

Is video blackjack in Las Vegas the same as the live tables or is there an additional edge for the casino?

The laws in Nevada ensure that all video blackjack games are completely random. This means there is no additional edge for the house, but you should watch what rule variations are used as lots of video poker blackjacks pay even money for 21.

Is there any correlation between the set of rules used on a table and the minimum bet?

Usually, there is. The lower the house edge, the higher the minimum bet. This means that the tables with the lowest minimum are usually with the worst rule variations.

Is there an effect of burning a card in a single deck?

There is none, unless you are counting cards. In this case, you should add this card to the number of cards left in the deck for a precise true count.

There is a rumor that the so-called “perfect strategy” was invented by the casinos, is that true?

No, it was actually published in an article in 1967. Ever since, it has been proven numerous times that the strategy is legit and brings the best long-term results.

Is blackjack beatable in a live casino?

It depends. If the rule variations are favorable, you know the perfect strategy and can count cards, you can be ahead.

What is the “Flaw theory” and is it true?

That’s another conspiracy theory that suggest that the perfect strategy is not true and a scam. Well, countless software simulations and calculations have shown that the theory is really the best way to go. So no, the flaw theory is the real scam in this case.

What is 6:5 and 7:5 and how does it affect the game?

These numbers stand for the payout you get when hitting a blackjack. In most cases, it’s 3:2, so 7:5 and especially 6:5 means much edge for the house. So don’t play a 6:5 and 7:5 blackjack games as the house edge there is huge.

Are there exceptions to basic strategy?

Unless you are counting cards, you should stick to the basic strategy all the time.

What does “Las Vegas rules” mean?

“Las Vegas rules” stands for a specific variation of the game played in most Vegas casinos. Under them, you can double down on the first two cards, players can resplit (do a second split) with insurance allowed, the dealer stands on hard 16 and hits on soft 17. The “Las Vegas rules” are rather favorable to the player compared to most of the other blackjack variations.

Is blackjack the casino game with the best odds for the player?

It depends on the rules, but usually, it is. Blackjack and video poker are the games with the lowest house edge, but only played with the correct strategy.

What is better – a single deck or multiple decks?

Playing the single deck is the best for the player, but the casinos usually adjust the rules to compensate that. However, under the same rules, the fewer decks, the better for the player.

Why aren’t there lots of blackjack professionals if the game is beatable?

The simple truth is that it is not easy to beat the game. As we already clarified, it requires a certain set of rules, good knowledge of the best strategy and card counting.

Why do casinos sometimes “shuffle up” or change decks and is it legal?

If the pit boss or the dealer suspects there might be cheating or card counting, they can decide to shuffle up or change the decks. The casino has the right to do so at any given moment.

Should I tip the dealer and how much?

You should tip the dealer as this is considered part of the casino etiquette, but it is not mandatory. The amount depends on the stakes really, but you should usually give the dealer a tip every 20-30 hands you play. If you lost in the process, a small tip is fine. If you won big, you could give him more.

What is a “cut card”?

This is a special piece of plastic that has the size and the shape of a standard playing card. It is given to a player after reshuffling. He then places it somewhere in the deck in order to cut. The main purpose is to add another randomization and make sure the casino isn’t cheating.

What is Atlantic City blackjack?

It’s a specific set of rules used in most of the casinos in Atlantic City. It consists of 8 decks and one betting position. The dealer stands on a soft 17 and peeks for blackjack while the player can resplit up to three cards and has the option for a late surrender. You can also double on any two cards and double once after splitting. Online, you can find those rules in most Microgaming blackjack games.

What limits should I choose?

That’s an important question if you want to play at least for a while. We recommend you to choose tables where you can play with about 5% of the money you have per hand. This way you won’t bust too quickly.

What is the point of blackjack tournaments, aren’t they all about luck?

There is a lot of luck involved, but strategy also plays a role. Your main target is to build a huge stack, so betting more on hands with higher odds and placing minimum wagers on low-odds hands gives you an advantage.

What does “toke” mean?

It’s the same as tip. “Toking the dealer” means tipping the dealer.

What is the chance to hit a blackjack?

In a single deck, you have just under 5% to hit an ace and a ten-point card.

Should I play progressive blackjack and try to score big?

The simple answer is no. The odds are plain terrible and the side bets that go for the jackpot are with an enormous house edge.

Should I always stand if there’s a risk of going bust?

Some players use the “never bust” strategy and always stand if there’s a risk of going over 21. However, this is not the best play as you can see in our strategy charts.

Should I surrender if I have bad cards?

According to the basic strategy, you should sometimes surrender, but not always. If you are counting cards and have a better idea what’s left in the deck, you should always consider it too.

Can I help another player at the table with an advice?

There is no rule forbidding this, but you should be careful. Avoid this practice, unless the player asks you. You could also consult with the dealer if this is acceptable.

Can I use my cell phone while playing in a casino?

No, you aren’t allowed since you can be colluding with someone else to cheat the casino. If you want to talk, you should stand up from the table.

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