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Table Games Very basic blackjack questions

Discussion in 'Table Games' started by VegasNewb007, Apr 15, 2016.

  1. VegasNewb007

    VegasNewb007 Tourist

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    Hiya

    Never played the game before but it looks fun. Just reading up on some strategy and have these questions

    Is it correct you are not allowed to touch the cards?
    What are doubles and splits & at what point can you ask for them?
    Where has low stakes games on the strip?

    Thanks
     
  2. Dutch34

    Dutch34 Low-Roller

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    Typically, you cannot touch the cards. You might encounter a 'pitch' game where the dealer tosses the cards to you face down, at which point you may touch them (with one hand) and do either swipe for a hit, tuck if you stay, or turn over for a double or split. I'd suggest if you're new to stay away from a pitch game. They are 'generally' double deck and high denom's...stick to a shoe to start.

    Again, 'typically' (all places may vary), you can double down on any two cards (standard would be a 9, 10 or 11 vs. any dealer bust card (2 thru 6), or double on your 11 vs. any dealer card. You 'ask' for them by placing another bet beside your original bet and you receive one card in return. Split is handled in a similar manner.

    Best option is to print out or purchase a basic strategy card, which you are allowed to have at a table. It will give you every scenario as to hit, stand, double or split and follows basic strategy to keep house edge to a minimum.

    As for low stakes, I think there are other threads on that, but on the strip you can find lower stakes up and down, but many will be the devilish 6:5 payout on blackjacks. Stay away from those and find 3:2 payouts. Read the layout on the felt before sitting down so that you clearly see all the rules. Don't be afraid to ask the dealer for help.
     
  3. JoastTheMost

    JoastTheMost Low-Roller

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    Blackjack is SO much fun :)
    I've responded to your questions below (from my perspective)

    Yeah, you really shouldn't touch the cards. If you bump one or something it's not a big deal, but never grab them or anything.

    A double is when you double your bet by putting another bet (equal to your original bet) behind your bet, and you will receive only one additional card. If you win, you win 4x the original bet (with 2x wagered by you). This is advantageous for when you have an 11 (vs. ANY dealer card, in my opinion--some would argue). It is also advantageous if you use with with a 10 against a weak dealer card.
    Splits are similar. If you have a pair, you can opt to split by placing another bet (equal to your original bet) beside your bet. Your cards will then be separated and you will have two hands instead of one, and each will be played independently. You can subsequently double and split off of these hands.

    For low stakes with good odds, I'd recommend Treasure Island. I love their blackjack at a 3:2 BJ payout, and I believe the minimum is $10/hand. For practice and the low-down on strategy, check out www.wizardofodds.com
     
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  4. 44inarow

    44inarow VIP Whale

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    Generally speaking, you're not allowed to touch the cards. There are games where you can, but they're few and far between, and disappearing rapidly.

    A double is putting down up to the full amount of your bet (i.e., if you bet $25, you can add up to an additional $25, although you can double for less if for some reason you want to do that) in exchange for one card, and only one card. You can only do it after being dealt your first two cards. Most casinos will let you double on any two cards; rarely it'll be restricted to only doubling on a hard total of 9, 10, or 11. Splitting is when you have two matching cards and separate them out into two hands, each with the same initial bet (i.e., if you bet $25 and are dealt two 8s, you can put down another $25 and split those into two hands, and then you'll get an additional card on each of your two 8s), which are then played normally. You can only do that with two matching cards (although DO NOT do that with 10s or 5s, and ALWAYS do that with As and 8s).

    As far as low-stakes games, I'm not the expert on that, but if you're talking $10 or so, it's fairly easy to find at many casinos, including the higher-end ones like Bellagio depending on the time of day.
     
  5. JoastTheMost

    JoastTheMost Low-Roller

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    I never knew this!!
     
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  6. 44inarow

    44inarow VIP Whale

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    It's fairly rare, and for good reason -- it's a pretty dumb move. The whole point of doubling down is to put more money on the table when you have the advantage. Just about every time I've seen it, it was someone who seemed like they were playing above their comfort level (think that scene early in Swingers), and were in a position where they clearly were supposed to double but were skittish about putting that much additional money on the table. When told by the dealer that they could double for less, they looked relieved.
     
  7. JoastTheMost

    JoastTheMost Low-Roller

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    That's exactly when I would do it haha. But I stick to FreeBet almost exclusively these days, so I guess I don't even need it. I just thought it was super interesting!
     
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  8. VegasNewb007

    VegasNewb007 Tourist

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    Thanks for the info

    I have alredy printed a strategy card, didnt realise I could bring it to the table. Had planned to spend some of my 10 hours flight revising it lol.
     
  9. merlin

    merlin VIP Whale

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    Doubling for less also forces you to not receive another card, if you chicken out and dont double say an 11 against an 8, and get a 3, you would normally hit again. You basically force the original outcome but win or lose less.
     
  10. topcard

    topcard Older than the Stardust!

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    It comes in handy when you have some odd amount bet, or tokes bet for the dealer...periodically, I have a $16 bet, with a $1 bet made for the dealer...So, unless I have $1 tokes in my stack, I might very well put up $15 on a double & declare "double-for-less".

    Shoe games - you are not allowed to touch the cards - all plays are made using hand-signals.
    If you are standing, simply wave your palm over your cards. If you are hitting, then either tap or scratch the felt between you and your cards.
    If you are doubling or splitting, simply place another bet equal to your original bet next to that original bet - do NOT put this on top of your original bet!
    Now, sometimes it may be ambiguous (to the dealer) whether or not your doubling or splitting (two 5s, for example). In this example, you would simply hold out your fore-finger to indicate you want 1 card (doubling).
    Suppose you're dealt two 4s... there are a couple of situations when you would double, and a couple when you would split. So, the hand signal for that would be to extent your pinky and fore-finger simultaneously...sort-of like a "hook-em horns" sign. This indicates you wish to split.
    Good luck, and have fun!

    PS - do not EVER play at a table where the payout for blackjack is only 6:5...that is not true blackjack. Insist on a table with 3:2 payout for blackjacks. If they don't have one, find a different casino that does.
    :beer:
     
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  11. Auggie

    Auggie Dovahkiin

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    Most casinos on The Strip offer free casino gaming lessons for blackjack that you might want to look in to if you are totally new to it and still have some basic questions (they usually offer craps and roulette as well).

    The lessons are usually early in the morning (9 or 10 AM) and only run about 20 minutes - they don't teach you anything like card counting or how to win at the game/be a better player, but instead things like how to buy in, what you can/can't do (IE: touching the cards), how to bet, how to hit/stand/double/split, how to "color up" and cash out, etc - basically how to play in a casino.

    After the lesson is over they make the table live, and usually at the lowest stakes offered in the casino, and you can then either stay and play for real money or get up and leave.


    To a new guy, a couple of tips I would offer are:
    - Don't get involved in other players hands. Don't tell them how to play or what they should/shouldn't do. If somebody asks you if you should hit or stand and you have your basic strategy card handy then you might say "my basic strategy card says you should _______" and also if you see something happen then generally keep it to yourself, IE: if the dealer misreads somebody's hand and goes to pay them, don't be like "Oh no, he only has 19, not 20..."
    - It is usually fine if you have a basic strategy card out at a table and reference it on some of the trickier hands - the casinos sell them in the gift shop for you to use. But get a general idea of how to play so you don't need the card so often - it can really slow the game down and get boring for other players if there is one guy at the table who is constantly looking up his best play on his strategy card
     
  12. TehRed

    TehRed Tourist

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    If you want to experience being allowed to touch your cards and not being allowed to, with the smallest minimum bet available, then El Cortez has $5 tables where you can touch your cards, and Ellis Island has $5 tables where you cant touch your cards. I had some novice blackjack players with me on my visit to both and the dealers were very patient and understanding with them. I played a $10 game in Mandalay Bay and found it to be far more slick and it felt like you wouldn't be there if you didn't know what you were doing.
     
  13. deansrobinson

    deansrobinson Low-Roller

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    Something to consider...getting either a blackjack app for your mobile device, or downloading a blackjack game for your computer. There's some good one's out there, and if you don't want to go that route there are a few 'blackjack trainer sites' that let you play for free. Those are pretty good ways of getting familiar with the flow of the game and what does - and does not - work at a real table. And the above comments about the basic strategy card is correct. ... you don't wanna be the guy who consults that card for each and every hand. Oh, and one more thing, about the not offering advice, that is good advice. Another little thought to tuck away is you may run across the player who comments on everyone's hand and what they should have done, "I could have used that card", etc. Don't take his comments to heart. Remember...blackjack is not a team sport.
     
  14. Geogran

    Geogran OTD Tea Sipper

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    Thanks Auggie. That is helpful advice.
    If I ever have enough nerve to play in a casino on my own - I've learned how to play pretty well over the years with family and friends and played a few sessions in Vegas with my daughter and SIL at my side propping me up. I just don't have the confidence to go it alone for fear of upsetting other players if I mess up...I've seen reactions to 'wrong' play in Vegas and it can be intimidating to a nervous Nellie like me : )..
    I love slots and a little VP, but one of these days.......maybe blackjack! I always carry my strategy card just in case.
     
  15. deansrobinson

    deansrobinson Low-Roller

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    Well, good luck moving forward.

    You know..eventually, you have to dive into the deep end of the pool. You can only stand in that waist high water for so long.

    Blackjack isn't a difficult game to get your noodle around. It's not overly complex and there are millions of times someone has played the wrong hand and won. I will always remember my wife sitting with a nineteen...she meant to wave her hand over her cards to signal stay ... but she mistakenly tapped the table for a hit. Before she could say anything, the dealer handed her a third card. Two of diamonds.

    What you may wanna think about is playing at a low value table...$5...'cause it's not a ton of money flowing either direction, and if you lose - ain't no thang. There's a couple of virtual BJ games that are $3 or $5 hands (Bally's has one...and Linq has a $3 virtual). After a period of time, you'll find that the game flows smoothly and not every hand requires contemplation. As for the others at the table, they have selective memories. Sure, they remember when someone played a 'wrong' hand and the table didn't win (e.g. take the dealer's bust card), but they conveniently don't remember the multiple times someone played 'wrong' and it didn't impact the table one bit. Nobody knows what's next out of the shoe, so I wouldn't be so concerned about others. Like I said before, it ain't a team sport.

    Dive in.
    Get wet.
    :poker:
     
  16. topcard

    topcard Older than the Stardust!

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    Unless somebody is counting - and the count has become ~very~ positive - the math breaks down fairly easily...
    Let's assume the dealer has a 4 showing, you're sitting at 3rd base with a 12 and you inadvertently take the "dealer's card"...we'll further assume he has a 10 in the hole.

    Ignoring the 'true count':
    How many cards bust him? That would be six (8, 9, 10, J, Q & K).
    How many cards give him a hand? That would be five (3, 4, 5, 6 & 7).
    We also have the Aces, 2s & 3s - which do NOT bust him, bringing the total to 6 bust-cards versus 8 that do NOT bust him.
    Of the 6 bust cards, 2 of them would make your 12 a 20/21 (8s & 9s)... leaving only 4 cards that would bust you instead of the dealer, versus NINE that do neither...
    So, in this example, there is a better than 2-to-1 chance that you WON'T bust "taking the dealer's (possible) bust card".

    And, over time, this results in quite a few hands where doing the "wrong" thing doesn't hurt you...and often, it saves the table.
    Dean's correct...too often those other players have selective memory loss when it comes to these hands.
     
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  17. Auggie

    Auggie Dovahkiin

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    Thats actually pretty common, the lack of confidence holding one back from trying table games, and why I suggest trying the lessons: you'll usually be sitting there with 1-3 other players who are new to the game or in the same situation as you (know how to play, have played before, but never in a casino or on their own) and the dealer knows that and is going to be extra helpful until you pretty much have it down.
     
  18. willslotforcash

    willslotforcash Tourist

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    Make sure it's the correct strategy card for the number of decks, and whether they hit or stand on soft 17.

    Generally on lower denomination tables, it'll be hit on soft 17, as this gives the dealer an opportunity to improve their hand, thus beating you. On higher minimum tables, you'll see stand on soft 17, which is in the player's favor.
     
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