As sports betting continues to expand it’s footprint across the United States with legal, online sports betting opportunities, as does the world of legal, online casino and iGaming. Here, we’ll look at a beginner’s guide on how to play online blackjack and win.
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Online casino games have been around a while; they’re fun, and you can make a lot of loot if you, pardon the pun, play your cards right.
If you’re new to playing blackjack online, start slowly. Don’t get in over your head and start betting high stakes if you’re not exactly sure how it all works. The same rules apply as they do playing in a real casino. Study and understudy your basic blackjack strategy so you’re not hemorrhaging money.
We’ve all been playing at a table in real-life and some new player hits the table and starts gumming up the works. They split their 10’s, they hit on 16 when the dealer is showing a five, etc. Understand the basics of the game before you start sinking your hard-earned money into play. In fact, consider playing a few ‘practice hands’ first to get a feel for the game.
Let’s roll it back, though, if you’re REALLY a beginner. Know that an ace (A) can be used as a one or an 11, all face cards – jacks (J), queens (Q) and kings (K) have a value of 10 and know that there are four suits in a standard 52-card deck – clubs, diamonds, hearts and spades. The idea of blackjack, or 21, is to beat the dealer.
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You needn’t worry about the other players at the table, as you do not have to beat their cards like in poker. You simply need to be closer to 21 than the dealer. If your cards end up with a total of 22 or higher, it’s called a ‘bust’. Know your terminology, too. If you end up with the same total as the dealer, it’s a ‘push’.
Sounds simple, right? Well, technically blackjack is one of the table games where you have the best odds to beat the house, although, of course, the advantage is still in their favor. If you play wisely, you can come out ahead in the long term.
Also see:Online Casino iGaming: How to play legal, online poker
It’s my personal experience when playing to NEVER take insurance. Insurance is offered when the dealer is showing an ace with their other card hidden, or down. One always should assume the dealer is holding a 10 in their hole card. While insurance pays 2 to 1, it’s essentially an extra bet on whether or not the dealer will hit blackjack; while your hand can lose, you could potentially recover any lost monies with a win on the insurance wager. The only time I might do this is if I hit a blackjack myself, and an insurance bet will offer even money if the dealer shows an ace and also flips over a face or a 10 to also get blackjack. Other than that, don’t get roped into insurance.
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Also, blackjack is a fun game, as you can double your wager after a hand has started. For instance, you initially wager $5 in chips. You are dealt a total of 11, while the dealer is showing a 6. Again, there are 16 cards in a single deck with a value of 10, so you assume the dealer’s hidden card is a 10, and/or your next card will be a 10. So you ‘double down’, or double your wager. You will receive only one card, while the dealer can take as many as needed. Doubling down on 11 is not always a sound option, however, as if the dealer is holding a 10, it is generally discouraged. Some players like to do it, but you really should only double when there is a high bust potential for the dealer.
You can also ‘split’ cards that are paired up. For instance, you get two 9s, you can split these and make two hands against the dealer. Essentially, it’s doubling down, but you can play them like normal hands with no limit on how many cards you can take. You can also double down on these ‘new’ hands, if you like, making for a lot more action, and potential winnings.
Again, you want to be smart about splitting. The example above, with the 9s, is a sound play if you are playing against a dealer’s 8 or less; however, if they’re showing a 10, you’d want to stand, or stick with the cards you have without any further action. Learn the basic strategy first before getting into the nuances of the game.
Lastly, it might go without saying, but it’s also a good idea to limit your alcohol intake when playing online.
It’s no secret alcohol and gambling have gone hand-in-hand in real-life casinos, and free drinks while playing table games is attractive to many players, but more drinks leads to more bad decisions and generally means better results for the house.
Ready to give online blackjack a try? Head over to BetMGM to sign up and play.
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Back in 1936, the great economist John Maynard Keynes articulated a warning about stock market speculation that still applies today: “When the capital development of a country becomes a byproduct of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done.”
Recent shenanigans over video game retailer GameStop (NYSE: GME) and movie theater operator AMC (NYSE: AMC) come to mind, as insurrectionist investors use social media chatter to bid those stocks to nosebleed heights, as part of an effort to not only make money but also hurt institutional short sellers.
We’ve been witnessing a highly volatile week, exacerbated by casino-like speculation over stocks such as GameStop and AMC. The following chart depicts the extraordinary up-and-down activity in GameStop’s stock over the past three months, which plunged 44.29% Thursday after a meteoric rise:
Charles Schwab, Interactive Brokers and stock-trading app Robinhood on Thursday restricted the amateur “flash mob” traders who have been pushing up the prices of so-called meme stocks such as GME and AMC. The moves by the brokerages sparked outrage from lawmakers and regulators who claimed it was a double standard that hampered free markets and favored powerful investors. Robinhood users on Thursday filed a class action lawsuit against the broker’s decision. GameStop was surging again in early trading Friday morning, after Robinhood lifted trading restrictions.
Apple beats (but falls anyway)…
After sharply falling Wednesday, the three main U.S. stock market indices soared Thursday on stimulus and vaccine hopes. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 299.83 points (+0.99%), the S&P 500 climbed 36.61 points (+0.98%), and the tech-heavy NASDAQ jumped 66.56 points (0.50%).
Thursday before the opening bell Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) released operating results. The Cupertino giant reported first-quarter fiscal 2021 earnings per share of $1.68, beating the consensus estimate by 19.2% for a year-over-year increase of 34.4%. Sales jumped 21.4% year over year to $111.4 billion, surpassing the consensus estimate by 8.7%.
Sometimes, though, there’s no pleasing analysts. Wall Street expressed concerned that customers in Apple’s latest quarter weren’t replacing their iPhones at the same rate they once did. AAPL shares Thursday fell 3.50%.
In pre-market futures trading Friday, stocks were trading lower. Buckle up, because roller-coaster trading will be the norm for a while. Egt basketball log in. I’m bullish about 2021 overall, but the pandemic and the continuing threat of violent political extremism (such as we witnessed during the January 6 Capitol riots) will keep investors off balance over the near term. Excessive speculation, as reflected by the GameStop frenzy, also is fueling volatility.
U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) had this to say on Wednesday:
“For years, the same hedge funds, private equity firms, and wealthy investors dismayed by the GameStop trades have treated the stock market like their own personal casino while everyone else pays the price.” She concluded that it is “long past time” for the Security and Exchange Commission and other regulators “to wake up and do their jobs.”
Under these uncertain and volatile conditions, there are at least two measures you can take to protect your portfolio. Let’s quickly review them.
You have options…
Part of my overall investment strategy is to buy stocks at cheap prices during fear-induced general market selloffs. Options can facilitate this strategy.
For buying stock cheap during selloffs, I recommend selling puts. For example, let’s say you’d love to buy a stock if it fell in price to $30. Rather than place a limit order to buy 200 shares at $30, you could sell two put options with a strike price of $30 for, hypothetically, $2 per share. If the stock closes below $30 at expiration, the put option would be exercised by the put buyer and you’d be required to buy 200 shares of stock at the $30 strike price.
The benefit of buying your stock through option exercise rather than a limit buy order is that you get paid an additional $2 per share in income, making your net purchase price only $28.
The great thing about this option-selling strategy is that you can rest easy without worrying about options expiring worthless. You aren’t speculating on stock movement within a limited time period. Regardless of how the underlying stock price moves, selling options reduces the cost and downside risk of your stock ownership.
The only risk, if you can call it that, is you will make less money than straight stock ownership if the stock price skyrockets upward. But missing out on a speculative upside gain is much less painful than losing money…especially under today’s crazy conditions, with the indices posting wild swings and guerilla insurgents on Reddit making mischief.
Another protective tactic is to use stop loss orders. One of the most widely used devices for limiting the level of loss from a dropping stock is to place a stop-loss order with your broker. Using this order, the trader will pre-set the value based on the maximum loss the investor is willing to tolerate.
If the last price drops below this fixed value, the stop loss automatically becomes a market order and gets triggered. As soon as the price falls below the stop level, the position is closed at the current market price, which prevents any additional losses.
The upshot: sit tight and don’t get rattled by headlines. During the market’s dizzying twists and turns, remember your goals. Our investment team is here to guide you, every step of the way.
In the meantime, I suggest you take a look at our new report: “5 Red Hot Stocks to Own in 2021.” In this report, we provide the names and ticker symbols of high-quality, rock-solid growth stocks that are poised to soar this year. Click here for your copy.
John Persinos is the editorial director of Investing Daily. You can reach John at: [email protected] To subscribe to his video channel, follow this link.