So you want to play safe blackjack? Let us brief you in. There are risks involved in playing blackjack online, especially if you are USA based. The most obvious one is the danger of losing a real money wager or even an entire session due to poor play. It’s impossible to win all of the time, of course, and losses are to be expected; an easily foreseen and calculated risk must be taken with any game of chance.
Of much greater concern, however, are hidden threats that can inflict massive damage to a player’s bankroll, making bets and winnings worthless if due care is not taken. Following are seven specific risks to be aware of and how to guard against potential losses that have little if anything at all to do with how well or badly the actual blackjack hands are played.
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How to Play Safe Blackjack On The Internet
- Choose a Reliable Gaming Site – Most of the long-established online casinos are trustworthy, especially those affiliated with leading software providers. If such gaming sites weren’t reliable, they would have gone out of business long ago. But there are still more than a few fly-by-night operations that lure players in with clever promotions and then make it almost impossible to ever withdraw any real money. When selecting an online casino for blackjack play, always be sure to check published blacklists for rogue casinos as well as the lists of the top-rated ones before depositing any funds. Also look for certification by a reputable third-party authority such as eCOGRA or Technical Systems Testing (TST).
- Know How to Collect – Before committing any funds to an online casino, it is of critical importance to know how to get money out. Just because deposits can be made by PayPal, for example, doesn’t mean winnings can be transferred back the same way. The FAQ section of the gaming site should provide specific instructions for withdrawals, including methods available, any minimum required, expected wait time, any associated fees and what documentation, if any, is needed. It may be necessary to verify one’s identity, address and banking information prior to initiating a withdrawal. Don’t fall victim to a labyrinth of compliance details. Get informed before risking that first bet.
- Read the Fine Print – One of the worst nightmares of any USA blackjack player is to win big at the table and then discover that the winnings are “subject to a forty times (40X) play-through requirement before funds can be withdrawn from the casino account.” This most often occurs in conjunction with a promotion, such as a deposit matching bonus or a new player welcome package. Become familiar with all of the details before signing up for any “free cash” or similar offers.
- Invest in Proper Hardware/Software – It is the nature of machines to break down, and of course Murphy’s Law fully applies to online gaming—whatever problem can occur, will occur, and it will happen at the worst possible moment. Investing in such safeguards as a surge protector, a high-speed modem, sufficient bandwidth and adequate RAM can help avoid a nasty equipment-caused meltdown. If connectivity seems slow or intermittent, don’t play. Make sure hardware and software specifications are matched to the gaming site’s standards.
- Guard Against Theft – Identity theft is a huge problem nowadays. Ensure that all gaming account information and passwords are well protected. Limit or exclude others from computer or mobile access. Always log out when a session of play has ended. Use anti-virus software to set up firewalls and regularly check for spyware. Good gaming sites do their best to protect privacy on their end, but true security is a two-way street. Take the same precautions with an online casino account that would be used to ensure the safety of a credit card or bank account.
- Avoid a Tax Nightmare – Most countries expect players to dutifully report their all of their winnings from gambling each year, including amounts won at online gaming sites. Should an audit occur, it is the player’s responsibility to provide records of how much has been won and/or lost. That’s why most accountants advise gamblers to keep accurate records, win or lose. The data is valuable as proof of activities and can help avoid some huge headaches down the road.
- Don’t Lose Control – Gambling addiction is another major danger that can threaten not only winnings but one’s livelihood and relationships as well. There is help readily available through organizations like Gamcare and Gambler’s Anonymous for anyone who feels that gaming may be becoming a problem. Common symptoms include preoccupation with or a constant fixation on gambling, wagering more often and in greater amounts, betting down to the last penny available, and an inability to stop and walk away. Others are chasing after losses in an attempt to win them back, gambling on credit or using funds meant to pay bills and living expenses, lying to family and friends about gambling, and deteriorating relationships. When playing blackjack stops being fun, it may be time to stop.
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Is Live USA Blackjack Safer?
If you live in the vincinity of Las Vegas, you might be inclined to read our report on the best Vegas strip blackjack casinos. Knowing and understanding your risk of ruin in blackjack is also very important. Your volatility at the tables is actually determined by standard deviation, so brushing up on your blackjack mathematics may not be such a bad idea. One of the benefits of the advances in gaming technology is the advent of live dealer blackjack. Such real-time software diminishes the risk of cheating and tempered software because of the presence of a camera filming real dealers.
The Most Legitimate USA Blackjack Brands?
Certs and licenses are a given as marks of safety, but which ones should you look out for? We recommend that you peruse our list of markers of legitimacy which has various links to gaming governing bodies and watchdog groups. Legitimate Casinos aren’t plenty these days, in fact they are 3 times less numerous than 3 years ago, according to Zachary who runs this website.
Legality of Playing Blackjack for Real Money
If you’re going to play for real money, please understand the risks and legalities. In the United States, safe online blackjack is in a legal grey zone, although it wasn’t specifically targeted by the Wire Act based according to a new interpretation by Congress last year. USA Blackjack laws are tedious to understand at best, so we recommend checking with a lawyer if you are financially inclined to do so. Checking with your local jurisdiction at no cost would be a cheaper alternative since the laws depend so much on geographical location.
Links for Problem Gaming
- Medline Plus – A service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine, this site covers a number of health topics. Gambling addiction is one of them, and Medline discusses diagnosis, clinical trials, organizations, and the latest news on the subject.
- Asian Journal of Gambling Issues and Public Health – Dedicated to the problems faced by Asian gamblers around the globe, this journal includes a wealth of articles ranging from the advantages of web-based counseling to the impact of gambling on Aboriginal communities in New South Wales.
- Responsible Gambling Council – Based in Ontario, this non-profit organization has been dedicated to increasing awareness about problem gambling for decades. Their site is loaded with options for interested readers, including where to get help, clinical research, and the effects of gambling on groups ranging from New Canadians to senior citizens. They also link to the Cost2Play Calculator, which will allow fans of blackjack to determine how much they’re spending on the game.