Below you will find a list of commonly asked blackjack related questions. You can find some more here too!

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The seat referred to as “Third Base” is the seat to the dealer’s immediate right. In live blackjack the player who is sitting in this seat is the last player to receive cards and the last player to act on their hand before the dealer must act. Because the player sitting in Third Base has last action they are aware of all that has happened at the table before them. This can present a significant advantage when using card counting.

The Third Base player has plenty of time to see the cards of the other players at the table and more time to maintain the running count. In addition, the decisions made by the Third Base player can often have an effect on everyone else at the table. A player sitting in Third Base who does not understand basic blackjack strategy might make the wrong decision and inadvertently take the dealer’s bust card, thereby causing the entire table to lose. Experienced players should always prefer the Third Base seat at the blackjack table.

When the dealer “draws out” he makes a winning hand from a hand that was likely to bust. An example of this would be the dealer having a 16 and hitting the hand with a 5 for a 21. The odds say that the dealer is likely to bust a hand like 16 and players should stand when the dealer shows a 6 as an up card. Despite the probability that the dealer will bust, sometimes the dealer will draw low cards and make a winning hand. When this happens it is said that the dealer “draws out.”

This is the dealer’s way of asking you if you wish to purchase insurance on your own blackjack. Taking insurance when you have blackjack will guarantee you a payout of even money, or 1-1, instead of the 3-2 payout you would normally receive for a blackjack.

If you do not take even money and the dealer has a blackjack you will tie and receive nothing for your winning hand. As a rule, insurance is one of the worst bets offered at the lackjack table. The one time when you should always take insurance is when you have blackjack. You will win at least the amount of your initial wager.

You might think that the yellow card used to cut the decks of cards before they are placed in the shoe is just a tool for cutting, but the card has a more important purpose. After the cards have been cut, the dealer will place the yellow card somewhere near the bottom quarter of the shoe. When this card comes out of the shoe it signals the dealer that it is time to shuffle the deck.

The placement of the yellow card is important to card counters because the lower it is placed in the shoe the deeper the penetration of the deck. A deeper penetration results in a more accurate count for the player. Whenever a casino suspects someone of counting cards they will often have the dealer place the yellow card closer to the center of the deck in order to limit penetration.

This is a tricky situation for a player. However, if you suspect that the computerized dealer has made a mistake or even cheated you outright there are a few things you can do.

The first thing is to try and take a screenshot of your computer before the next hand is dealt. This can be difficult but many casinos do not begin the next hand until you place a new bet. In some online casinos it is also possible to replay the last hand. You can hit the replay button and take your screenshot from there.

Your second task is to contact the support team of the online casino. You will need the screenshots you took for verification. Explain to them what happened and provide your documentation.

If they can determine a mistake has been made then you will likely be compensated in some fashion. If all else fails and you feel that you have genuinely been cheated, your final recourse is to stop playing at that online casino.

Unless you are playing a variation of blackjack known as Double Exposure you will not be able to view the dealer’s hole card online. This is what makes blackjack a gambling game. You never know what the dealer has in the hole.

It can be helpful, however, to always assume the dealer has a ten in the hole and act accordingly on your hand. This is a principle of basic strategy. You may come across software programs that promise to allow you to see the dealer’s hole card while playing at an blackjack at an online casino. It is best to avoid them. Many of these programs contain computer viruses and you can also be discovered and branded a cheater. If this happens you will not be allowed to play blackjack at the online casino where you were caught and you could also be prosecuted.

If you are playing blackjack in a live casino it is oftentimes impossible to avoid other players at the table. Sometimes these players can be drunk or obnoxious, and sometimes their lack of blackjack knowledge can cause them to make poor decisions which cause the entire table to lose.

If you find yourself sitting next to one of these kinds of players the only real option you have is to find another table. Do not confront the player. If an altercation occurs the casino will ask both of you to leave. Every live casino has many blackjack tables. If the player next to you is behaving in a way that you cannot accept, find a different table.

Blackjack is the only game in the casino besides poker in which a player’s skill can affect the house edge. As such, it is not entirely a game of luck. Blackjack introduces the human element into the game by giving players the opportunity to make decisions on their hand. Players are in control of how they play their hand. They can hit, stand, double, or surrender. These elements introduce skill into the game.

A player who understands basic blackjack strategy and how to count cards will outperform a player who does not in the long run. This proves that blackjack is more than a game of chance.

Unless you are an autistic savant like the Rain Man or have a strong photographic memory, keeping track of every card in the deck is impossible. Casinos use six to eight decks in their blackjack games and the game moves very fast. This is a common misconception among people who want to learn how to count cards.

They think that card counting is counting all of the cards in the shoe. This is not precisely correct. You do count cards, but there is no need to remember how many fours or sevens remain in the deck. Instead you use a running count which assigns a point value to each card. As the cards fall from the shoe you add or subtract the value of each card from the running count.

The exception to this is that many counting methods do require you to keep a side count of the aces. With practice this becomes very easy.

It is highly unlikely that a dealer will risk cheating in a live casino. They simply do not get paid enough and the security cameras in the casino are very good. If a dealer were to cheat the casino would know it almost immediately.

However, if you do suspect a dealer is cheating by helping another player at the table your best course of action is to alert the pit boss of your suspicions. Take a walk to the bathroom and on your way find the pit boss.

The pit boss is easy to recognize. He or she will be wearing a suit and standing off to the side observing the blackjack tables. Discreetly tell the pit boss what you think is happening and they will alert the “eye in the sky” to pay closer attention to that table. Under no circumstances should you confront the blackjack dealer yourself. This will only get you removed from the casino

If you are a beginning blackjack player and have not yet mastered the art of card counting, always doubling down on your total of 11 is a very sound play at the blackjack table.

The reason for this is that a deck of cards contains more ten-value cards than any other single card, thereby increasing your chances for receiving a 10 on your 11 and making an unbeatable total of 21. Those who are experienced at card counting, however, will not always follow the rule of doubling down an 11. If the count is very negative, an experienced card counter may prefer to hit the hand instead.

In many live casinos a player is permitted to double down on any two cards. This includes doubling down a blackjack, or 21. Why would a player want to double down their own blackjack? The main reason is the payoff for the hand. A blackjack pays 3-2.

If the hand is doubled down and the player wins the payoff is increased to 2-1. Doubling down a blackjack is a very risky play at the blackjack table and should only be used by the most experienced card counters. In addition, this is considered an expert play and it is likely to attract the attention of casino staff.

The most likely reason you are losing in a home blackjack game is because of the way you are playing the game. If you are playing heads-up with one other person and each of you is simply trying to beat the other’s total then probability theory dictates that you will only win half of the time.

To effectively play blackjack at home you must play it in the same way it is played in the casino. This means that one person must be chosen as the dealer and play against all of the other players. If you want to increase your chances of winning blackjack at home, always play the role of the dealer and use the same rules used in the casino. Blackjack has a built-in edge for the house.


In many live casinos a player is permitted to double down on any two cards. This includes doubling down a blackjack, or 21. Why would a player want to double down their own blackjack? The main reason is the payoff for the hand. A blackjack pays 3-2.

If the hand is doubled down and the player wins the payoff is increased to 2-1. Doubling down a blackjack is a very risky play at the blackjack table and should only be used by the most experienced card counters. In addition, this is considered an expert play and it is likely to attract the attention of casino staff.

This is a great question. If you can find a single deck game, by all means play it! Click here to read the full answer.


No. None of the MIT blackjack players ever suffered physical abuse by casino staff. However, the events depicted in the film 21 accurately portray things that have happened to other card counters in the past. Las Vegas, in particular, was a very bad place to get caught counting cards. In the early days of Las Vegas gambling it was not uncommon for a card counter to be beaten by casino security or worse.

Over the years this type of behavior has been replaced by other measures such as banning the card counter from the casino. The casinos have learned that this is a far better way to eliminate card counters than beating them up in a windowless room.

Many card counters who have been banned from the casino often don a disguise so that they can return to the blackjack tables. While wearing a disguise such as a fake beard or moustache is not technically illegal in most casinos, it is illegal for a player to return to a casino after they have been banned. This is trespassing and can be prosecuted.

Today it is very difficult to create a disguise that will fool the sophisticated facial recognition software that is being used by many casinos. This software can often identify a person even when they are wearing a very basic disguise.

Technically, you are responsible for the money you win playing blackjack and must pay taxes on your winnings. You can also deduct losses and certain related expenses. Unless you are making a lot of money at the blackjack table it is very unlikely that your winnings will be tracked by the casino.

All casino transactions are handled in cash which might make you think that there is no record of your wins and losses. This is not true. Whenever you sit down to play blackjack the pit boss will come over and ask for your player’s card or ID. They will then log you into a computer system which tracks how long you play, how much money you started with, and how much you left the table with.

This process is called rating and is practiced by most live casino under the guise of rewarding your for your play. Always remember that the player’s cards offered by the casino are a perfect way for the casino to track your every move. If you are gambling professionally and earning your living from blackjack you must file a tax return or risk being charged with income tax evasion. Here you can read more on gambling & taxes.

Most of the early casinos in Las Vegas were indeed controlled by the Mafia, and they made it a practice to dispense their own form of justice which was swift and brutal. Card counters were considered cheats. When someone was caught counting cards in a mob-run casino they were often brutalized by casino heavies. Yes, a favorite method of punishing a cheater was to break one of their hands.

These measures were taken in an effort to leave an example for other players who were thinking about counting cards. Since the mid 1980’s these old-school methods have disappeared from Las Vegas and other gambling locations as the Mafia influence was diminished or removed altogether.

Many casinos today offer two varieties of electronic blackjack. One is similar to video poker. The other is more like actual blackjack with a virtual dealer. In both cases, these games are a poor bet for a serious gambler. For one thing, all electronic blackjack games reshuffle the deck after each hand is dealt.

This makes card counting impossible to do. Another concern is that the results in video blackjack are determined by the computer just like a slot machine. No strategy is involved. The computer decides if you win or lose a hand. On these types of games the house edge is very high and this makes it impossible for a player to win in the long run.

If you do decide to play video blackjack in a casino, there are a few things you can do to increase your chances of winning. The best one is to look for a video blackjack game which offers a huge progressive payout for a specific hand. Some video blackjack machines pay a jackpot when you and the dealer both have two suited aces, for example.

If you want to increase your chances of winning at video blackjack only play these machines when the progressive jackpot is very high. The other way to increase your chances of winning at video blackjack is to learn how to walk away when you are ahead. Greed is the reason most players lose money at casino games. Be willing to take a smaller profit and do not remain at the game after you have won a significant amount of money.

You can! There is no rule in blackjack which prohibits you from doing so.

Be advised, however, that this is one of the worst blackjack mistakes you can make and it is likely to turn the other players at the table against you. The reason you should not split tens is because you have a total of 20, an almost unbeatable hand.

Also, if you choose to split the tens there is always a chance that you could take the dealer’s bust card and cause the entire table to lose when the dealer makes a high total. When this happens you will not feel very comfortable sitting with players who are mad at you for making a basic strategy mistake.

In blackjack games where the player’s cards are exposed there is no rule which prohibits you from doing this. In single or double-deck blackjack where you cannot see the cards of other players this may be frowned upon. Many times at a live blackjack table you will encounter a player who is playing for the first time and they will ask for advice. The casino usually has no problem with you helping them make a decision because they know that the house edge is too great for a beginner to overcome. Use discretion and ask the dealer whether or not such behavior is permissible before you offer help to another player.

Talking on your cell phone is not permitted at any gaming table because the casino wants to insure that you are not colluding with someone else in order to cheat. For example, someone could be standing behind the dealer and seeing the dealer’s hole card.

They could then relay that information to you on your cell phone. If you need to use your cell phone during a game of blackjack you will need to stand up and clearly step away from the table. If you ignore the dealer’s warning you will likely be removed from the casino.

In multiple-deck games the answer is no. In single and double-deck games you are permitted to touch your cards with one hand only. The reason why you are not permitted to touch the cards in multiple-deck games is that in the past some players have been able to “score” or mark the cards in such a way that they can be identified when they are dealt.

Cheaters would score the aces in the deck so that they could tell if the dealer had one as their hole card. The casino also wants to prevent the possibility that someone will add extra cards to the deck or change them once they have been dealt.

Many online casinos offer you a cash bonus which matches or exceeds your original deposit. Some even offer free money just for signing up. This money is added to your account but it cannot be withdrawn immediately. It must be wagered on the casino games. Playthrough means that you must wager the bonus money and then you are free to cash out the profits. For example, the casino gives you $100 in bonus money.

You must wager, or playthrough, that $100 at blackjack or another game. Once you have wagered the entire amount your winnings then become a part of your regular account and can be withdrawn. It sounds complicated but it really is very simple:

Receive $100 bonus
Bet $100 bonus on blackjack
Cash out profits

It is always best to use your online bonus money on blackjack instead of the slot machines to accomplish the playthrough requirements.

When Benny Binion opened the Horseshoe Casino in Las Vegas he proudly announced that the casino would book any bet no matter how large. A gambler named William Lee Bergstrom decided to put Binion’s claim to the test and arrived at the Horseshoe in the early 1980’s with a suitcase containing $777,777 in cash. Bergstrom walked up to a craps table and requested to bet the entire amount. The suitcase was placed on the don’t pass line and the craps dealer did not even count it. Two rolls of the dice later Bergstrom walked away with a profit of $777,777.

Bergstrom returned to the Horseshoe two more times and placed bets in excess of $500,000 which he won. In 1984, Bergstrom showed up with $1,000,000 in his suitcase and again requested to bet it all on the craps table. He lost the bet. Not long after this, Bergstrom was found dead in a Las Vegas hotel of an apparent suicide. While the story of the “suitcase man” does not involve blackjack, it is a cautionary tale about the dangers of compulsive gambling.

“The casino I go to only has computerized blackjack, even though they may have a live “dealer” behind the table, it’s all computer play. Are they programmed to go on runs like that?” After being asked that question by a reader, we asked a casino shift supervisor directly and where told about these machines, the answer we received was expected and typical of the casino industry. See it here.


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