Remove casino component from online blackjack

What is blackjack?

Blackjack is one of the most popular card games that are played at casinos. Black jack is often the best paying card game if you know how to play and have the real knowledge of who you are trying to beat. Blackjack is basically a card game where you are dealt two cards, one face down, and one face up to start out with. You decide at that point by counting the amount of the value of the card if you would like another card (hit) to get as close to 21 as you can. Once you decide to stand or stay, the next player has the same option and it goes around the table till the dealers turn comes up. The dealer has the same option as you do at that point. The dealer however, will always stop their hand once the amount of the cards dealt to them reaches 17 points.

Points accrued on the cards go by face value, all numbered cards are the face value, an ace is valued at 1 point or 11 points, face cards are 10 points. When dealt an ace, you can determine how you would like the value to be used either 1 or 11 by the combination of points from other cards you already hold. Example: if you’re dealt a 6 face card, turn over an ace; you can use the ace as an 11 point card to make a total of 17. Or if you use it as a 1 point card, your total would be 7 and you have the option to hit again. The main objective while playing Blackjack really is not to bust or go over the amount of 21.

Often times Blackjack players think that they need to beat other players by getting 21 or as close to 21 as they can. But here is the real secret in Blackjack, they need to beat the dealer and not worry about what everyone else holds in their hand. You can beat the dealer with the lowest possible score you could get, hoping for the possibility that the dealer will bust or go over the 21 limit.

Blackjack - Shuffling

For those who don't understand what you're asking, there are new machines that take the blackjack discards and place them randomly back in the deck after each hand. If you are using basic strategy, then the shufflers actually lower the house edge slightly, due to the omission of the cut card effect. It is my understanding that they do provide an honest random shuffle. However, the shuffling machine allows the dealer to waste less time shuffling and spend more time dealing. This means you will spend more time playing, and thus more hands for the house edge to grind you down.

For more information on the mathematical effect of continuous shufflers, please see my blackjack appendix 10.

Brian from State College, USA

Most online casinos shuffle after every hand. Others shuffle at random times but do not indicate exactly when to the player. I have noticed Microgaming casinos flash the word "shuffling" about one hand in four.

However, if you track the cards between these announcements you will sometimes see the same card twice, which is impossible in a single-deck game, assuming you believe them about when they shuffle. As far as I know, they actually shuffle after every hand, but for reasons I do not understand, only indicate a shuffle occasionally. If I remember correctly, Cryptologic casinos do indeed indicate when they are shuffling their eight-deck shoe.

Jim from Cincinnati, USA

I know that one software company randomly picks two cards in the deck and reverses them, and repeats this numerous times. Since learning of this technique, that is also how I shuffle in my random simulation programs. As long as any method of shuffling is done enough times the deck should be properly randomized.

Manual shuffling is more vulnerable to a biased shuffle and consequently some players try to exploit this by shuffle tracking and card clumping. There are numerous ways an online casino might cheat, but a bad shuffle I don't think is one of them.

Danny from Mission Viejo, California

I first addressed this topic in my December 1, 2000, newsletter. For those who missed it I just added blackjack appendix 10 to my site, which explains the effect on the house edge under both a cut card and continuous shuffler game. To answer your question, no, the basic strategy does not change. Basic strategy is always developed based on a freshly shuffled shoe, which is always the case when playing against a continuous shuffler.

Chuck from New York

You’re right, the discards are not mixed among all the cards but can not be placed close to the top of the shoe. I don’t know the exact size of this buffer but it is about 10-20 cards I think. As a card counter it would probably be safe to use a true count from just the last hand played and off the top of a shoe. When converting to the true count you will rarely get anything far from +/-1. If you’re any kind of counter at all I would forget about playing against a CSM, it isn’t worth the bother.

Doug from Vancouver, Canada

The exact numbers would be difficult to calculate and I won’t get into that. However your speculation is right that the odds favor the dealer if he leaves a lot of high cards in the discard rack yet will put back into play a lot of small cards. This would be the same kind of thing as preferential shuffling, in which the dealer of a hand held game shuffles when the count is good but deals another round on a bad count. Preferential shuffling is something that definitely does happen here in Las Vegas so what you describe would not surprise me either.

Stephanie from Evans, USA

I don’t know when they shuffle but I would speculate after every hand. From my blackjack appendix 10 you will learn that the player’s odds improve slightly if the dealer plays exactly n hands between shuffles (including one) rather than playing to cut card, finishing the hand, and then shuffling.

I would say about 1/3 to 1/2 of players would at least initially decline to cut. However if everyone initially declines somebody has to rise to the occasion and do it. Sometimes when players who refuse to cut will say something like "I don’t want the blame for a bad shoe" or "I’m unlucky." I’ve never seen it put into words but there does seem to be a superstition that the cut is critical to the flow of the shoe, and thus the act should only be done by a competent cutter. Of course this is nonsense. For recreational play it doesn’t make any difference whom cuts or where they cut.

Tom from Aurora, CO

For the beneit of other readers, my blackjack appendix 10 explains, the house edge in a five-deck game is 0.028% less if a continuous shuffler is used, as opposed to a hand shuffle. The difference between five decks and two decks, all other rules being equal, is 0.18%. So the two-deck game without a shuffler would be much better. Let’s compare a 5-deck continuous shuffler game to a 4-deck hand shuffled game. As my blackjack calculator show difference in house edge between four decks and five decks is 0.0329%. So the benefit of a continuous shuffler is worth less than removing a single deck.

Jim Y. from Downey, CA

I don’t believe it. Dealers are not the most skeptical group, often believing all the usual gambling myths. Usually the term "house shuffle" refers to the way the dealers are supposed to shuffle. For example, shuffle twice, riffle, and shuffle again. In this context, she seems to be saying she could alter the shuffle to the player’s disadvantage, which I doubt.

Assuming this King was the bottom card and was left in the shuffler, it would have been in play in this first shoe (the cut was in rear portion of the deck). How much of an additional advantage did the house gain on me with this mistake?

Justin from St. Louis, MO

Thank you for the kind words. I’m going to assume the dealer hits a soft 17, and double after a split is allowed. According to table D17 in Blackjack Attack by Don Schlesinger, removing one ten per deck increases the house edge by 0.5512%. Dividing that by six, for the six-deck game, the effect is an increase in house edge of 0.09%.

Jon from Doylestown, PA

In a non-cut-card game, the house advantage is always the same for the non-counter. Clumps of high or low cards are just as likely to appear at the beginning of the shoe, as the middle, as the end. Just because the count is zero

at the top of the shoe doesn’t mean you’ll have an exact balance of high and low cards. You seem to be suggesting that the cards are more clumpy at the end of the deck. However, if that were true, then the odds would change if the dealer dealt the cards in reverse order. Surely that is a ridiculous notion.

Let’s say the basic strategy player has 16 against a 10 late in the shoe, and hits. If the count were high, standing would be the right play, resulting in what would look like an error to a counter who was watching. However, if the count were negative then hitting would be all the better. In the end, it averages out, for the basic strategy player.

For reasons I explain in my blackjack appendix 10, the basic strategy player should prefer a game with a continuous shuffler, if his goal is to minimize the house edge. Aside from that, the house edge is not affected by penetration. I should add that with a shallower penetration there will be more time spent shuffling, and thus a lower expected loss on an hourly basis.

Please, disable the online casino

I'm an amateur degenerate. So when I first started, all my winnings went to the casino. Eventually, I realized just how much money I was getting fucked out of, even though my performance from tailing you guys was phenomenal. I had to call Bovada and disable the casino. Once I did this and supplemented it with proper bankroll management it was like taking finger banging for the first time all over again. I was actually seeing a ROI. With $50 left in my account and using $1/unit, I built up my bankroll too $650. Use a spreadsheet. I know most of you guys know this, but if you're like me you should do this. Don't play blackjack. Don't even use those bullshit casino deposit bonuses. It's a trap to distract you from taking the books money.

People are actually playing on that? I thought it was very obvious it's a scam. Go to a real casino if you're looking to play table games.

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