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When Should You Split and Double Down in Blackjack?

Two of the most basic principles in Blackjack are the spilt and the double down. In general, these two happen sequentially i.e. you should double down after you split. Splitting means separating the pair you were dealt (say two aces or two 7s) and creating two separate hands and playing both against the dealer. There are certain hands you should always split and certain hands you should never split:

Always Split:

  • Aces.
  • 7s or 8s if the dealer is showing a card equal to or lesser than your card, but never when he’s holding a 9, 10, face card, or Ace.
  • 2s and 3s, but only when the dealer is showing 4, 5 or 6.

Never Split:

  • 5s, 10s, or face cards.

Splitting the pairs listed above allows you to double your bet by playing two good hands at once, instead of just one. Conversely, splitting when it is not to your advantage could lose you twice as much money. The reason 5s, 10s, and face cards are not in your advantage to split is because the odds of you hitting good hands on both are minimal.

Ok, so now we know when to split and when not to. Next comes the double down. As the name would suggest, doubling down means placing an additional bet on your newly split hand. You have now doubled your potential earning and losses. Because the risk of loss is present as well, you must make sure to only double down when it is statistically wise to do so.

These are the hands you should double down with:

  • When you have an ace.
  • When you have 10s and the dealer is showing a 9 or less.
  • When you have 9s.
  • When you have a total between your cards of 13, 14, 15, 16 or 17 when the dealer is holding a 4, 5 or 6.

Employing these two strategies will greatly improve your chances of winning in Blackjack.

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Photo Credit: John Wardell (Netinho) via photopin cc

Why Do Some Roulette Wheels Have 0 and Others 00

There are two types of roulette wheels: American and European. Both have 18 black pockets and 18 red pockets. The difference is that American wheels have two green pockets, one with the number 0 and the other with the number 00. European wheels just have one green pocket, the 0. This results in the American roulette wheel having a total of 37 pockets, and the European wheel, 38.

This is important for a couple reasons:

  1. The purpose of these green pockets is to give the house an edge, an essential component of any casino game — it’s how they ensure they’ll make money. In American roulette there is a house edge of 5.3%, while in European roulette there is a house edge of only 2.7%. This has made roulette a much more popular game in European casinos, while in American casinos it’s a relatively unpopular game.
  2. If you follow the logic of the house having less of an edge in European casinos, you would reach the conclusion that safe bets, such as red or black, have a greater chance of occurring. Placing a bet on red would give you a roughly 48.5% of winning in a European casino, while you’d only have a 47% chance with an American roulette wheel. The single green pocket ensures the odds are never 50/50.

The number sequence for the two types of tables are as follows:

European wheel

0-32-15-19-4-21-2-25-17-34-6-27-13-36-11-30-8-23-10-5-24-16-33-1-20-14-31-9-22-18-29-7-28-12-35-3-26

America wheel

0-28-9-26-30-11-7-20-32-17-5-22-34-15-3-24-36-13-1-00-27-10-25-29-12-8-19-31-18-6-21-33-16-4-23-35-14-2

Photo Credit: John Wardell (Netinho) via photopin cc

Photo Credit: Todd Klassy via photopin cc

How to Win at Caribbean Stud Poker

Do you love poker but have never been a good bluffer? Bluffing is integral to most poker games, and most beginners love to bluff, but what if you’re no good at it? Caribbean stud poker might be the game for you. Be biggest difference between Caribbean stud poker and standard poker games is that Caribbean stud is played against the house rather than against other players. Thus, there is no bluffing or other deception. It’s simply strategy plus the luck of the draw.

The rules are fairly simple:

Each player at the table places their bet (called the ante) down.
Each player and the dealer will then receive five cards, face down. The dealer will turn over one of his cards, but leave the other four face down.The players may then look at their own cards. They may only look at their own cards, and may not discuss what they have with any other players at the table.

  • Based on the cards each player was dealt, they have the option to fold, in which case they lose their ante, or bet again (raise), this time for double the amount of their ante.
  • The dealer then flips over his other four cards.
  • To keep playing, the dealer must qualify by having an ace and king or higher. If the dealer does not qualify, only the ante bets of players whose hands beat the dealer’s get paid while the respective raise bets all push (return to their respective players unpaid)
  • If the dealer’s hand qualifies, he compares his hand to every player still in the game:
  • If the remaining players’ hands do not beat the dealer’s, they lose their ante and second bet to the house.
  • All players whose hands beat the dealer’s win both the ante and the raise bets

Watch this video for a quick demonstration.

Learning the perfect strategy in Caribbean stud is very difficult, but for beginners, there are two golden rules:
Always raise with a pair or higher.
Always fold with less than the dealer’s qualifying hand (ace/king).

With regards to the first golden rule, folding low pairs is one of the greatest mistakes beginners often make. Beginners usually make the mistake of folding any pairs lower than five because they feel that there are too many risks involved. The truth is that the dealer’s hand will not qualify with an ace and a king 44% of the time, which means that players have slightly more than 50% of a chance to beat the dealer with low pairs.

With regards to the second golden rule, this means not playing hands with an ace and queen, which is a hand beginners usually feel is one of the most powerful combinations they can ever get. In reality, players who play this hand will win only if the dealer gets nothing. It is much smarter to fold this hand.

Photo Credit: Todd Klassy via photopin cc

Three Card Poker

Is a game quickly spreading in popularity due to its simple rules and notoriety as a fun form of poker. In actuality, it is two games in one: the Ante/Play game and the Pair/Plus game. In the Ante/Play game, players bet that they have a higher hand than the dealer, and in the Pair/Plus game, the players bet that they will be dealt a pair or better.

THE START
At the beginning of the game, all players must place bets on the Pair/Plus or Ante circles. Once all the bets are made, the dealer hands out three cards – one at a time, in a face-down position – to every player and himself.

ANTE/PLAY
If a player has chosen to bet in the Ante circle, after looking at their cards they must decide to either fold or play. If they choose to fold, they forfeit their ante wager. If they choose to play, they must make a bet at least equal to the ante wager in the Play circle.

Once all the players have made their decisions, the dealer flips his three card hand. After this, the dealer must “qualify” with a hand of Queen or higher for the Play to continue. If the dealer’s hand does not contain a Queen or higher, all remaining players will be reimbursed for their Ante and Play bets.

If the dealer’s hand does qualify, then his hand is compared to each player’s hand. If the player’s hand beats the dealer’s hand, the player will be paid even money for the Ante and Play bets. If the dealer’s hand beats the player’s hand, both of the player’s bets are lost. In the event of a tie, both bets are returned to the player.

Hand rankings in Three Card Poker are as follows:

  • Straight Flush – Three cards of the same suit in sequence.
  • Three of a Kind – Three cards of equal rank.
  • Straight – Three cards in sequence of mixed suits.
  • Flush – Three cards of the same suit.
  • Pair – Two cards of equal rank
  • High Card – The highest card in the hand.

There is also an additional feature called the “Ante Bonus” in which the player will receive an additional payout for specific hands (not requiring an additional wager). These include a straight, three of a kind, or straight flush, and will be awarded whether or not the player’s hand has beat the dealer’s.

PAIR/PLUS
Pair/Plus is wagered only on whether or not the player’s three card has a pair or higher. If the hand has a pair or better, the player wins. If the hand does not have at least a pair, the player loses. Pair/Plus bets are not affected on if the player wins or loses to the dealer on the Ante game. Averages dictate that the player has a 4 to 1 chance of being dealt a pair or better.

STRATEGY
There is really only one strategy to Three Card Poker, and it pertains to the Ante/Play game. If the player’s hand is lower than Queen 6-4, the player should fold. A hand higher than Queen 6-4, the player should continue with the game and make a Play bet. This can be calculated by the player comparing their highest card to the Queen. If it is higher, continue the play with no concern to the other two cards. If the first card is Queen and the second card’s value is higher than six, continue regardless of the value of the third card. If the third card is lower than a six, then the player should not continue.

SUMMARY
Three Card Poker is a very fun and exciting game for both beginners and pros alike. Have fun!

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