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Reason #2 why the Wizard likes Bovada: No-hassle practice games
Most online casinos spend more effort trying to separate you from your money than they do trying to give you a good experience. They have all kinds of popup windows, they usually make you download their software, and if they do offer play-in-browser games then you have to register an account before you can play. And if you register they start sending you emails trying to get you to deposit real money.
But Bovada is different. They have no popup windows at all, and their practice games play right in your browser, with no download, and no registration required. You don't even have to give up your email address. It couldn't be simpler: just one click and you're playing the game.
I wish all online casinos showed this much respect for their players. Other casinos practically ask for your first born child to play for free. Meanwhile Bovada is patient and does not twist anybody's arm to play for real money. You can play as long as you like for free with no obligation. The real-money games are available if that's your preference, but if not, you can play the free practice games for as long as you like without hassle.
To use the basic strategy, look up your hand along the left vertical edge and the dealer's up card along the top. In both cases an A stands for ace. From top to bottom are the hard totals, soft totals, and splittable hands. There are two charts depending on whether the dealer hits or stands on soft 17.
- Never take insurance or "even money." The house edge on insurance is 5.9%, based on one deck.
- If there is no row for splitting (fives and tens), then look up your hand as a hard total (10 or 20).
- If you can't split because of a limit on re-splitting, then look up your hand as a hard total.
Blackjack Appendix 3A lists exceptions to the single deck, dealer stands on soft 17, basic strategy based on the exact composition of the player's hand.
Blackjack Appendix 3C lists exceptions to the single deck, dealer hits on soft 17, basic strategy based on the exact composition of the player's hand.
Boss Media Appendix 1 has a composition dependent basic strategy for single-deck, dealer stands on soft 17, blackjack.