Blackjack is a classic casino game that has numerous fans and a large number of them wish to master the game and enjoy fruitful results. One very important thing that will lead to a more prosperous betting experience is knowing exactly what the game you are about to play is offering.
Thankfully, there are various factors that help players to correctly evaluate blackjack variations and pick the one that promises the best outcomes. In this guide, you will be able to learn how and why you should evaluate the blackjack game you are about to play.
Why You Should Evaluate Blackjack Games
If you truly want to elevate your blackjack experience, you should be able to differentiate the good variations from the bad ones. While you have a chance to win every type of blackjack game, the results that you can expect in the long run, however, differ with the various blackjack options you can come across.
If you take the time to learn how to evaluate each blackjack variation, you will easily pick the one that will bring you the most fruitful results in the long run. Before you start playing a certain blackjack game, you should check several elements that will show you whether it is worth wasting your real money on it.
Of course, in gambling nothing is certain and you cannot be sure that you will always win. However, picking the right blackjack variation will help you suffer fewer losses and improve your chances of enjoying a good return when playing for a long time.
Recreational players will probably prefer to simply play several hands for fun which is completely fun. However, those who wish to play for a long time and enjoy better results will definitely have to stray from games which are simply not worth neither their time nor money.
Elements to Consider When Evaluating Blackjack Games
There is not a single thing which can tell you whether a particular blackjack game is worth playing. A combination of a few elements, however, can help you determine which variations are suitable for you. If you know what to look for in every blackjack game, you will be able to use the right strategy and optimize your winning chances.
One of the important and first things you should pay attention to are the house rules. This factor is the main reason why some blackjack variations have a higher house edge than others. Among the elements that will affect the house advantage, there is the number of decks used in the game. Having a blackjack variant with a single, two or four decks is the most advantageous option for players. If you are playing blackjack at a land-based casino and you have mastered the skill of card counting, then you will benefit the most when there is only one deck in the game. This will tilt the scales in your favor with 0.50% while adding another deck will increase your chances only with 0.20%. A blackjack variant with four decks will impact positively the player’s winning chances with 0.05%.
Another rule which is important for determining the house edge is standing or hitting on a soft 17. If the dealer is required to stand on all 17, then players have better winning chances. However, if the dealer always hits on soft 17, then the house gains an extra edge over players.
Players usually can split pairs and play with two hands at a time. If the game allows players to double after a split and re-split Aces, this will give them a bigger advantage. Meanwhile, if you are allowed to double only on 9, 10 or 11 will award the casino with a higher edge.
Some blackjack variants allow early surrender which can positively affect the winning odds of players. If you can also make use of late surrender this will further improve your winning chances.
The term ‘penetration’ is used in blackjack when we want to describe the percentage of cards in the deck (or decks) that will be dealt before there is a reshuffle. This is mainly an important element for card counters and is determined by where the dealer places the cut card. The penetration percentage differs on every game and can vary according to the casino where you play. The deeper the cut card is placed in the deck, the more cards will be played and counted by players who utilize card counting. A high penetration will give them more accurate information about the decks and they will be able to make better decisions when playing blackjack. If the cut card is placed further in the deck/decks, there are more high counts which also last longer. While penetration is not really a concern for players who rely on basic blackjack strategy, card counters should always check this element of the game.
Those who count cards will enjoy a more beneficial betting time if the penetration percentage is high. If you, for example, play a 6-deck blackjack variation and you are using the card counting system, you will benefit the most from a penetration of 5 decks out of the total 6. The worst case scenario is playing a game where 4 out of 6 decks are dealt before the shuffle.
What might surprise you is that even though high penetration is good for card counters, those who have not mastered this technique will benefit more from a low penetration. Since the cards are shuffled more often on tables with low penetration, the game will last shorter which means that players will have fewer chances to lose their bets.
One of the most important things for blackjack players who count cards is to grasp the true count of the shoe. You can get the true count by dividing the running count by the decks which remain in the shoe. Thanks to the true count, players have the chance to get more accurate information about the shoe and make the right decision more often.
While in a single-deck blackjack it is easy to simply rely on card counting, many casinos are using multiple decks in the game. This is where the true count knowledge comes in handy as it allows players to be more precise with their counts. You can take as an example a game with a running count of 8 and 4 decks remaining in the shoe. This means that you will have to divide 8 by 4 and you will get that the true count of the shoe is 2.
You can easily check how many decks are left in the shoe by checking the cards which the dealer has placed on the discard tray. If you take a look at this tray, you will notice how much of the shoe has been already dealt and played and you will be able to calculate how many decks are still left in the shoe.
Betting Ramps for the Wonging
There is a certain blackjack playing style which is known as Wonging. It concentrates on joining the game of 21 only when you know that you will gain a certain advantage. Players who use this gaming method, tend to join a blackjack table only when the counts are positive. Also known as backcounting, Wonging can even be used sometimes by expert card counters on more than one tables at the same time.
Card counters who utilize this method, stay close to the table so that they will have the chance to count while the game is being played. Once the count becomes positive, they join the table and start playing, giving themselves a certain advantage. Players who use Wonging can actually enjoy a much smaller bet spread which is definitely not something regular gameplay can allow. A smaller bet spread can also mean less steep bet ramp. Knowing which is the best true count to join the game and when to leave will allow you to save yourself many risky bets.
Betting Ramps for the Semi-Wonging
In addition to Wonging, there is also a slightly different tactic you can resort to when playing blackjack. Semi-Wonging is a strategy where instead of joining the game at positive counts, you leave the table when the count reaches a pre-set point. This is also known as an exit strategy and is used by card counters when they wish to minimize their losses.
Players can also combine semi-Wonging with Wonging as this will allow them to join the right table after they have left their current game. You should know at which moment the true count has reached a point where it is better to leave the game. If the count has reached less than 0, then you are advised to exit the game and look for a table where the count has reached a positive point.
Who Benefits From High Penetration?
As it was explained earlier, penetration is one of the key elements for evaluating a certain blackjack game. It is not that simple to determine whether it is good to play a variation with high or with low penetration. This is due to the fact that there are different blackjack players and all of them resort to various playing strategies.
Playing with high penetration is definitely beneficial for card counters and is definitely something which is possible mostly in land-based casinos. If the cut card is placed further in the shoe, this means that the game will be played with more cards before a shuffle. The more cards are played, the more information you will be able to gather, meaning your count will be more accurate and you will be able to make the right decisions when playing.
If you come across a table with high penetration, you can significantly cut down the time you would spend to otherwise enjoy long-run positive results. Deck penetration is a very important aspect to keep an eye for when you are a card counter.
If you are not counting cards, however, you will benefit more from tables with low penetration. As the cards are shuffled more regularly, this would mean that the game would end much quicker and you can minimize your losses.
Blackjack Rules Beneficial for Players
Once you have learned the important details of every blackjack game, you will be able to evaluate each variation and pick the game which will bring you the most satisfying results. If you are choosing between a game with better rules or better deck penetration percentage, then you will have to consider your personal gaming style. The best option, of course, is to find a game which at least offers decent penetration and good house rules.
If we have to summarize the most important rules for gaining a bigger advantage in the game, there will be several key factors to remember. When it comes to the dealer standing or hitting on soft 17, it is better for the player if the dealer always stands on all 17. Games which allow double down after a split are also better options than the ones that do not.
While some games allow splitting Aces just once, those which will allow a re-split of Aces are definitely a better variation of blackjack to play. Another rule which you will benefit from is being able to surrender. This will enable you to lose only half of your bet and forfeit when you are suspecting a dealer blackjack.
If you find a game with all of the aforementioned rules, you can definitely enjoy a very fruitful game of blackjack.