Mastering Blackjack with Ten Knuden
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Blackjack rules offer a couple of quick ways to increase your bet during the middle of a hand. Most casino games don't offer this opportunity at all. Those games are ones with a house edge that doesn't change; blackjack rules allow for house edge variance. It's our job to take advantage of this slim opportunity whenever we can.

As was mentioned earlier, doubling down at the appropriate time is the most effective way to lower the house edge. The next alternation of the blackjack rules that allows you to modify things during mid-play is called splitting.

Splitting up is hard to do
Ok it's not so hard in blackjack. When you are dealt your initial two cards and they have the same value, you have the option (most places anyway) of splitting the two cards into two hands. Say you are dealt two 8's on your initial cards. If you split those (a good idea) you will be playing two separate hands, each starting with an 8. To split your hand just reach up (with one hand only of course) and separate your cards so they don't stand together anymore. Then place another bet that is equal to your original bet and place it beside your first bet, with some space in between.

Can you see why splitting two 8's is a good idea? Probability dictates that you should get two eighteens out of the deal, instead of a paltry 16 which you originally had. Depending on the casino you can split beyond the first two cards too. Say you were dealt two 8's and split them, and then were dealt another eight as the second card on one of those hands. Some casinos let you split the new hand so you have three 8s. I've seen this happen with aces before.

When you split your cards become new hands. In most casinos you will be dealt a second card for one hand, and then asked continuously on that hand until you stand or bust. Only then does the dealer move onto the second hand. This isn't the case in every casino in the world however.

Aces stay single
When you are dealt two aces initially, it's a great opportunity to split, but the casinos limit this opportunity as much as they can. When you split aces, you are only allowed one more card for each of your new hands. This means, if you're dealt a 2, you have to stand on a 13. The house edge would be cut just a little too much if you could keep hitting on aces. If you split aces and get face cards, well done, but sadly you wont be paid back at 3 to 2 like a 'natural' blackjack. Casinos most often don't consider this ace ten combo to be a blackjack since the cards are not your original two (that's their excuse anyway). So you will only be paid back normally, but hey, it's still being paid right?

Your standard insurance scam
At one point or another during your blackjack game, the dealer will pull an ace as their up-card and politely ask the table if anyone wants insurance. To buy insurance means to put up half of your original bet, and if the dealer has blackjack, you get paid on the insurance bet, but still lose your original bet, so you come out even without losing your money to the dealers blackjack. This is one of those rules the casinos try to present as a logically good choice for it's patrons, but in actual fact it's always a bad move. Playing insurance, mathematically, increases the house edge about 4.1%, which is a significant amount in blackjack (or any other game for that matter). The truth is, there are no situations where taking insurance is a good idea. The only time anyone should ever take it is if they are counting cards and are quite sure of the outcome ahead of time. Insurance in blackjack is a full out scam.



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