Sep 15

Celebrity Blackjack Player of the Day: Ben Affleck!

3215777143_9fd88fc35b_b“Ben Affleck – Feed America” by Erin on Flickr is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 (license)

Well-known celebrity Ben Affleck proves that acting and directing movies aren’t the only things he’s good at. This Academy Award winner loves to play Blackjack, and he reportedly won a total of nearly $1 million in just TWO trips to the casino! In another occasion, Affleck won $140,000 in just one sitting and generously gave it all away to the casino staff, tipping individuals thousands of dollars each. If that wasn’t impressive enough, he also won the 2004 California State Poker Championship!

Unfortunately, Affleck was a little too good at the tables. The Hard Rock Casino in Las Vegas banned him from playing their Blackjack tables because he was allegedly racking up huge amounts of money by card counting. Remember our blog post about card counting? Card counting isn’t illegal, but if casinos notice you doing it, you’ll end up being banned like Affleck. According to one of the members of the MIT Blackjack Team, Affleck had to be REALLY good at his card counting to be banned and must have been “betting the right amount every time”.

Aside from being an excellent Blackjack player, Affleck is also an activist, and co-founded the Eastern Congo Initiative to help stabilize the economic and social development in the Congo. Actor, director, activist, and master Blackjack player – Ben Affleck has it all!

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Sep 12

Special News Bulletin: Blackjack Rules are Changing in Las Vegas

Category: Blackjack,Casino
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blackjack rules changing in vegasPhoto by Nandaro is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 (license)

 

Throughout the last few weeks, we uncovered some of the top casino destinations in the world. But if your travel plans include Las Vegas, be a little extra wary when sitting down at the Blackjack table. That’s because a number of casinos on the Strip have begun to change the payout rules to favor the house. It’s no secret that Blackjack is one of the few games where the casino doesn’t have as much of an edge over the player. Traditionally, the payout rule in Blackjack has been a 1-to-1 ratio for most wins. So, if you bet $10 you get $10 when you beat the dealer. Easy enough and still true. However, it’s the payout rule for blackjack wins that’s changed. Until recently, if you had the relatively lucrative and rare blackjack winning hand (that is, when you start with an ace and a 10-point card), the casinos paid out at 3-2 odds. That means that if you bet $10, your blackjack winning hand (also called a “natural 21”) brought in $15. Under the new 6-5 rule at some casinos, however, that same hand would only pay out $12.

This might not seem like a big deal, especially considering how rare getting a natural 21 is (it only happens about once every 21 hands or so). And that’s exactly what these casinos are betting on. Most casual Blackjack players probably won’t notice this small change in the payout rule, and those who do may not care enough to go to a different casino still using 3-2 payouts. But from the casino’s perspective, this change is pretty substantial. Henry Tamburin, a writer and gambling instructor, points out that “this one small change increases the house edge by about 1.4 percent, more than tripling the amount the casinos expect to win against perfect play.”

The truth of the matter is, the 6-5 payout rule isn’t anything new. It’s been used more and more frequently in low-limit games. So what makes this all so newsworthy? It’s that these 6-5 payouts are becoming more commonplace. Not long ago, the Las Vegas Sands (LVS), which owns the Venetian and the Palazzo, set 6-5 as the payout for blackjacks at standard tables (not just low limit and single deck games) at these casinos. This trend is spreading across the rest of the Strip as well, according to Tamburin. For example, MGM Mirage, one of the largest casino operators in Las Vegas, says that “the mix of three-to-two and six-to-five games at its casinos varies according to guest demand and staffing.”

So, does all of this make you reconsider playing Blackjack in Vegas? What do you think about the change in payout rules that these casinos are instituting? Sound off in the comments below!

 

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Sep 10

Apple iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus – What’s New?

Category: Apple,iPhone

iphone 6

 

You’ve most likely heard about Apple’s iPhone 6 announcement by now, but do you know all of the new functions it has to offer? You’re probably debating whether to buy or pass on the new iPhone, so we’ll break down the new features for you to make your decision a little bit simpler:

 

Screen Size: The iPhone 6 is 4.7 inches and the iPhone 6 Plus is 5.5 inches, versus the iPhone 5s with 4 inches.

Overall Phone Size: The iPhone 6 is 5.44 inches high and 2.64 inches wide, the iPhone 6 Plus is 6.22 inches high and 3.06 inches wide, and the iPhone 5s is 4.87 inches high and 2.31 inches wide.

Frame: The iPhone 6 & 6 Plus revert back to curved edges, instead of the right angle corners of the iPhone 5s.

Thickness: The iPhone 6 is 0.27 inches and the iPhone 6 Plus is 0.28 inches, versus the iPhone 5s with 0.30 inches.

Resolution: The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus boast “Retina HD displays”, with the iPhone 6 displaying just a little over 720p and iPhone 6 Plus displaying 1080p.

Processor: The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus introduced their A8 chip, which basically means users will have “up to 25% faster processing power and up to 50% faster graphics.”

Battery Life: The iPhone 6 offers up to 60 hours of audio, the iPhone 6 Plus up to 80 hours of audio, and the iPhone 5s up to 50 hours of audio. The iPhone 6 offers up to 11 hours of video, the iPhone 6 Plus up to 14 hours of video, and the iPhone 5s up to 10 hours of video. The iPhone 6 Plus also offers up to 16 days of standby compared to the iPhone 6 and iPhone 5s with only up to 10 days of standby.

Camera: There’s various improvements in the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus cameras. There’s a sensor that supports “Focus Pixels” that autofocuses like a DSLR camera, users can shoot videos at either 30 or 60 frames per second or shoot slow motion videos at 120 and 240 frames per second, the camera lens stabilizes for shaky hands, and a burst mode to take up to 10 photos per second.

Other Tweaks: iPhone 6 Plus landscape home screen view, improved voice audio quality, Apple Pay, a barometer to check air pressure and elevation, and more storage with each price interval.

 

As for the Apple Watch…well, that’s another story we can talk about when it finally releases next year.

 

Will you be rushing to Apple’s doors on September 19? What are your thoughts on the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus? Let us know in the comments below!

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Sep 8

Top International Casinos – Part 7

Category: Casino

We saved one of the best for last in our Lucky Number 7 spot! That’s the SkyPark at the top…it kind of looks like a ship perched on the three towers, doesn’t it?

Marina Bay Sands, Singapore

5380862681_1912ceb4af_b“Marina Bay Sands” by edwin.11 on Flickr is licensed under CC BY 2.0 (license)

Standing at 650 feet high and wider than the Eiffel Tower laid on its side, Marina Bay Sands is the most expensive building constructed in the world. The President and CEO of the hotel, Thomas Arasi, considers the SkyPark “one of the greatest architectural feats of modern times.” Get the best view in Singapore from the Observation Deck, or swim 57 stories high in the Infinity Pool.

Look at that view!

9763937482_795dc962b2_o“SkyPark Infinity Pool” by Sarah_Ackerman on Flickr is licensed under CC BY 2.0 (license)

Get your gambling fix with the casino, housing over 600 gaming tables and 1,500 slot machines, illuminated by one of the world’s largest chandeliers composed of 132,000 Swarovski crystals! Guests can indulge in luxury stores at The Shoppes, with designer stores like Emporio Armani and the world’s largest Louis Vitton boutique. Stop by at the ArtScience museum for good educational enjoyment, or dance the night away at the KU DÉ TA nightclub. The hotel has around 2,500 guest rooms, and some of the most prestigious guests can stay in the Chairman Suite. The suite is basically a house, containing four bedrooms, two living rooms, an exercise room, a game room, a pillow menu, and a baby grand piano! There’s so much more to Marina Bay Sands, and our summary just can’t encompass everything about it!

It’s refreshing to know there’s much more to casinos than what Las Vegas has to offer. If you had one choice out of all the casino resorts we shared with you, which one would you pick?

What are you waiting for? Book that flight now!

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Sep 5

Top International Casinos – Part 6

Category: Casino

We took a little break from our travels around the world, but we’re baaack! Our next casino resort will make you feel like you’re the ruler of a kingdom, and it’s located in the northern part of South Africa:

Sun City Resort, South Africa

sun city SA 2“Sun City, 2004” by Nathan Hughes Hamilton on Flickr is licensed under CC BY 2.0 (license)

Sun City is the perfect year-round vacation spot with its temperate climate and has won several Environmental, Heritage, and Travel & Tourism awards. The resort is comprised of four hotels: Cascades, the Cabanas, Sun City Hotel, and Palace of the Lost City. Cascades is an Aztec-like temple with lush trees, cascading waters, a private beach, and a tanning island. The Cabanas is the most affordable and family-friendly hotel, complete with various children’s activities such as the man-made lake in Waterworld and the playgrounds in Kamp Kwena. The original of the four hotels, Sun City Hotel, includes a championship golf course, a country club, and a casino. Last but not least, located a little further away from the other three hotels is Palace of the Lost City. Based on the “myth of a lost African kingdom”, this hotel will make you feel like royalty with its grand towers and enchanting gardens. The hotel also includes Valley of the Waves, a water theme park that looks and feels like a tropical island, as well as the Lost City Golf Course, famous for housing 38 crocodiles in the lake on the 13th hole!

This is the penultimate casino resort on our list…stay tuned, because the last destination will be revealed in our next blog post!

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Sep 3

graBLOX Update!

Category: Android,grablox,Updates

All graBLOX fans gather ‘round, because this is the update you’ve all been waiting for! Let’s begin by introducing a new addition to the graBLOX family:

Pushy

** Pushy! **

Despite his name, Pushy is actually a really nice BLOX. If you give him a tap, he will spin around, emitting waves from all four sides and helps push his BLOX buddies to the far edge of the screen. However, no matter how much he tries, his waves are only strong enough to push one BLOX on each side.

Players can now use Pushy in the Level Builder feature! Build that level that’ll make other players scratch their heads, then submit it. Yours might be chosen in the next world!

Speaking of new worlds… you didn’t think we would introduce Pushy without releasing a new world did you?

 

Screenshot_1    Screenshot_2

** World 11 **

Presenting WORLD 11! This world contains 25 new levels, with Pushy making an appearance in each level.

 

What are you waiting for? Give Pushy a try, and start playing the new world here!

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Aug 29

Labor Day Weekend!

Category: Holiday

Labor Day is coming up, and folks everywhere are packing up for camping trips, attending parades, hosting barbecues, or hunting for sales. Everyone is excited for that extra day off, knowing it’s the opportune time to make plans with family and friends. However, do you know the origins of Labor Day in the U.S.? Why is it even a holiday in the first place (not that anyone would ever complain about it)? We’ll fill you in on the facts!

Labor_Day_New_York_1882The first Labor Day celebrated in New York City, 1882

  1. In 1882, the Central Labor Union proposed the idea of Labor Day, dedicated to the American worker.
  2. The first Labor Day was held on Tuesday, September 5, 1882 in New York City, which had a street parade and a festival to entertain the workers.
  3. Labor Day symbolized the improvement of labor during that time period, and focused on the ideals of higher standards of living for the American citizen.
  4. The first Monday of September was chosen to be the official Labor Day holiday in 1884.
  5. In 1885, the holiday spread from New York to other major areas in the U.S., and eventually grew into the national holiday that it is today.

Enjoy the three-day weekend, because you deserve it. We hope you have a blast!

 

What are your plans for Labor Day Weekend? Let us know in the comments below!

 

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Aug 27

Top International Casino Resorts – Part 5

Category: Casino

Hey! Wasn’t this place in a couple of James Bond movies? I wonder if he’s in there now…

The Casino de Monte-Carlo, Monaco

monte carlo casino“Monte Carlo” by Glen Scarborough on Flickr is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 (license)

For being the second smallest country in the world, Monaco sure is impressive when it comes to the casino experience. The Casino de Monte-Carlo is considered legendary, partly because of its huge collection of table games considered to be the “most prestigious and the most complete in Europe.” Some of these tables include traditional games such as Blackjack and Texas Hold’em, but also include special versions of card games like Trente et Quarante and Chemin de Fer. The casino also holds over 1,000 slot machines, being the largest collection of slots in all of Europe. Guests can also play golf while viewing the Mediterranean Sea, and participate in the bustling nightlife to enhance the casino experience. You can choose to stay at the four luxury hotels within close proximity of the casino to supplement the high-class experience: Hotel de Paris Monte-Carlo, Hotel Hermitage Monte-Carlo, Monte-Carlo Bay Hotel & Resort, and Monte-Carlo Beach. It’s no wonder James Bond loves to stop by the Monte-Carlo during his missions!

Time to leave Monaco, and expand our horizons into another enchanting location. Tune in for our next post!

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Aug 25

Top International Casino Resorts – Part 4

Category: Casino

Time to stop by China, at the largest hotel in the WORLD. Look how glamorous this place looks, it could be mistaken for a palace!

The Venetian Macao, Macau, China

venetian macau“The Venetian Macao Resort Hotel” by Dennis Wong on Flickr is licensed under CC BY 2.0 (license)

If you’re looking for a high-class location, the Venetian Macao would definitely be among the top of your list. This all-suite hotel has massive rooms brimming with elegance, complete with exclusive spa and limousine services. The casino is even more impressive, split into four themed gaming areas – Golden Fish, Imperial House, Red Dragon, and Phoenix – consisting of around 3,400 slot machines and around 800 gambling tables. VIP guests have admission to the prestigious Paiza Club, which gives them access to their own private entrance and lobby, private game rooms, and the Paiza Club Dining & Lounge. The resort also houses the famous Cotai Arena, which hosts a wide array of special events, such as concerts, awards shows, and sporting events.

The next destination oozes with grandeur, and is usually associated with everyone’s favorite British spy. Find out where it is in the next blog post, you don’t want to miss this one!

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Aug 22

Top International Casino Resorts – Part 3

Category: Casino

Unpack your bathing suits ladies and gentlemen, and feast your eyes on our next destination:

Ibiza Gran Hotel, Ibiza Town, Spain

ibiza gran hotel“Gran_Hotel_Ibiza.jpg” by Pablo Monteagudo on Flickr is licensed under CC BY 2.0 (license)

The Ibiza Gran Hotel has perfected the balance between relaxing and partying. This resort offers beachfront hammocks and fiestas, as well as a chance to explore the area’s villages. The rooms include Open Spa service and an indoor jacuzzi, paired with original contemporary art. The casino showcases its glamorous gambling experience: guests have the option to reserve a game table for their private group, complete with a bar and catering service. Players can also choose from over 300 gambling machines and a variety of table games. On the Cala d’Hort archipelago, visitors can submerge themselves in scuba gear and marvel at the crystal clear waters and diverse aquatic life.

A beautiful place filled with beautiful people. We don’t want to leave either, but there’s other resorts out there just as wonderful as this one, we promise! Come back next time to find out where we’ll land.

 

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