Blackjack player using strategy card

In the aftermath of our three part tutorial on the best blackjack strategy based on the standard strategy card, we felt it apropos to talk about the difference between blackjack at an online casino or at a land based casino. As you can imagine, we think that online blackjack at Springbok, the most popular online casino for South Africa, has many advantages over land based blackjack!

We will show what we feel are the most important differences between playing blackjack online or at a land based casino.

Card Counting

We realize that it is functionally impossible to count cards whilst playing online because the random number generator shuffles the cards after every hand.  However, if you play with the standard strategy card and you get just a little bit lucky you will even the odds against the house.

Courage to Make the Right Play

As we said several times in the tutorial on the standard strategy card, some statistically correct plays seem counter-intuitive.  In order to get as close to a 100% return to player rate playing online blackjack, you need to learn to make these counter-intuitive plays.

Mistakes Card Counters Make

Card counters are prone to making some egregious errors of judgment and simple card playing so being able to count cards is not always an advantage in any case.

  • Over-emphasizing Card Counting

Even in the best of times, card counting presents a true advantage a lot less often than does following the standard strategy card.   Some card counters will make large bets when the point count is not high enough to justify such a bet.

  • Failure to Make a High Bet

Ironically, many card counters get cold feet when it is time to enlarge their bet to take advantage of the card count that has suddenly become dramatically in their favour.  Card counting works only when a player has the courage to make a big bet with the odds are in his or her favour.

  • Playing the Wrong Games

It is as important if not more important to play blackjack games that have all of the options in the players’ favour.  These include completely flexible rules regarding doubling down and splitting and you absolutely must play 3-2 blackjack instead of 6-5 blackjack.

If possible, you should play a game in which the dealer stands with soft 17.

You should play a game with flexible surrender rules.

Sharp players often win more money using the splitting and doubling down rules to their optimum advantage.

  • Losing Track of Time

Land based gaming is notorious for players going on long after they have reached the point of exhaustion.  Partly, this is because they have spent so much getting to a land based casino that the want to get their “money’s worth”.  Often, it is simply because land based casinos don’t have clocks or windows.

Card counting fails when the player is too tired to count correctly.  A corollary to this bullet point is to never play when you have had as little as one alcoholic drink.  Alcohol clouds one’s judgment and it also causes many counting errors.

  • Playing with a “Short Stack”

Getting the most out of card counting requires having enough money to make the large bet at the correct time.  Many card counters sit down with too small a bankroll to justify making extra-large bets when the time comes to do so.

  • Taking Insurance

On the one hand, we assume that any player who has learnt to count cards knows never to take insurance, yet we hear that many players still feel the need to take insurance especially when they are having a run of bad luck.

In short, never take insurance.

Online Casino Blackjack

This is an area that we have covered before but, in the context of the present article, it bears repeating.

  • There are no travel or ancillary costs when you play online.
  • Return to player rate are generally higher at an online casino.
  • Players can go from game to game and will never lose their place at their game of choice.
  • It is far easier to control one’s eating, drinking, and sleeping when playing at home or on our mobile platform.

Unique Soft 17

This may be the holding on which blackjack players make the most mistakes.  It is very bad for players when the dealer hits with soft 17.  That’s because 17 points are really not very good.  Just as they are not good for the dealer, they are also not good for players.

In fact, even 18 points are not good for players.  Refer back to the standard strategy card and you’ll see that players should hit on soft 18 in several situations.  Players should, all the more, hit with soft 17.  The best strategy for soft 17 is to hit in the face of all dealer cards except 3, 4, 5, and 6 when the best strategy is to…double down!

Failing to double down is one of the most common mistakes players make.  Doubling down is one of the most powerful tools a player has as it doubles the amount he or she can win on the hand.

Reducing Pressure

People go to land based casinos for the thrill of gambling in an atmosphere of gambling.  Online gamers know full well that this aspect of land based gambling is highly over-rated. 

Blackjack players especially may feel an inordinate amount of pressure from the other players at the table to make plays that go counter to the strategy card.  When you play at a land based casino, you are as likely as not to play with players who no nothing at all about correct strategy.

When you play at home or on your mobile device, you are in complete control of every decision.

Mobile Blackjack

Blackjack is like all other online casino games in that it lends itself well to quick sessions whilst you’re in a queue somewhere or just need a short break from your daily responsibilities.

Land based casinos are marketed as a type of holiday destination.  They are more a land based gambling destination with little holiday aspect to them.  That’s because gambling is their primary attraction so food, bars and pubs, and shows are secondary.

The Joy of Blackjack

Wherever you play blackjack, treat it as the great intellectual challenge it is.  Making the best plays on a continual basis gives many gamers great pleasure.