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Rushmore Casino Online - Roulette

BlackJACK

Rules of Play at Casinos

At a casino blackjack table, the dealer faces between five and nine (commonly seven) playing positions from behind a semicircular table. Each position may be occupied by up to three players. A single player is often permitted to control or bet on as many positions as desired at one table, but prohibited from playing on more than one table at a time. At the beginning of each round, bets are placed in the "betting box" at each position in play. The player whose bet is at the front of the betting box is deemed to have control over the position, and the dealer will consult the controlling player for playing decisions regarding the hand.

Each wagered-on position is dealt an initial hand of two cards visible to the player of that box, and often to any other players. The dealer's hand receives its first card face up, and in "hole card" games receives its second card face down immediately (the hole card), which the dealer peeks at but does not reveal unless it makes the dealer's hand a blackjack. Hole card games are sometimes played on tables with a small mirror or electronic sensor, which are used to peek securely at the hole card. In European casinos, "no hole card" games are prevalent; the dealer's second card is neither drawn nor consulted until the players have all played their hands.
 
Cards are dealt either from one or two hand-held decks, from a dealer's shoe, or from a shuffling machine. Single cards are dealt to each of wagered-on position clockwise from the dealer's leftmost position, followed by a single card to the dealer, followed by an additional card to each of the positions in play. The players' initial cards may be dealt face-up, or face-down (more common in single-deck games).

The players' object is to win money by creating card totals which will turn out to be higher than the dealer's hand, but without exceeding 21 (“busting”/“breaking"). On their turn, players must choose whether to "hit" (take a card), "stand" (end their turn), "double" (double wager, take a single card and finish), "split" (if the two cards have the same value, separate them to make two hands) or "surrender" (give up a half-bet and retire from the game). Number-cards count as their natural value; the jack, queen, and king (also known as "face cards" or "pictures") count as 10; aces are valued as either 1 or 11 according to the player's best interest. If the hand value exceeds 21 points, it busts, and its bet is immediately forfeit. After all boxes have finished playing, the dealer's hand is resolved by drawing cards until the hand busts or achieves a value of 17 or higher (a dealer total of 7 including an ace, or "soft 17", must be drawn to in some games). The dealer never doubles, splits nor surrenders. If the dealer busts, all remaining player hands win. If the dealer does not bust, each remaining bet wins if its hand is higher than the dealer's, and loses if it is lower. In the case of a tied score, known as "push" or "standoff", the bet is normally returned without adjustment; however, a blackjack beats any hand, which is not a blackjack, even with value 21. Blackjack vs. blackjack is a push. Wins are paid out at 1:1, or equal to the wager, except for winning blackjacks, which are traditionally paid at 3:2, or one and a half times the wager. Many casinos today pay blackjacks at less than 3:2 at some tables.


Player Decisions

After receiving an initial two cards, the player has four standard options: "hit," "stand," "double down," or "split". Each option has a corresponding hand signal. Some games give the player a fifth option, "surrender".

Hit: Take another card from the dealer. Signal: (handheld) Scrape cards against table. (face-up) Tap the table or wave hand toward body

Stand: Take no more cards; also known as "stand pat", "stick", or "stay" Signal: (handheld) Slide cards under chips. (face-up) Wave hand horizontally.

Double down (only available as first decision of a hand): The player is allowed to increase the initial bet by up to 100% in exchange for committing to stand after receiving exactly one more card. The additional bet is placed in the betting box next to the original bet. Some games do not permit the player to increase the bet by amounts other than 100%. Non-controlling players may double their wager or decline to do so, but they are bound by the controlling player's decision to take only one card. Signal: Place additional chips beside the original bet, and point with one finger.

Split (only available as first decision of a hand): If the first two cards have the same value, the player can split them into two hands, by moving a second bet equal to the first into an area outside the betting box of the original bet. The dealer separates the two cards and draws a further card on each, placing one bet with each hand. The player then plays out the two separate hands in turn, with some restrictions. In the case of ten-valued cards, some casinos allow splitting only when the cards have the identical symbols; for instance, a hand of T-T or K-K may be split, but not of T-K or K-T. Other casinos allow splitting of any pair of ten-valued cards. Doubling and further splitting of post-split hands may be restricted, and blackjacks after a split are counted as non-blackjack 21 when comparing against the dealers hand. Hitting split aces is usually not allowed. Non-controlling players may follow the controlling player by putting down an additional bet, or decline to do so, instead associating their existing wager with one of the two post-split hands. In that case they must choose which hand to play behind before the second cards are drawn. Signal: Place additional chips next to the original bet outside the betting box. Point with two fingers spread into a V formation.

Surrender (only available as first decision of a hand): Some games offer the option to "surrender." After the dealer has checked for blackjack, the player may "surrender", whereupon the house will take half the player's bet and return the other half to the player; this terminates the player's interest in the hand. The request to surrender is made verbally, since there is no standard hand signal.

Hand signals are used to assist the "eye in the sky", a person or video camera located above the table and sometimes concealed behind one-way glass. The recording provides a means of resolving disputes or identifying mistakes, and is also used to protect the casino against dealers who steal chips or players who cheat. Recordings may also be used by the casino to identify players whom employ legal strategies that make them undesirable customers. In the event of a disagreement between a player's hand signals and their words, the hand signal takes precedence.

Each player may normally "hit" as many times as desired so long as the total in hand is not above hard-20. On achieving 21 (including soft 21), a player is normally required to stand; busting is an irrevocable loss and the player's wager is immediately forfeited to the house. After a bust or a stand, play proceeds to the next player clockwise around the table. When the last player has finished, the dealer then reveals the hole card and stands or draws further cards according to the rules of the game. After the dealer's final outcome is established, any bets remaining on the table are resolved, usually in counter-clockwise order; losing hands are forfeited, and winners are paid out.


Insurance

"insurance" before the dealer checks the hole card. Insurance is a side bet that the dealer has blackjack and is treated independently of the main wager. It pays 2:1 and is available when the dealer's exposed card is an ace. The idea is that the dealer's second card has a fairly high probability (nearly one-third) to be ten-valued, giving the dealer blackjack and disappointment for the player. It is attractive (although not necessarily wise) for the player to insure against the possibility of a dealer blackjack by making a maximum "insurance" bet, in which case the "insurance proceeds" will make up for the concomitant loss on the original bet. The player may add up to half the value of their original bet to the insurance and these extra chips are placed on a portion of the table usually marked "Insurance Pays 2 to 1".

A player with a blackjack may also take insurance, and in taking maximum insurance he commits himself to winning an amount exactly equal to his main wager, regardless of the dealer's outcome. Fully insuring a blackjack against blackjack is thus referred to as "taking even money", and paid out immediately, before the dealer's hand is resolved; the player need not produce to place more chips for the insurance wager.
Insurance bets are expected to lose money in the long run, because the dealer is likely to have blackjack less than one-third of the time. However the insurance outcome is strongly anti-correlated with that of the main wager, and if the player's priority is to reduce variation, it is reasonable to pay for this.

Furthermore, the insurance bet is susceptible to advantage play. It is advantageous to make an insurance bet whenever the hole card has more than a chance of one in three of being a ten. Advantage play techniques can sometimes identify such situations. In a multi-hand, face-up, single deck game, it is possible to establish whether insurance a good bet simply by observing the other cards on the table after the deal; even if there are just 2 player hands exposed, and neither of their two initial cards is a ten, then 16 in 47 of the remaining cards are tens, which is larger than 1 in 3, so insurance is a good bet. This is an elementary example of the family of advantage play techniques known as card counting.

Bets to insure blackjack against blackjack are slightly less likely to be advantageous than insurance bets in general, since the ten in the player's blackjack makes it less likely that the dealer has blackjack too.


Rule variations and their consequences for the house edge

As with all casino games, blackjack incorporates a "house edge", a statistical advantage for the casino, which is built into the game. The advantage of the dealer's position in blackjack relative to the player comes from the fact that if the player busts, the player loses, regardless of whether the dealer subsequently busts. Nonetheless, blackjack players using basic strategy will lose less than 1% of their total wagered amount with strictly average luck; this is very favorable to the player compared to other casino games. The loss rate of players who deviate from basic strategy through ignorance is in general expected to be greater.

Dealer hits soft 17
Each game has a rule about whether the dealer must hit or stand on soft 17, which is generally printed on the table surface. The variation where the dealer must hit soft 17 is abbreviated "H17" in blackjack literature, with "S17" used for the stand-on-soft-17 variation. Substituting an "H17" rule with an "S17" rule in a game benefits the player, decreasing the house edge by about 0.2%.

Number of decks
All things being equal, using fewer decks decreases the house edge. This mainly reflects an increased likelihood of player blackjack, since if the player draws a ten on his first card, the subsequent probability of drawing an ace is higher with fewer decks. It also reflects a decreased likelihood of blackjack-blackjack push in a game with fewer decks.

Casinos generally compensate by tightening other rules in games with fewer decks, in order to preserve the house edge. When offering single deck blackjack games, casinos are more likely to disallow doubling on soft hands or after splitting, to restrict re-splitting, and to pay the player less than 3:2 for a winning blackjack.
The following table illustrates the mathematical effect on the house edge of the number of decks, by considering games with various deck counts under the following rule set: double after split allowed, re-split to four hands allowed, no hitting split aces, no surrender, double on any two cards, original bets only lost on dealer blackjack, dealer hits soft 17, and cut-card used. The increase in house edge per unit increase in the number of decks is most dramatic when comparing the single deck game to the two-deck game, and becomes progressively smaller as more decks are added.


Number of Decks House Advantage
Single deck 0.17%
Double deck 0.46%
Four decks 0.60%
Six decks 0.64%
Eight decks 0.66%

Late/early surrender
Surrender, for those games that allow it, is usually not permitted against a dealer blackjack; if the dealer's first card is an ace or ten, the hole card is checked to make sure there is no blackjack before surrender is offered. This rule protocol is consequently known as "late" surrender. The alternative, "early" surrender, gives player the option to surrender before the dealer checks for blackjack, or in a no-hole-card game. Early surrender was originally the norm in Atlantic City casinos but is much more favourable to the player than late surrender, and has largely disappeared from the United States. Nonetheless early surrender games can still be found in several countries. Most medium-strength hands should be surrendered against a dealer Ace if the hole card has not been checked.

For late surrender, however, while it is tempting opt for surrender on any hand which will probably lose, the correct strategy is to only surrender on the very worst hands, because having even a one in four chance of winning the full bet is better than losing half the bet and pushing the other half, as entailed by surrendering.

Resplitting
If the cards of a post-split hand have the same value, most games allow the player to split again, or "resplit". The player places a further wager and the dealer separates the new pair dealing a further card to each as before. Some games allow unlimited resplitting, while others may limit it to a certain number of hands, such as four hands (for example, "resplit to 4").

Hit/re-split split aces
After splitting aces, one common rule is that only one card will be dealt to each ace; the player cannot split, double, or take another hit on either hand. Rule variants include allowing resplitting aces or allowing the player to hit split aces. Allowing the player to hit hands resulting from split aces reduces the house edge by about 0.13%; allowing resplitting of aces reduces house edge by about 0.03%. While games allowing aces to be resplit are not uncommon, those allowing the player to hit split aces are extremely rare.

No double after split
After a split, most games allow doubling down on the new two-card hands. Disallowing doubling after a split increases the house edge by about 0.12%.

Double-down on 9/10/11 or 10/11 only
Under the "Reno rule", double down is only permitted on hard totals of 9, 10 or 11 (under a similar European rule, only 10 or 11). Basic strategy would otherwise call for some doubling down with hard 9 and soft 13-18, and advanced players can identify situations where doubling on soft 19-20 and hard 8,7 and even 6 is advantageous. The Reno rule prevents the player from taking advantage of double down in these situations and thereby increases the player's expected loss. The Reno rule increases the house edge by around one in 1000, and its European version by around two in 1000.

No hole card and OBO
In most non-U.S. casinos, a 'no hole card' game is played, meaning that the dealer does not draw nor consult his second card until after all players have finished making decisions. With no hole card, it is almost never correct basic strategy to double or split against a dealer ten or ace, since a dealer blackjack will result in the loss of the split and double bets; the only exception is with a pair of A's against a dealer 10, where it is still correct to split. In all other cases, a stand, hit or surrender is called for. For instance, holding 11 against a dealer 10, the correct strategy is to double in a hole card game (where the player knows the dealer's second card is not an ace), but to hit in a no hole card game. The no hole card rule adds approximately 0.11% to the house edge.

The "original bets only" rule variation appearing in certain no hole card games states that if the player's hand loses to a dealer blackjack, only the mandatory initial bet ("original") is forfeited, and all optional bets, meaning doubles and splits, are pushed. "Original bets only" is also known by the acronym OBO; it has the same effect on basic strategy and house edge as reverting to a hole card game.

Altered payout for a winning blackjack
In many casinos, usually at tables with the lowest table minimums and single-deck games, a blackjack pays only 6:5 or even 1:1 instead of the usual 3:2. Among common rule variations in the U.S., these altered payouts for blackjack are the most damaging to the player, causing the greatest increase in house edge. Since blackjack occurs in approximately 4.8% of hands, the 1:1 game increases the house edge by 2.3%, while the 6:5 game adds 1.4% to the house edge. Video blackjack machines generally pay 1:1 payout for a blackjack. The 6:5 rule is most commonly employed on table blackjack at single deck games, where they help the house to compensate for low house edge intrinsic in using one deck only.

Dealer wins ties
The rule that bets on tied hands is lost rather than pushed is catastrophic to the player. Though rarely used in standard blackjack, it is sometimes seen in "blackjack-like" games such as in some charity casinos.

 

Basic Blackjack strategy

Each blackjack game has a "basic strategy", which is the way of playing a hand with any total value against any dealer up-card which will lose least money to the house in the long term with strictly average luck.

An example basic strategy is shown in the table below for a common rule set:

  4 to 8 decks
 Dealer stands on soft 17
Double on any 2 cards
Double after split allowed
Only original bets lost on dealer blackjack
Late surrender

 

Know When to Hold or Hit

Use this chart to decide what to do based on the dealer's cards and yours.

 

Player hand Dealer's face-up card
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 A
Hard totals (excluding pairs)
17-20 S S S S S S S S S S
16 S S S S S H H SU SU SU
15 S S S S S H H H SU H
13-14 S S S S S H H H H H
12 H H S S S H H H H H
11 Dh Dh Dh Dh Dh Dh Dh Dh Dh H
10 Dh Dh Dh Dh Dh Dh Dh Dh H H
9 H Dh Dh Dh Dh H H H H H
5-8 H H H H H H H H H H
Soft totals
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 A
A,8 A,9 S S S S S S S S S S
A,7 S Ds Ds Ds Ds S S H H H
A,6 H Dh Dh Dh Dh H H H H H
A,4 A,5 H H Dh Dh Dh H H H H H
A,2 A,3 H H H Dh Dh H H H H H
Pairs
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 A
A,A SP SP SP SP SP SP SP SP SP SP
10,10 S S S S S S S S S S
9,9 SP SP SP SP SP S SP SP S S
8,8 SP SP SP SP SP SP SP SP SP SP
7,7 SP SP SP SP SP SP H H H H
6,6 SP SP SP SP SP H H H H H
5,5 Dh Dh Dh Dh Dh Dh Dh Dh H H
4,4 H H H SP SP H H H H H
2,2 3,3 SP SP SP SP SP SP H H H H

 

 

 

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