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Though you can learn how to play blackjack in just a couple of minutes, you shouldn’t really sit down and play for money until you’ve mastered basic strategy. But what exactly is basic strategy? Find out and learn more at WizardSlots.

Pioneered by US Army mathematicians, basic strategy is a mathematically proven way to play your cards to cut the house edge in blackjack to almost zero. Basically (please excuse the pun), it tells you how to proceed with any hand and to start using this strategy, all you need to do is abide by the following four tips.

Always Stand when Your Hand is 12-16 and the Dealer Has 2-6

The dealer can’t stand at 16 so if his or her up-card is any number between two and six, it’s likely that he or she will have to choose at least two more cards to arrive in the sticking range (17 or more). Plus, if the dealer has to draw two more cards, there’s a good chance he or she will go bust. Thus, always stand when this situation arises.

Always Split Aces and Eights

Although aces are the best cards in blackjack, a pair of them  amounts to at best a 12 and doesn’t make a good hand. But, if you split them, you’ve a much better chance of reaching 21 as there are four times more 10 cards (including the court cards) than any other cards in the deck. As for eights, two of them gives you 16, a score that’s not really ideal for sticking or twisting. So, unpair them.

Never Split 5s and 10s

Fives and tens should never be split. A pair of fives makes 10 and since around 54% of the cards in blackjack are valued between seven and 10, you’ve a much better chance of getting a decent  score if you keep them together. A pair of tens, meanwhile, adds up to 20 and because this is the second-best score out there, it’s hard to defeat. Therefore, don’t separate your 10s!

Double Down When You’ve 11 and the Dealer Has 2-10

Drawing a card on a score of 11 won’t make you go bust and since there’s a decent chance you could get a high score with your next card, you should raise the stakes.   

Some Caveats

Basic strategy is so effective many casinos have changed their rules to make blackjack more profitable. For instance, they use more decks of cards, restrict your splitting and doubling down opportunities, remove the surrendering option and allow the dealer to draw more cards on Soft 17s (hands containing an ace and a six). Avoid playing games with any of these restrictions.

Final Thoughts

Basic strategy teaches you when to stand, split, hit and double down and helps create a more level playing field between you and the dealer. So, start using it from now on (believe me, your wallet will thank you for it ) and stay away from casinos that try to counteract it!

Itching to take a break and travel but worried about your fur babies? Being fur-parent is not easy. Leaving your pet behind to go on a vacation could be a stressful decision. Luckily with the increasing number of people having pets, more and more places open their arms for our four-legged friends too! Here is a list of some of the best vacation destinations you can visit along with your pets.

1. San Diego, California

One of the first perfect destinations to cross in mind when you want a break from the city is the beach. And what’s the best place to go to with your furry friend than the home of the Dog Beach itself, San Diego. This city offers a lot of pet-friendly beaches destinations, and one of the well-visited beaches is The Original Dog Beach. work on you Being one of the first official leash-free beaches in the United States, this is just the place to tan while your dog is busy playing tag with the water. But if you or your pooch is not the full crowd type, there are also a lot of beaches to choose from. After a full day on the beach, go and indulge with more than 500 selection of pet-friendly restaurants in the city.

2. Alexandria, Virginia

If you are looking for a more laid back trip with your dog, a staycation in the city of Alexandria is a go-to place. This city is one of the most dog-friendly vacation spots in the States with its vast options of pet-friendly hotel rooms, parks, and shopping boutiques. Surely, you and your pup won’t even feel out of place visiting here as its residents are dog-loving too! Just take a stroll in one of its many off-leash parks and discover the free treats and water for your baby. Once you had enough walking, go and shop your heart out with the many selections of shops you and your pet could visit. Be sure to also check out one of the most popular shops, the Dog Park located in King Street. Feed your eyes and empty your wallet for the shop’s delectable all-natural treats, big selection of toys, and cute outfits and accessories for your baby.

3. Orlando, Florida

Walt Disney World Resort! Does one still need further convincing? It is with many delights when Disney announced that they will be amending their policy to be more pet-friendly last 2017. And today, there are now Disney hotels that offer pet-friendly rooms. Unfortunately, pets are not allowed within the vicinity of the theme parks and water parks (with the exception of medical or disability-related service dogs) but fear not because you can leave your fur baby in Doggie Daycare such as Best Friends Pet Care. This full-service pet resort will pamper your pet while you go ahead and have a magical trip. While there, take the opportunity to have some quality time with your pooch. Take a walk in Winter Park and dine with nearby restaurants that will welcome you and your furry friend.

4. Albuquerque, New Mexico

Seeking for a more outdoor kind of adventure? New Mexico’s oldest city is the place for you. Albuquerque is a city with a lot to offer with its diverse cultures, vast history, and scenic views. Go on and explore with your canine buddy with Alburqueque’s different trails offering breathtaking views to the Sandia Mountain Range or go for a walk along the Rio Grande. If you and your dog are not yet ready for a full-on exercise, go ahead and sign up for a city tour – one of which you may consider is the ABQ Trolley Co. which lets you enjoy an open-air trolley ride with your dog and sightsee what Albuquerque has to offer.  After all the activities, have a refreshing glass of beer in some of the popular breweries such as the La Cumbre Brewing and Marble Brewery. The best part is you can bring your pup with you and party!

5. New York City, New York

If you are a city person and loves to explore different establishments instead, New York City is there for you. With lots of going on in this city that never sleeps, how can you not bring your beloved pet in NYC? You would not sweat finding where to stay with its long list of pet-friendly hotels, some hotels even go way beyond letting your pet stay with you, and offers perks such as gourmet food and grooming services for your spoiled fur baby. Another perk of staying here is having numerous options for restaurants and cafés with outdoor seating that allows you to dine with your dog. While thinking about NYC, why not consider the timing of your visit too? If your fur baby is not the shy type, there are lots of cool festivals you and your dog could enjoy all year round such as Winter Jam (a winter sports festival which includes activities like sledding!), Easter Parade and Bonnet Festival (play dress up with your pet and come with the most outrageous outfits you both could pull off) and Tompkins Square Park Halloween Dog Parade (go spooky with your doggy!).

6. Austin, Texas

You take a man’s best friend everywhere, and Austin, Texas should be no exception. Home to backyard bars and eateries, this spot was basically made for you and your puppy. Yard Bar, which has both dog and human menus and an off-leash dog park, is just one of the approximately 500 amazing pet-friendly restaurants around town area.

If the temperatures are high, try Barkin’ Springs, which is just outside of the Barton Springs Pool. Brkin’ Springs is the best place for your pup to make a splash. Once the sun sets, prep yourself and your puppy for a date night at Blue Starlite Mini Urban Drive-In, where well-behaved pups are always welcome.

With all of these places to consider, there is no stopping you and your furry friend to go and have a blast exploring.



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