To paraphrase Charles Dickens, it will be the best of times or the worst of times
-- at the casinos, that is, this millennium depending on which games you play,
which rules apply at those games, and how, indeed, you play those games. In just
about every table game there are better and worse rules or payouts that can apply.
Play in games with the good rules and you have a good chance of winning some money;
play in games with the bad rules and you don?t have as good a chance to
take home the money. That?s an easy rule to remember for the new year.
So what should you look for?
At blackjack, perhaps the most complicated game in the casino, there are a host
of different rules, some good, some bad, and some simply awful. Here what you
should look for:
Good rules/conditions for the ?basic strategy? players:
Double on any first two cards
Split all pairs
Double after splits
Double after resplitting
Resplitting aces allowed
Dealer stands on soft 17
Blackjack pays 3 to 2
Bonus hands with no side bet
Here?s what you should avoid:
Bad rules/conditions for the ?basic strategy? players:
Restricted doubling, usually on two-card 10 or 11 only
No pair splitting allowed
No resplitting allowed
No doubling after splits
Dealer hits soft 17
Blackjack pays 6 to 5
Blackjack pays even money
Bonus hands require a side bet
Automatic continuous shufflers
You will note that I put ?shallow penetration? as a ?good condition.?
If you read publications geared to card counters or even general interest gambling
publications, you?ll note that ?deep penetration? (penetration
being how far the dealer deals into the deck or shoe) is considered the single
most important factor for success. Deep penetration is what card counters want;
the fewer cards behind the ?shuffle card? the better. However, there
are only 1,100 card counters, out of 53,000,000 casino gamblers (that?s
one card counter for every 53 thousand casino players!) in America. Just about
99.99+ percent of blackjack players do not benefit from deep penetration; just
the opposite. Deep penetration means more hands played; more hands played means
more money lost for 99.9999 percent of the blackjack players ? and more
money won by the casinos. So unless you are among the small elite of blackjack
players, you want to play at casinos with shallow penetration.
Luckily, many casino executives are so frightened that one of those 1,100 card
counters might show up in their places that you?ll find shallow penetration
in most casinos across the land. That?s good.
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