Intertops Casino teaches blackjack to its smallest component parts

How to Understand Blackjack as the King of All Games of Skill

We speak quite often about blackjack.  Blackjack is one of the main games of skill at Intertops Casino.  We encourage all of our gamers to try out every game we have on offer.  This means that gamers who prefer the games of chance can benefit from playing the games of skill and players who prefer the games of skill can benefit from playing games of chance.

Possibly the biggest advantage of playing at an online casino such as Intertops Casino is that the casino offers so many games and you can play them from the same seat, sofa, or commuter train!  People who go to land-based casinos to play casino games usually play a very small number of games even in the three days they spend at the casino.

It’s all about keeping your seat at a land-based casino.

It’s all about having fun playing casino games at an online casino.

So, if you have been playing primarily games of chance at a land-based casino, we invite you to enter the world of blackjack, the king of games of skill.

A Very Short Introduction to the Universe of Blackjack

Blackjack is the most famous casino game of skill.  It is at least 500 years old as Cervantes mentions it as 21 in his magnum opus Don Quixote.  Here are a few things to know about how to play blackjack.

  1. You play blackjack against the dealer who represents the house.  You never play blackjack against the other players at the table.
  2. At an online casino, you play against the house with no other players involved.
  3. The idea is always to get to 21 points or as close as possible but if you go over 21 points, you lose immediately.
  4. The same rule applies to the dealer.
  5. The player always goes first and takes cards until he or she says “stand”.
  6. The fact that the player goes first gives the dealer a huge advantage so the rules of blackjack give back some advantages to players.  Without these added advantages, players would lose so much that people would simply stop playing blackjack.
  7. There is a very sound strategy for every possible hand in blackjack and, by using this strategy in unison with the added advantages the rules give players, the return to player rate in blackjack can get very, very close to 100%.
  8. The game starts with the dealer giving two up cards to each player and one up card to herself along with one down card.
  9. The uncertainty of the dealer’s down card is the single most significant element that affects the strategy in blackjack.
  10. The cards all have the value of the number on the card and the ace can also be used as an 11.  The picture cards all have the value of 10.
  11. Strategy often involves what the player should do next if he or she has 12 or more points and thus can go over 21 points—to bust—on the next card.

Is That All?

Well, not really.

As we said, this was a very short introduction to blackjack and we suspect that if you have never played the game, you still don’t know enough about blackjack to play it with confidence.

Our very short introduction was designed to get you to see that even though the basic goal is quite simple, strategy has developed around two very salient points:  the player plays first and the player loses immediately if he or she goes over 21 points.

This last point is very relevant to blackjack at a land-based casino. There might be seven players at the table.  One player reaches 22 points and loses automatically.  Other players stand with 21 points or less, sometimes with only 12 points.

Then the dealer starts to take cards, she has to hit with 16 or less cards and has to stand with 17 points even if she knows that the players still in the hand have her point count beat! (Sometimes the dealer will hit with soft 17 meaning six points and an ace.)

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If the dealer reaches more than 22 points or more, she loses to all players who did not go over 21 points and she wins against any player who did go over 21 points even though her point count is higher!

Card Counting is an Overrated Strategy

Most casinos have set up their blackjack games to make it next to impossible for average blackjack players to count cards.  Counting cards in blackjack is simply following every card and assigning a plus or a minus to each card.

The plusses and minuses tell the player if there are more or fewer high cards in the deck.  Card counters who also keep track of aces know if there are relatively many or fewer aces in the deck.

The problem with card counting is that it is practical only for players who have practiced it at length and who have the bankroll and fortitude to make larger bets when the card count warrants it.

Another problem with card counting is that it is practical only in single-deck games which have become rare at land-based casinos and don’t exist at online casinos.

The final problem with card counting is that the movies that involve players achieving giant wins at land-based casinos through card counting give many players the feeling that the only strategy worth using is card counting.  In fact, the basic strategy of knowing how to play any hand based on your point total and the dealer’s up card is very sound and can reduce the house edge to a mere fraction of one percent.

Can You Reduce All Blackjack Hands to a Basic Format?

Yes, we can!

All blackjack hands are either:

  1. Blackjack
  2. Less than 12 points.
  3. More than 12 points.

If you have blackjack, in most games you win automatically even if the dealer also has blackjack or reaches exactly 21 points later on.  You should try to play in blackjack games that always give the automatic win to the gamer for a blackjack.

As far as the other two possibilities go, you have to decide what to do with each of these hands based on the dealer’s up card.

Here are your options:

  1. Hit
  2. Stand
  3. Double down
  4. Split
  5. Surrender
  6. Take insurance

What is Doubling Down?

This strategy allows the player to double his or her bet, after they have been dealt the first two cards, and take just one card and then stand.  It is very good strategy to do this with 9, 10, or 11 points.  It might also be good strategy to do it with a low point count if the dealer is showing a 5 or a 6.

Some blackjack games allow doubling down only with 9-11 points.  Look for a game that allows this tactic even with a low point count.  It reduces the house edge by a fraction of a percent and that is very good for you!

What is Splitting?

This is a solid tactic to use when you have a pair.  The best pair to split is aces.  Never split 10 point cards.  It is good to split nines if the dealer is showing a seven or an eight.

Some games allow gamers to split only certain pairs.  Look for a game that allows you to split even a lowly pair of deuces if the dealer is showing a six!

What is Surrender?

This is a good tactic that will actually reduce the house edge fractionally even though you are giving up the hand.  Most land-based casinos no longer offer this option to players.  In short, it means you concede the hand when your hand is very bad such as 16 points and the dealer has you beat with a 7 or better.

What is Insurance?

This is a tactic by which you hedge against a dealer blackjack.  It is offered usually when the dealer is showing an ace but some casinos offer it when the dealer shows a 10-point card as well.

All statistical analyses have shown that insurance is a very poor tactic for the player.  Out advice is NEVER take insurance!

Intertops Casino Red Offers Advice on How to Play Many Games

We feel that we should help our gamers win as much as they can while having as much fun as possible playing here!

We hope that as a new gamer at Intertops Casino, you are ready NOW to sign up and get started.  Getting started at Intertops means getting our Welcome Package that is worth up to $5555!

We advise you to “double down” on the Welcome Package and all of the fun and gaming excitement we offer.

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