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Feature article - Blackjack
I-Casino Bonus Hustling, by Rob McGarvey

"Hi. My name is Rob McGarvey and I am a Blackjack player." Sounds like a Gambleholics Anonymous meeting, but it's not. Blackjack players come in different flavors. Some people play using W.A.G. Blackjack (wild ass guessing), some use B.S. or Basic Strategy, and some become Card Counters (CC). I'm a card counter, tried and true to my profession, I play no other games seriously.

I can't imagine how many times I have had people ask me about playing online casinos, if there is a way you can count them down the way we do a single, double, and six deck games. Most I-casinos shuffle after every hand, so it is not possible to get an advantage with these games the way we can in a real casino. There are some that deal quite a few hands then shuffle, but normally don't deal far enough into the deck to give an advantage. In fact, they would be nuts to do this as it would attract some big money counters that could not only count the deck down, they can actually use another computer while online to give perfect play strategy as well. All in all, my answer was "NO" to I-casinos.

Then I got a book for my birthday that changed my mind. It's called BeatWebCasinos.Com by Bill Haywood. Bill is also a Blackjack player, which makes this book that much more interesting to me. I had to re-think the entire I-casino thing in a new light. So many times I have heard of this casino not paying out and that casino riping so-and-so off, that I wouldn't even think of giving them my credit card number. This holds true to day for many I-casinos, but not all of them!

There are software companies out there that can be trusted. These companies are Cryptologic, Microgaming, Starnet, iCrystal, and Boss. Microgaming uses Price Waterhouse Coopers for pete'sake to do it's numbers for them. These guys are making SO much money from real online losers they don't have to rip you off to make money. As usual, it's 20% of the gamblers that are giving the casino 90% of their profits. These companies are looking for new players, and they make it very enticing for you to join up. How? With a Bonus Program.

To get you to download their program, and get you playing, an I-casino offers you a sign up bonus. My favorite one is a $25 bonus for your first $25 deposit. They will double your money for the first $25 you put in. You can't deposit your $25, get them to add their $25 and take out $50. You have to play the full $50 through at least once to qualify to cash this money out. If you think this is no big deal, think again.

A Blackjack player that knows Basic Strategy has a disadvantage of around .5%. The I-casino wants you to make $50 worth of bets before you take the money out. You could lose every bet and end up with nothing to take out, or win every bet and have $100 to take out, but normally you will end up with $40 to $60 to take out. Now if you don't know how to play Basic Strategy, don't sweat it. You can play Baccarat betting player or banker, and Craps betting pass or don't pass with just over a 1% disadvantage. Make all your bets the table minimum, and put in your $50 worth of play. I often put in more so I don't look too suspicious, especially when I am winning.

My first bonus hustle was a $70 deposit, $45 bonus. It ended up that way because they offered a $20 bonus and a $25 bonus and I got them with a $50 and $20 deposit. Wierd. I had to play out $115 in bets against a one deck game. I ended up with $97, not as well as I hoped to, and took out my $70 and $25 of theirs, and left $2 there so they would send me more offers for deposits. I checked my credit card for the incoming money and it was there in a few days.

Then I found a site that gave me $25 for $25 with $50 of game play. This was not just for my first deposit, but for the first deposit for each MONTH! I played them out with $5 bets and ended up with $60. I took out my original $25 and $25 of theirs came by check, and left the $10 there because I was coming back next month for a repeat score. That was it. I began loging on to a new casino every few days to grab a bonus deal.

Lots of places offer 10%, 20%, 25% bonuses, but I found it much better to look for individual $25/$25 deals. One place offered $100 for a $25 deposit, a 400% bonus! The deal was you had to give them $500 worth of action. I came out of that one with my $25 and $45 of theirs. Took a lot of hands to get my money, but it was nice to get for playing Blackjack. It's becomes all about the money, and I forget how much I like playing cards!

Basically, I am playing on credit. My card gets charged, then a few days later my card gets a credit from the same company. Usually, the amount over the initial deposit I make comes to me by check. I'm a Canadian eh, so when I get a check (cheque, laugh) for $30, it's worth $45 in Canuck bucks. All of this goes into my real Blackjack bankroll that I use to attack the one and two deck games in Las Vegas on my holidays. That's another story! Hey! I just found a site that will give me a $35 bonus for a $20 deposit. I gotta go!

Drop by Rob's site and learn how you can enjoy an advantage over the house playing Blackjack.

[Article submitted June 2002]

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