For a long time, gamblers in West Virginia had to travel somewhere else to play blackjack games, craps games, roulette games, etc. The only casino gambling action available to them was slot machine gambling and horse betting. But recently, Wheeling Island Gaming and Mountaineer Casino Racetrack and Resort received permission to add table games to their offerings. So the gamblers who used to travel to Indiana can now get their blackjack fix a little closer to home.
Blackjack isn’t the only new game that’s available to gamblers in the area. Texas holdem grows ever more popular, and both of the locations already mentioned now have poker card rooms where aspiring Doyle Brunsons can now go all-in and hope they don’t get a bad flop.
Wheeling Island Gaming
Wheeling Island Gaming is located on an island in the Ohio River. The casino offers a tropical island ambience including a waterfall and multiple faux-palm trees. The island itself is only about 2 miles long, and Wheeling Island Casino offers several restaurants and bars. Be warned that this casino is extremely popular, and the blackjack games there are a big attraction. You should be prepared to wait if you want to play blackjack at any stakes lower than $50 per hand. (The higher stakes tables aren’t as crowded.)
Gamblers who are tired of slot machines, blackjack, and craps can step outside and spend some time betting on the dog races that are also offered at the location. Or if you’re not the rough and rugged outdoors-y type, you can watch the races from inside as well.
Mountaineer Casino Racetrack
The Mountaineer Casino Racetrack is located in the countryside, somewhat removed from the rest of civilization. Like Wheeling Island Gaming, the Mountaineer offers multiple restaurants and bars. They have a radically different decor and theme though, favoring a 1920’s gangster/speakeasy decor over the tropical island theme present at Wheeling Island. The casino is a little bit larger, and finding a lower stakes blackjack table with a seat open is a little bit easier here.
And if you get tired of gambling, a golf resort is located nearby, so you can get some fresh air and exercise while taking a break from the tables and the slot machines.
Some Blackjack Advice
If you’re new to blackjack strategy, here are a few tips for how to minimize the house edge:
When you’re not sure about the correct play, assume that the dealer has a ten as her hole card, and also assume that you’re going to be dealt a ten. The deck has more tens in it than any other card, so this is a decent assumption about what’s going to happen next, and the basic strategy decisions become pretty obvious.
Always split aces and eights. If you’ve got aces, you get twice as many chances at a blackjack by splitting. And you’ll often draw a ten when you hit. 10+8=18, which is a mighty respectable blackjack hand any time.
Never split fours, fives, or tens. A pair of fours is a hard total of eight, which means you’re next card, if it’s a ten, will be an eighteen, which is a mighty good hand. (Two hands with a total of fourteen each would be a bummer to play though.) A pair of fives is a total of ten, so doubling down is a good idea here, since you’re hoping to catch an ace for a 21 or a ten for a total of 20. And a pair of tens is a total of 20, which is an outstanding hand no matter what.
Don’t play with money you can’t afford to lose.
For more blackjack strategy advice, including a hand-by-hand guide to basic strategy, visit Blackjack Hero’s blackjack basic strategy tutorial.
To practice a little blackjack online before your tips, try the free blackjack games available with no download at Free Flash Blackjack.
Good luck at the tables in West Virginia. The house has the edge unless you’re counting cards, but you’re the one having big fun.