Vegas Downtown Blackjack is a user-friendly version of the game that focuses on the type of blackjack one might encounter in downtown LA, which is a bit different than what you’d see on the strip. The player can play only one hand at a time, although it can be split. The layout is straightforward, well designed and recommended for beginners. The play setting looks like a standard blackjack table. The bets and rules are described at the top left-hand side of the screen and go up to 1000 per round. Players can participate either for fun or with real money. The beginning balance for a fun round is 100,000, which is quite generous. The goal, as with all blackjack games, is to get as close to 21 or hit blackjack against the dealer without going over, or ‘busting’. The cards are dealt from the top right and the chips are on the bottom left. The game has a soundtrack of a Vegas casino; people chatting in the background, glasses clinking and smooth jazz set the mood, while a female voice with a British accent announces bets and losses, saying, “Blackjack” when players have won with an audible smile in her voice.
The game allows for up to three splits, which means playing four hands at once. Should you hit a blackjack, you beat the dealer’s blackjack. However, the dealer can beat you on a tie in this game. The players can double down on any two cards, but this should be done only when your hand is below 14, because the next card is more likely to get you a ‘bust.’
The difference between regular blackjack and Vegas downtown blackjack is that the dealer will stand on a hard 17 but hits on a soft 17, which is similar to the kind of game you would find in downtown Las Vegas, hence the title of the game.
Another outstanding feature is that the game is played with two decks of cards instead of one. Should the dealer hit an ace or a card with the value of 10, which includes name cards as well, the dealer checks for a potential win and the player has the option of buying insurance compensation out of their balance to protect themselves in case of the dealer’s win. The Blackjack will garner wins with a ratio of 3:2, while insurance will pay out 2:1. All in all, a recommended game for those starting out.
Did you know that slot machines used to be called ‘one armed bandits’ because they supposedly left players in debt? Luckily the world has changed quite a bit since this term was connected to slot machines, and modern day video slot games, for example, in online casinos have theoretical win probabilities over 95%! But let’s not jump ahead of ourselves. Let’s focus on the history of these super exciting beasts!
Whoever came up with the idea to commercialize gambling through slot machines deserves the Nobel Prize in science. Well, as with many new things, slot machines were developed in the U.S. However, there isn’t a strong consensus in terms of pinpointing the exact person or group of inventors who designed the first commonly used slot machine. On the one hand historians credit two gentlemen named Sittman & Pitt, and on the other hand some academics argue that Charles Fey came up with the first version of the slot machine with his ‘Liberty Bell’. Recorded data shows that Charles Fey designed the original, yet arcane concept of slot machines in 1891, and few years later Sittman & Pitt improved the mechanics and invented a better version.
How Did They Work?
Without today’s technology behind them, how did these slot machines work? In Sittman & Pitt’s version the drums (today’s reels) had all 50 cards printed on them. After a player inserted a coin and pulled the lever, the rolls would stop, and in the case of a win the player didn’t win money back from the machine. Rather each venue decided how much each winning hand was worth. For example, two Kings would give a pint of beer, and a full house maybe a cigar. Therefore, each location decided their winnings independently.
Fey’s version simplified the game by replacing cards with different symbols such as horseshoes, spades, hearts and most importantly liberty bells, hence the name ‘Liberty Bell’. Instead of having five drums, Fey’s Liberty Bell had only three, significantly reducing the problem of complexity. In a matter of a few years, Fey could not keep up with production demands, and other companies jumped on the bandwagon. The rest as they say is history.
Slot machines prior to the emergence of online casinos functioned more or less on the same principle, albeit utilizing more electronics than Fey’s Liberty Bell. The first electronic casino slots were introduced in the late 1970’s in, of course, Las Vegas. They quickly became number one choices over blackjack, roulette and other traditional games. These machines are still immensely popular in different casinos, but they are slowly giving way to another wave of “disruptive technology” driven by online casinos.
The Development of Online Slots
The problem with land-based casinos offering slot games is the lack of options. Online casinos, however, are developing dozens of games with different themes. Even better, the theoretical probability of winning is higher in online casinos! Online casinos use an RNG-system (random number generator) to work out complex algorithms, and which ensures the randomness of each online slot game. Therefore, people playing on their laptop, phone or tablet don’t have to worry about foul play.
As you can see we’ve come a long way since the Liberty Bell!
Among the most popular casino games of all time, Roulette is the only one where players do not have cards to play with. And we’re not talking about Russian Roulette, either! Roulette – perhaps the most social of all casino games due to its slower pace and human interaction – has been around for quite some time. Furthermore, it is a game that world-class mathematicians have tried to solve for the last 200 years. In this article we won’t be offering any statistical solutions in order to discover the optimal betting sequence. Instead we’ll study the history of this fascinating game called Roulette, or Little Wheel.
The earliest evidence of a form of Roulette can be found in 17th century France. It is puzzling to note that France appears to be the source of the most popular casino games (Poker and Blackjack, for instance). Although the exact source of Roulette is debatable – either an unknown monk in a French monastery, or the mathematician, physicist, inventor, writer and Christian philosopher Blaise Pascal – there is no doubt that the game has been inspired by someone with a knack for statistics. These historical facts narrow the possibility of origin to Western Europe where Renaissance inspired human minds came to admire science as opposed to faith.
Nevertheless, let us move forward to the game itself and see how Roulette is played. First and foremost, the European wheel consists of numbers between 0 and 36 whereas American roulette has 38 numbers (0-36 and 00). The dealer, also known as a croupier, spins the wheel to wither left or right, and then spins a ball inside the wheel in the opposite direction. The slots are also either red or black coloured, except the green zero slot. The ball will obviously end up in one of these slots.
Now, let’s talk about the betting options, which are hugely diverse and dynamic. Before the wheel is put to spin, players place different bets with their chips on a specific bet table. The bets can be on numbers, colours or their combinations. And that’s where the game gets exciting. Bets can be placed either for the ‘inside’ or ‘outside’ bet options. Here’s a list of all the bet options:
- Low/High – Bet on either low numbers 0-18 or high 19-36
- Red/Black – Bet on either colour
- Even/Odd – Bet on odd or even number
- Dozen – Bet on a dozen numbers
- Column – Bet on a number which will be in the column (vertical) of 12 numbers
- Snake – Special bet on numbers 1,5,9,12,14,16,19,23,27,30,32 and 34 (not all casinos offer)
- 6 numbers – 5:1win ratio
- 5 numbers – 6:1win ratio
- 4 numbers – 8:1win ratio
- 3 numbers – 11:1win ratio
- 2 numbers – 17:1win ratio
- 1 number – biggest win with 35:1 ratio
Remember that American Roulette has two zero slots (0 and 00) whereas European Roulette has only one. Also, here’s a fun fact for conspiracy theory fans: The combined roulette wheel numerical values equal 666, the number of the beast.
The emergence of online casinos is changing the dynamics of Roulette, which is popular partly due the social interactions amongst players. It remains to be seen whether this online transformation is successful.