Online Blackjack vs. Land Casino BlackjackBy: Ryan Alders, Wednesday May 5th 2010
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Blackjack is one of the most popular land casino games and that in great measure accounts for its popularity at online casinos. There are basic differences in how blackjack is approached and played at land casinos and at online casinos. Some of these differences spring from the different natures of land casinos and online casinos. This article focuses on the differences that have more to do with blackjack games in particular.
Blackjack is a game of skill and luck and therefore knowledge of strategy plays a key role in how much return players can expect. Players who are perfect in blackjack strategy can expect returns of over 99%, whereas poor players may not even be in the 90% range. The problem with optimum blackjack strategy is that it has to be memorized and cannot be reasoned out at the table. For new players online blackjack offers better opportunities. The better online casino software providers like Microgaming have built in optimum strategy into their games. Players can opt to use the optimum strategy built into the software and set the game on auto play. The software will then play the set number of games using the correct strategy without the player having to exercise his grey cells. Software that does not contain the built in strategy card can still be used effectively by new players. Strategy cards are available on many blackjack sites on the Internet. The player can download these and print them out. He can then refer to the card and make his moves manually while wagering on any blackjack game online.
Blackjack in land casinos has to be played manually. The player has to make his own decisions. As per the laws prevalent he is not allowed to use any software and cannot even carry the strategy card with him. Therefore he has to memorize the strategy and memorize it well. An added problem is that the exact blackjack strategy differs with the blackjack rules. Hence if the player is playing in different places he would have to memorize different blackjack strategies.
Experienced players, on the other hand, can extract a certain benefit at land casinos through card counting. Simply stated, card counting is a way of figuring whether the cards left in the deck are predominantly low value cards or high value cards and tweaking the strategy to exploit this information. Experienced players claim to get an expected return of over 100% through card counting. Card counting was exploited considerably over two decades back. Then land casinos increased the number of decks and introduced mechanical shufflers and took other measures to mitigate the effect of card counting. However expert players can still expect better returns over long periods through card counting. Unfortunately card counting is not possible in online blackjack. Even if the particular blackjack variant is being played with 8 decks, the decks are shuffled after every hand and each hand is dealt from a complete set of decks. Hence there is no question of the decks having predominantly low value cards or high value cards.
In land casinos only the standard formats of blackjack are played. It is true that some casinos may follow the no hole card rule and in some casinos the dealer may be allowed to hit on a soft 17, but the basic game is not tweaked. In online casinos blackjack variants have been created by changing the structure of the game. For example in Double Exposure both the dealer’s cards are dealt face up giving the player much more information. The player has to pay for this with lower blackjack payouts, but it does add an interesting twist to the game.
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