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How to Play Blackjack: Blackjack Terminology

Written By Carla Harris

Learn blackjack terminology

Once you have made your way through the basic rules of Blackjack in How to Play Blackjack – A Simple Guide for the Beginner, it’s time to learn the nitty-gritty of the game. Don’t be afraid! It is quite simple to learn.

The player can bet any stake they desire, but it has to be within the set table limits.

The player is dealt two cards by the dealer (faced upwards) and the dealer also gets two cards.

This is to request another card. To signal this, scrape the cards in your hand against the felt.

Stand or Stay
You stand or stay when you decline another card. To signal this: Slide the cards under your bet and move your hand horizontally.

Doubling Down
Take a single extra card and add these to the opening cards - this move is made by the player when he or she believes that a third card will provide him or her with a position to beat the dealer’s hand. To signal these: Place your extra chips next to your original bet and show one finger if you are doubling and show two fingers if you are splitting.

When two cards have the same value and can be split into two separate hands. It’s important to note here that if the player splits two aces, most casinos will consent to the player receiving only one additional card for each hand. A hand totaling 21 after splitting aces is called 21 and not Blackjack (this affects the payout), but the rules may vary according to each individual table. Signal: Same as the signal for doubling, but make a two finger signal instead.

A Blackjack is achieved when the first two cards dealt to you equal 21 and can also be called a natural.

A push occurs when the value of the dealer’s cards (17 to 21) and the player’s cards are equal, resulting in neither winning the round.

A bust is when a hand’s value exceeds 21. This is a losing hand.

By now you’re most probably well aware that the key to beating the dealer’s hand is to get as close to 21 as possible. Let’s face it, Blackjack is very much a game of chance, but strategy can give you better luck and still need to be well calculated, else you may come over as a bit of a ding bat and you don’t want that. If you want to learn key strategies you can use to up your game, read our comprehensive PDF on How to Play Blackjack.

A Free-to-Play Online Casino Launching in Australia?

Written By Carla Harris

Play the best online casino games

A top supplier of gaming software and online gaming content, GameAccount Network has announced plans to bring its free-to-play virtual casino platform to residents of Australia. The United Kingdom-based technology supplier has found international success with Simulated Gaming, an online simulated gaming product that offers genuine Class III slots. Currently attracting millions of users each month, Simulated Gaming allows players to place wagers with virtual money for unlimited entertainment purposes.

The popularity of Simulated Gaming and other free-to-play (or “freemium”) social casinos has prompted a large number of traditional brick-and-mortar casinos to expand operations into the online arena. After partnering with a consortium of prominent Australian gaming venues, GameAccount has entered into a dialogue with relevant governmental regulators in a coordinated effort to bring Simulated Gaming into the country. If all goes according to plan, GameAccount will launch its Australian Simulated Gaming offering in the first quarter of 2015. At that point in time, the individual members of GameAccount’s land-based casino consortium will go public with their involvement.

The payoff for these consortium members could be quite substantial. GameAccount estimates that virtual online gaming will generate more than $300 million per year in immediate additional profits. And this financial boon may only be the beginning. Although real-money online gambling is currently illegal in Australia, the country loses approximately $1 billion on an annual basis to offshore Internet gambling websites and social casinos that face far fewer restrictions.

Simulated Gaming will not only give Australian citizens an immediate, viable alternative to these lucrative offshore operations, but will also set the stage for domestic online gaming with actual legal tender. In the event that the Australian legislature reverses its prohibition on real-money Internet gambling, GameAccount will be ready to upgrade its Simulated Gaming platform at a moment’s notice.

Poker Champ Phil Ivy Loses £7.7m Lawsuit

Written By Carla Harris

Phil Ivy, the American professional poker player and winner of ten World Series of Poker bracelets, has lost his court case against Crockfords Club in London over a cheating claim. Ivy challenged the club for its decision to withhold £7.7 million in winnings because of his use of ‘edge-sorting’, a technique which the club regarded as cheating.

As reported by UK news publication, The Guardian, the 38-year-old sued the casino over a two-day game of Baccarat in August 2012. Ivey was reportedly told that the winnings would be wired to him, but never arrived. He did, however, receive back his £1 million stake.

The technique of edge-sorting involves learning the face value of a card by studying and then recognizing slight flaws on the back and edges of cards. Genting Casinos UK (which owns over 40 UK casinos, including Crockfords) does not recognise ‘edge-sorting’ as a legitimate strategy, and therefore claimed they had no liability to pay him.

Ivy told The Guardian, about learning of the casino’s decision not to pay him, “I was upset as I had played an honest game and won fairly… My integrity is infinately more important to me than a big win, which is why I have brought these proceedings to demonstrate that I have been unjustly treated.” He added that when discussing advantage play strategies with other professional players, they are always careful to stay on the right side of the rules.

Ivy said, “I believe that what we did was a legitimate strategy and we did nothing more than exploit Crockford’s failures to take proper steps to protect themselves against a player of my ability.”

The judge in this case clearly felt differently. In his ruling the judge said, “The fact that Mr Ivey was genuinely convinced that he did not cheat and that the practice commanded considerable support from others was not determinative of the question of whether it amounted to cheating.” He explained that Ivey had gained himself an advanatage and did so by using a croupier as his innocent agent or tool, persuading her to turn some of the cards in the dealing shoe.

The judge went on to explain that they were therefore not merely taking advantage of an error on the dealer’s part, or an anomoly practiced by the casino, rather they were doing it in circumstances knowing that the dealer and the casino did not know the consequences of what she had done at his instigation.

He concluded, “This is, in my view, cheating for the purpose of civil law.”

Although the judge acknowledged Ivey as a truthful witness, the case was dismissed and Ivey was refused permission to appeal, although he can renew his application to the Court of Appeal directly.

Queensland considers issuing new gaming licenses

Written By Carla Harris

Gold Caost Australia

If you live in Queensland, you might already be familiar with the plan to build so-called “integrated resorts,” which will include large gambling venues and tourist offerings. However, both the $8 billion Aquis Resort and the $7.5 billion Gold Coast Broadwater development are under fire by the government for failing to live up to agreed-upon “probity and government requirements.”

As it currently stands, the Queensland government has issued three gaming licenses to integrated resort projects. However, if the ASF Consortium (owner of the Gold Coast Broadwater development) and Tony Fung (owner of the Aquis Resort project) fail to live up to their ends of the agreement, it is expected that the Queensland government will go back to the open market, where the remaining contenders will have the opportunity to bid on new gaming licenses.

Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney gave the strongest evidence that the government is open to issuing new licenses when he said, “If one or more than one of those proposals [don’t meet] the criteria, then it is likely that the government would go back to the market.”

Terry Agnew, chief executive of Tower Holdings, has a plan to open a $2 billion integrated resort called Great Keppel Island, which already has all of the approvals and requirements that Aquis Resort and Gold Coast Broadwater are currently lacking. Both Agnew and Tower Holdings would love nothing more than to see new gaming licenses issued, as they would likely be at the top of a very short list of replacement project proposals.

It is still too early to know whether the incumbent projects will be able to get their ducks in a row and build their resorts. One way or another, gamblers in Queensland will (eventually) have some new, beautiful places where they can play.

Parliament Offers Crown Casino $200 Million Guarantee

Written By Carla Harris

Victoria Parliament

The Crown Casino and Entertainment Complex continues to receive unprecedented support from Victorian government authorities, which recognize the Melbourne resort and gaming center as an essential component of the regional economy. As part of a wide range of legislative reforms, the upper house of the Parliament of Victoria recently extended Crown Casino’s gaming license through 2050 while allowing an additional 100 poker tables on the premises. Now, the upper house has approved a deal that will help safeguard Crown’s bottom line against a wide range of future gambling restrictions.

On Tuesday, October 14, Victoria’s upper house granted the largest casino in Australia a contractual guarantee that Green Party leader Greg Barber describes as “absolutely extraordinary.” Under the terms of the agreement, Crown Melbourne can receive up to $200 million in publicly funded compensation to offset potential losses from any forthcoming gambling legislation that might prove problematic for the casino giant. Representative Barber predicts that major casinos across Australia will follow Crown’s lead and push for similar governmental deals.

The Crown agreement will insure the organization against a wide range of prospective antigambling measures, including tougher limits on maximum bets and organized public campaigns against gambling addiction. Crown may even receive concessions if government officials seek to ban smoking in certain areas on the casino grounds.

In return for this compensation and its extensive license to operate, Crown has agreed to make more than $900 million in payments to the Victorian government. This figure includes an initial contribution of $250 million, which will be delivered within seven days of the bill’s implementation. Despite these substantial payments, Representative Barber claims that Crown should have no problem recouping its investment and generating a considerable profit over the course of its 50-year license period.

Blackjack: A Brief History of the World’s Favourite Casino Game

Written By Carla Harris

Playing cards are generally believed to have originated in China sometime around the 9th century, making their way to Europe some five centuries later. However there is also evidence that suggests they were first used in India, whilst others historians have found further evidence of them in the Islamic countries bordering the Mediterranean. Ultimately, though, everyone is in agreement that by the 14th century they were being used in Europe, where the 52 card deck and the modern concept of card suits were born.

The Italo-Spanish deck was made up of cups, coins, clubs and swords, but the suits that we know today (hearts, diamonds, clubs and spades) were courtesy of the French, which is where most people believe the game of Blackjack originated.

Like so many card games, there is no consensus as to Blackjack’s origins. It more than likely originated in France (like so many of the card games that migrated to North America), probably around 1700. It was called ‘Vingt-et-Un’ (Twenty-one), which explains why Blackjack is also known as ‘21’. It could also have been influenced by the card games ‘Chemin de Fer’ and ‘French Ferme’ – two very popular amusements with the gaming classes of the time.

However there was also a similar game that existed in Spain that predated the French version. Author of the classic novel ‘Don Quixote’, Miguel Cervantes referenced this version in a story called Ronconete y Cortadillo in Novelas Ejemplare, in the early 1600s, and this is the earliest written reference found to date that relates to the game of Blackjack. ‘Ventuina’, as it was known, also translates to 21 and although the deck on which it was played lacked eights, nines and tens, the aim was to reach 21 points.

The game travelled to North America with French colonists and soon spread through the continent. French culture was exceedingly popular with Americans at the time, which can explain why it caught on so quickly. However the rules were still different to the modern version played today. Nevada gambling houses began to introduce unique bonus hands to attract gamblers. One such bet offered a 10 to 1 payout for any player that achieved a 21-point hand made up of the Ace of Spades and either the Jack of Clubs or Spades – it was, of course, known as ‘blackjack’. The name soon stuck (although the payout didn’t!) and referring to the game as 21 became less and less common.

What is unique about Blackjack is that it continues to evolve and adapt, with new variants cropping up – especially at online casinos that usually boast a number of versions. It’s no surprise that Blackjack has maintained its popularity and is played in casinos, and online, around the world.

Aussie Sports Trading Club Expands into Africa and Asia

Written By Carla Harris

Football Sports Betting

In September of 2014, the Australian-based sports betting organization Sports Trading Club Partnership sold half of its holdings to the Universal Sports Group, a subsidiary of Jenforth Holdings Limited with headquarters in the British Virgin Islands.

The Sports Trading Club has done substantial business for years throughout the countries of Australia and New Zealand. Rebranded as USG Partners (or USGP) in the wake of the fifty-percent acquisition, the Universal Sports Group is now poised to give the Sports Trading Club brand name a significant foothold throughout South Africa and Asia.

Working with commodities traders in Laos, Vietnam, and Cambodia, the Sports Trading Club launched a joint venture to expand into the Indochina region. Following this promising endeavor, USGP secured an additional license to bring the Sports Trading Club to the growing South African marketplace.

According to Sports Trading Club General Partner Anne Larter, USGP has “big plans to grow the Club internationally.” Larter went on to explain that USGP considers Sports Trading Club to be an “emerging brand with a strong track record throughout Australia and New Zealand” and that the recent acquisition presents an excellent opportunity to capitalize on the “extraordinary profits” and “phenomenal growth” in the booming field of online sports gambling. “This is a real opportunity to go to the next stage,” she added.

Asian gambling companies currently make up 34 percent of the worldwide gambling market, and by 2015, the Asian online sports booking sector is expected to reach a combined net worth of more than $164 billion.

Venomous Sea Snake Slithers into SkyCity Casino

Written By Carla Harris

Aussie Sea Snake

Against all odds, an invasive Indonesian sea snake joined gamblers at SkyCity Casino, engaging them in a potentially deadly game of chance that they had no intention of playing.

Shortly after midnight on Sunday, October 19th, security at the Darwin, Australia seaside casino phoned a local snake catcher, reporting that a 1.3 metre yellow-lipped banded sea krait had wandered onto the premises. While contacting the snake professional, the SkyCity staff acted quickly to protect patrons. When authorities arrived on the scene, they found the snake safely confined in a lunch bag.

While hastily attained, the ad-hoc paper prison was more than enough security to hold the banded sea krait. Although its venom ranks among the most poisonous in the world and its fangs are as long as a death adder’s, the snake itself is so submissive and docile that humans are rarely bitten. Even on the chaotic and threatening casino floor, the banded sea krait will maintain what scientists have called “a really good personality.”

Like many tourists, the snake travelled quite a long way to pay its visit to SkyCity. Native to Samoa, Papua New Guinea, South India, and Japan, the banded sea krait is believed to have travelled to Australia by riding ocean currents and tides. According to environmental scientist expert Mick Guinea, Australian voyages of this kind may be a rising trend among the species. “It’s very likely they could be naturally migrating,” he said. “They have a very high range of habitats, and it could be that they are expanding this range.” The recent SkyCity visitor was the second banded sea krait to be found within Darwin city limits.

Highlights of the World Series of Poker Asia-Pacific

Written By Carla Harris


The World Series of Poker Asia-Pacific (WSOP APAC) is quickly becoming one of the premier gambling events in the Southern Hemisphere. Poker players from Australia and around the world descended on the iconic Crown Melbourne to play, watch, and gamble with some of the best poker players in the world.

This year’s WSOP APAC is only the second time the tournament series has been held, but due to its clear popularity (and expanded television coverage) it is all-but-guaranteed that the WSOP APAC is here to stay.

With 10 exciting events and millions of dollars on the line, it is impossible to go over every noteworthy development in the series. The following highlights are just three of the best (but far from the only) stories from the series.

Scott Davies wins his first AU$10,000 APAC Main Event

Like so many other gamblers, American-born Scott Davies came to the Crown Melbourne with the intention of taking down the APAC Main Event. Unlike everyone else, Davies was actually able to pull it off, earning a gold WSOP bracelet and AU$850,136 in prize money.

Mike Leah takes down the prestigious AU$25,000 High Roller Event

In case the AU$10,000 buyin Main Event wasn’t enough action for you, the High Roller Event featured a buyin two and a half times that size. Canadian poker pro Mike Leah won his first WSOP bracelet (and AU$600,000) in one of the most prestigious events on the global circuit. Runner-up was New Zealand poker pro David Yan (with AU$360,025 in winnings).

WSOP veteran George Danzer bests the field at the AU$5000 Eight-Game Mixed Event

George Danzer is no stranger to WSOP final tables, or WSOP bracelets for that matter. Danzer’s impressive takedown of the notoriously difficult AU$5000 Mixed-Game Event earned him his third WSOP bracelet of the year, while also making him a strong contender for the WSOP Player of the Year.

With such a successful series, chances are great that next year’s WSOP APAC will be even bigger than the one that just concluded. All eyes will be on the event itself as well as the potentially impressive lineup, each Poker Star with their own fan base.

Upgraded Video Slot Max Damage Launches at Casino Mate

Written By Carla Harris

Max Damage online slot

November’s release gives players an updated intergalactic adventure in Max Damage Online Slot

Wednesday, 5th November 2014 is going to be an explosive day in the world of online gaming. The Max Damage Online Slot blasts into Casino-Mate ‘unleashing a second wave of alien activity’ and bringing space-age wins and rewards for all players blood enough to report for duty.

Players fell for the original Max Damage game – Max Damage and the Alien Attack Arcade Slot – and this rebooted version is set to join it on the favourites’ list. It’s the same iconic arcade-game feel boasting 80s old-school cool, but the special features and bonuses are totally space-age. The 5-Reel, 243-Ways-to-Win Slot kicks off with all guns blazing in the Base Game – Max is the Wild Symbol and the pays are out of this world. 3, 4 or 5 Alien Scatters set the gaming galaxy on fire with 15 Free Spins boosted by a 2x Multiplier, so wins are doubled. And when the Enemy Spaceship Scatters invade, Max fights back with random cash prizes. Wins skyrocket up to 120,000.00.

Casino manager and spokesperson, Carla Harris, said, “If you enjoyed the original Max Damage then you are in for a real treat. The new Max Damage Slot is a fast-paced, action-filled game with unbelievable prizes up for grabs. I’m already a fan.”

New players at Casino-Mate are greeted with a choice between two Welcome Offers to get their gaming off to a cracking start. There’s the 4-Tier Deposit Bonus of $/£/€1,400 Free in Bonuses on their first four deposits. They get a Bonus of 100% on their first deposit up to $/€100, 200% on their second deposit up to $/€50, 25% up to $/€500 and 50% up to $/€750 on their fourth deposit.

As well as these new titles, there are over 650 other high-quality games, all powered by leading online gaming developer Microgaming™. Banking security is a serious priority and a range of banking options are available, from credit cards to web wallet services. All banking and personal information is carried over 128-bit encryption technology, an industry standard.

All queries can be resolved by the casino’s comprehensive FAQ page or by contacting the 24/7 multilingual contact centre. They can be reached either by email, toll-free number or live chat.