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Watch Career Timeline | Michael K. Williams Breaks Down His Career, from ‘The Wire’ to ‘Lovecraft Country’ | Vanity Fair Video

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00:00

I don’t get to assimilate

00:02

into anything other than the black experience.

00:05

For me to be given the opportunity

00:09

to be a storyteller

00:11

and to tell narrative of people in my community

00:16

I wear that as a badge of honor and a huge responsibility.

00:20

And, I’m grateful for the gift of art.

00:26

I’m Michael Kenneth Williams.

00:27

And this is the timeline of my career.

00:32

We can offer a more.

00:35

What do you mean you can’t do that?

00:36

You’re my [beep] lawyer, right?

00:38

I got Shadow coming down there with some more cash,

00:41

I want you to fix it.

00:44

My way into Hollywood was through the music video world.

00:47

I actually started out as a background dancer

00:50

and shortly after I was attacked and,

00:52

and sliced in my face,

00:54

directors and photographers found me interesting looking.

00:58

And, before I knew it,

00:59

I was being asked to portray darker characters

01:05

Having had done a certain amount of videos in New York city.

01:08

Your Polaroid picture tends to litter

01:10

the various production companies around town.

01:12

Pac had gone to the office for whatever reasons.

01:17

And, he saw this picture,

01:19

and they were still casting the role of his little brother,

01:22

the character of High Top.

01:24

And he saw my picture and he was like, yo, he told Julian,

01:29

He looks thugged out enough to play my little brother.

01:33

I auditioned and I got the part.

01:34

Working with Pac on the set was crazy.

01:37

Although, I was older than him,

01:39

I was in complete awe of him.

01:41

And I found myself when he would come on the set,

01:44

I would just get quiet and just listen and watch him.

01:47

He was so fascinating.

01:48

One day the director kept calling him to set

01:51

and the shot was not quite ready.

01:54

He got a little annoyed.

01:55

He was like, you know, guys, listen,

01:57

when I come to set,

01:57

I come in characters.

01:58

So, when you call me,

02:01

I don’t want to sit around on set.

02:03

I’d rather be at my trailer.

02:05

That happened like one more again,

02:08

[laughing] He cursed everybody out on set

02:11

and said,I told you,

02:12

when you, when you, when you call me the set,

02:15

y’all better be ready.

02:17

And he stormed off set.

02:19

And I learned that day,

02:21

don’t come to the set to get ready,

02:25

What are you talking about?

02:28

I thought going to army will save me

02:30

look, I don’t wanna die.

02:35

When that film came around,

02:37

I was actually still a background dancer.

02:40

I remember being on the road.

02:41

I was in California getting ready to go on

02:43

to do our second show at this pavilion.

02:46

I was with a recording artist by the name of Omaya.

02:49

I just checked in with my manager at the time.

02:51

And I was like, you know, just see what was going on.

02:53

I was, my acting career was already on the way.

02:56

And, she freaked out.

02:58

She was like, where are you?

02:59

I say, I’m on the road,

03:02

She goes, well, I don’t know what you’re doing out there,

03:04

but you better have your butt back in New York city

03:08

on Monday by Monday morning.

03:09

And I was like, why?

03:11

She was like, Martin Scorsese wants to meet you.

03:14

So, I was like, Holy crap.

03:16

I went to the stage manager,

03:19

a music director actually,

03:21

a brother named Earl.

03:22

I asked him to spot me the money I needed to catch

03:27

the flight back for this audition.

03:29

I asked him to keep this between us

03:32

and I was going to tell

03:34

the boss that I had a family emergency.

03:37

And in my mind I wasn’t lying because,

03:40

had I lost this role,

03:42

it would have been a family emergency.

03:45

But, I remember being in the room with Marty

03:47

And, there were three feature roles

03:51

that anyone in my position

03:53

could have had auditioned for.

03:55

Two of them were good,

03:57

but, one of them was great.

03:58

I went in there and he,

03:59

they were all three different emotions in the same scene.

04:03

And, he asked me to play all three.

04:07

And just like that,

04:08

I went to three different emotions.

04:10

And the last one was of a man dying on the floor

04:14

on in Times Square.

04:16

And when I finished,

04:17

he looked at me and he says,

04:21

you’re a great actor.

04:22

He gets up and he walks out the room.

04:24

I swear to God, my t-shirt got black,

04:26

like soaking wet from sweat.

04:28

I was like, wait, hold up.

04:29

Did The Martin Scorsese just say that I was a great actor?

04:34

I hung my dancing shoes up after that one.

04:40

I swear, I won’t kill you.

04:43

This that kid I was telling you about man.

04:45

Needs to crash here.

04:47

He can get you a Glock 9.

04:49

Welcome to the Bolton holiday Inn.

04:52

When I got the role on the Sopranos on HBO,

04:55

I felt like I had arrived.

04:59

all of the little extra parts or the featured extra parts

05:03

they were paying off now.

05:04

You know, the role on Sopranos.

05:06

It meant a lot to me because,

05:09

I was a huge fan of James Gandolfini and Edie Falco,

05:13

the rest of the family over there.

05:15

But, it was also apparent that not a lot of people of color

05:20

got to be on the Sopranos.

05:22

you ended up floating with the fishes, right?

05:25

So, the fact that they had asked me to come on that show

05:28

and tell this narrative

05:31

and not just be a pawn that got killed off.

05:34

I got to portray what a good father looks like

05:36

to raising a daughter in the projects.

05:41

Like, you know, just that alone,

05:42

that, that exists was,

05:44

was monumental to have the opportunity to tell that

05:47

narrative on the show like the Sopranos.

05:51

You’ll be safe here, bro.

05:54

[Man] [dog barking] Somebody

05:56

come on, lets go. Eeyoo.

06:00

When Omar Davon little came into my life,

06:02

I was in an extremely dark place.

06:07

borrowing money from my family to pay my rent

06:10

911 had come and gone

06:14

I remember I was sitting down in my living room

06:18

with my cousin, aka Sean Price.

06:20

And we were, you know,

06:21

smoking weed, drinking beer.

06:25

but muted and play music.

06:27

And we would be playing space or a game of chess.

06:30

And here comes my episode of the Sopranos

06:34

whoa, wait a minute.

06:36

There’s something wrong with this picture.

06:38

I’m looking at myself on television,

06:41

but I’m sitting here.

06:43

You know, it kinda like really not being productive

06:47

with this, this gift,

06:48

with this opportunity.

06:49

And, I went back to my mom and I said,

06:52

I think I need to give show business one more shot.

06:54

And, so I put out this package.

06:57

Then I got a new headshot,

06:59

They were doing this thing called reels.

07:00

I had to create a reel

07:02

and I sent out this package,

07:04

thinking about the second week in January,

07:06

I would be getting,

07:07

the phones would be ringing off the hook,

07:08

that you know, Michael K. Williams is back.

07:10

A kid, with the guy with the scar,

07:13

And, that wasn’t happening either.

07:16

And I sunk into a very,

07:19

Really bad depression.

07:20

I was in my apartment and I get a phone call,

07:23

my mother, she says,

07:25

come downstairs, you’ve got a fax.

07:28

And that fax was from Alexa Fogel.

07:31

It was the role of Omar,

07:36

and I read one time for that character.

07:40

She sent the tapes in,

07:42

to David Simon and Nina Noble

07:46

next thing I knew I was being called to report to Baltimore

07:51

During the process of,

07:52

of making The Wire,

07:54

You know, I was just so happy to have a job.

07:56

I felt like my dreams were coming true.

07:58

And, I was really excited to be amongst

08:02

what I considered greatness of Wendell Pierce,

08:04

Sonja Sohn, Wood Harris,

08:07

like they was already doing it, you know.

08:10

You know, J.D. Williams,

08:11

is the people I was just watching on television.

08:14

So, I was happy and we had season one in the camp.

08:18

And I just knew that this was a black thing.

08:21

Like, you know, we made it.

08:22

We got a good black TV show

08:24

and we coming back next year.

08:27

And then here come David Simon

08:28

with his beautiful, crazy twisted mind.

08:31

And, he threw us into season two.

08:35

And, I remember going to him saying, you know,

08:38

so, so why is it that every time black people make

08:40

something hot, you take it.

08:41

And then you’re going to turn this into a white show.

08:43

what’s up with that?

08:45

And he looked at me and he chuckled and he says,

08:46

you know what, Michael?

08:48

He said, if we went right back to the projects

08:52

and to the corners in season two he said,

08:55

it would make your world seem extremely small.

08:59

trust me, I got, I got you.

09:02

And then we now know season three and four.

09:04

Five, came and he tied this whole world in.

09:07

But it was in season three

09:10

when I started to realize

09:13

that, oh, this is not about me.

09:17

it’s not about my career.

09:19

How much screen time I thought I should’ve gotten,

09:22

what I thought the world should,

09:24

how I thought the show should go.

09:24

It had nothing to do with me.

09:26

And in fact it had everything to do with it.

09:28

I was just a small part of something of something great.

09:31

Just great tapestry,

09:33

this great narrative of social issues that is wrong.

09:36

Things that are wrong in our country,

09:38

not just in the black community,

09:39

just not just the Baltimore story.

09:41

This is going on in every hood and every city

09:43

in every state around these United States.

09:45

And, The Wire was a love letter

09:51

Like a blueprint to show,

09:53

where we’re broken,

09:55

in hopes of fixing what is wrong.

09:58

You know, I started looking at the way people,

10:00

particularly in my community would come

10:03

and, it wasn’t just,

10:05

oh, that TV show was fly

10:07

or you on that dope TV show.

10:22

How many guns do you have?

10:28

When Boardwalk Empire came around

10:31

and I met Chalky White,

10:33

I was in South Africa filming a TV series for,

10:37

I believe NBC called The Philanthropist.

10:39

I was working with the likes of James Purefoy,

10:42

Neve Campbell, Jesse Martin,

10:46

and a whole slew of other people men.

10:47

We were having a great time filming down there,

10:51

the problem was for me,

10:53

I was probably having a little bit too much of a good time.

10:57

I think for those who know,

11:00

And, I remember saying to myself,

11:04

I think if this show gets picked up

11:06

and I have to keep coming back down here,

11:08

if I don’t change the way I’m living,

11:10

I will probably die down here.

11:12

The next week I get a call that this new TV show on HBO

11:17

called Boardwalk Empire is looking for me.

11:22

Martin Scorsese is one of the producers.

11:24

So, I’m like, nah, that’s it.

11:27

that’s you playing trick.

11:28

That’s that’s too good to be true, right?

11:30

So, I got the call and I said,

11:31

okay, yeah right, whatever.

11:33

I’m not going to get that.

11:34

I’m not even going to waste my time with that, right.

11:35

So, like a week or so passed,

11:37

my agent calls me back.

11:39

if you don’t at least put your name in the hat,

11:42

you know what I mean?

11:44

yeah, a closed mouth don’t get fed.

11:46

So I went, I got a camera.

11:51

yo, Neve, would you read these lines with me?

11:57

That’s how I got Boardwalk Empire.

12:01

Because I ain’t heard one peep but until now.

12:04

It’s an indie at best.

12:06

[chuckling] Yeah, that’s what they thought.

12:10

I hear you went to little Frankie for some money.

12:11

He wouldn’t loan it to you.

12:12

Booking that role was,

12:14

was real special to me for,

12:17

for a personal reason.

12:19

The opportunity to work with Mark Wahlberg.

12:22

Years ago when he was in the music business.

12:26

he was Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch.

12:29

He and I shared the same manager.

12:31

As I started to transcend into acting,

12:38

she worked at the management office

12:40

and start and would take on other acts under the umbrella.

12:44

She hired me to choreograph one of the acts,

12:47

you know, Mark was already out there

12:49

as a force to be reckoned with in Hollywood.

12:52

And I remember saying,

12:53

man, my acting career has really taken off.

12:56

I’m getting these extra parts on the regular basis.

13:00

I could see it in a couple of years.

13:02

I want to do a movie with Mark Wahlberg.

13:06

And she says, just take your time, Mike

13:08

You know like, you know.

13:10

Don’t brush your gasket just yet.

13:12

And, 10 years later,

13:14

here I am doing a movie with Mark Wahlberg.

13:17

It was confirmation of the power of belief.

13:20

And the power when you say something

13:22

and you work towards it.

13:23

You know, manifest.

13:25

No, the terms were unacceptable.

13:28

But you’re in to me

13:30

And I ain’t Fannie Mae.

13:31

Ain’t no bailouts..

13:35

Thought maybe you might have something to say,

13:38

sort of like welcome.

13:40

What kind of [beep] up name is Gertrude?

13:44

Go on to get yourself something to eat, baby.

13:46

Bessie, was also a monument for me to be alongside

13:51

as I prefer to her, Dana.

13:53

But the rest of the world knows her as Queen Latifa.

13:55

I’ve known Dana since she was 17 years old.

13:59

I remember when she first told me,

14:03

she sworn me to secrecy.

14:05

We were in my studio apartment,

14:07

again in my projects.

14:08

We were singing Prince, Adore.

14:11

And when it came time to the high notes,

14:13

I remember it sounding like two wounded dogs.

14:16

we started laughing and she looked at me.

14:18

She goes, yo, Mike don’t say nothing.

14:23

I’m about to get a record deal.

14:25

That was a summer of what?

14:28

So, to actually have that opportunity

14:30

to work with her on that level

14:34

But make no mistake.

14:35

I bust my ass for that audition.

14:38

she don’t play that hush I came.

14:40

They don’t play that.

14:41

Not even a little bit in Shelby.

14:43

I mean, I wanted this role so bad.

14:45

I remember on the third call back y’all,

14:48

I’ve known this girl for 20 years

14:50

and I had to go to three callbacks.

14:53

in the waiting room,

14:54

you know, I stuck to my basics.

14:56

I went in character.

14:58

You know, the clothing,

15:00

I’m in top coat with the hat

15:01

and you know, the hard bottoms.

15:03

That was the intent.

15:04

And that was the drive.

15:06

And that was the grind that I put towards obtaining

15:10

I needed to earn that for myself.

15:13

What the hell is wrong with you?

15:15

I know you got your side pieces,

15:17

but why you gotta rub them in my face?

15:26

Why the green wall?

15:28

Because orange means violent felon.

15:33

for a number of reasons.

15:38

we filmed in these,

15:39

amazingly built sets that really resembled prisons.

15:43

There wasn’t a lot of fanciness about the place.

15:48

the whole vibration,

15:52

That, that weighed on me.

15:54

And it was somewhere,

15:56

no, halfway through in production,

15:59

I realized that I am getting a glimpse

16:02

of what my nephew, Dominic DuPont,

16:05

who served 20 years of his young adult life incarcerated.

16:10

I started to get a glimpse of what his life

16:14

was like when he was behind bars.

16:17

That was a very frightening and difficult process,

16:24

There was definitely some moments that I,

16:30

What is reality and what is,

16:34

The emotional aspect of what that narrative

16:37

was waking up in me.

16:38

I wasn’t really prepared for it.

16:40

It woke up a personal traumas

16:43

and past experiences that were very difficult

16:46

to navigate through and the production of this.

16:50

thank God we had the art to,

16:52

to put it into [laughing].

16:54

I kinda of predisposes to judge in a way that’s,

16:57

not to your advantage.

16:59

[Preacher] Denying that baptism made

17:00

the slaves equal to whites. Excuse me sir.

17:03

That’s ma’am to you.

17:04

[Preacher] And just as child abuse passes

17:06

from one generation to the next.

17:08

So, does spiritual abuse.

17:10

I had real facts to pull from.

17:14

I had the man himself, Ken Jones

17:17

to actually converse with and talk to.

17:23

I consider him an American hero.

17:25

You talking about a dark skin,

17:28

man of color in the Navy,

17:31

The racism he must have faced,

17:33

having to hide his homosexuality

17:35

and the homophobia.

17:40

Having to come home,

17:41

surviving all of that,

17:43

and then having to fight his next war,

17:46

which was gay rights and HIV AIDS,

17:49

the spread of HIV AIDS.

17:51

And to look at him,

17:53

having had survived all of that.

17:56

He’s a pretty awesome dude

17:59

and someone that just reeks of ruggedness.

18:02

And to had the opportunity to tell his story,

18:08

Turning the oppressed into an oppressor,

18:11

the educated over the under educated.

18:14

Local barbecue at this spot, Fly Rise,

18:17

shown me a little southern hospitality.

18:19

So, we bought to get it in.

18:23

I get a message that Spike Jonze wants to see me.

18:25

And I was like, who say no to Spike Jonze, right?

18:29

That process was eyeopening for me.

18:32

I remember on the episode of The Lean,

18:38

And I asked the most generic question

18:40

that came from such an ignorant place.

18:43

I asked his brother,

18:44

I says, so who inspired you to join lean?

18:47

He says, excuse me, mother [beep] I started this.

18:51

And I was like, oh,oh.

18:52

And he took huge offense.

18:54

It’s like asking Berry Gordy.

18:56

So, who hired you at Motown?

18:58

You know, he kind of chin checked me.

18:59

You know, verbally.

19:00

And I learned something that day.

19:01

I says, you know what, Michael,

19:02

if this is going to work,

19:04

you have to let go of everything.

19:07

And remember that you are not the sharpest knife

19:10

And what happened was I stopped trying to act like

19:14

I knew what I was talking about.

19:15

And instead I started to connect.

19:18

I started to compare my life and my past with their stories.

19:22

And we started to have a dialogue as opposed to an

19:25

You know what I mean?

19:27

And that’s when the magic happened.

19:28

I just happened to bring my appetite.

19:31

So, how long is the mother [beep].

19:33

we fix everything with a broken heart.

19:37

I can’t see a damn thing.

19:39

Its not supposed to look like reasons.

19:41

Is that before or after you went in?

19:46

The thing about Hap & Leonard that really stuck out to me

19:51

The world that this writing lived in

19:53

was so unique and it was nothing like I’d ever done before.

19:57

And it was my old friend, James Purefoy.

20:00

It was an opportunity to show that a white man

20:03

and a black man can be complete equals

20:07

and can be brothers

20:11

a very similar human experience.

20:14

I knew at that point,

20:16

there was no other white man in Hollywood

20:19

that can take that journey with me better than James.

20:21

I didn’t have to get to know him.

20:23

A lot of the things that, that happened,

20:26

Leonard spoke about the difference in politics

20:30

the way they would argue.

20:32

James and I had that relationship already.

20:34

We talked like that already.

20:37

having that friendship,

20:39

having that relationship,

20:40

and we just brought that over into the,

20:42

into the character,

20:43

which made it that more dynamic.

20:47

So, what’s this plan that you has anyway.

20:49

I just don’t want to do it,

20:50

like they did in the sixties,

20:54

Got the sports section?

20:55

Yeah, you see that?

20:57

The Yankees released Gary Ward.

20:59

He’s a two time all star.

21:00

Yeah, just like you.

21:02

one of those I gotta have this moments.

21:08

The main reason was because,

21:11

I knew the story personally.

21:12

Born and bred in New York city in Brooklyn.

21:14

I remember when this was,

21:16

when this happened.

21:17

And, I also remember knowing that it could have easily

21:21

had been Central Park six.

21:24

Although I was older than them.

21:26

I was also living a very at risk life

21:29

in the streets in New York.

21:33

this is also a time where my personal past

21:37

and I guess for lack of a better words,

21:40

my reputation in the industry

21:42

was starting to catch up to me.

21:43

I met with Ava, we had a great lunch.

21:45

We had a great talk about the character.

21:48

So, after the meeting was over, you know,

21:51

I finished my burger.

21:52

I thought we was good.

21:53

She goes, no, no, I’m not done talking to you.

21:55

I’m like, well, what’s up.

21:56

She goes, so, so what’s up with you?

22:00

I’m like, what do you mean?

22:03

I took what’s up with you, man?

22:05

Hers is a bit of a loose cannon.

22:12

I knew exactly what she was talking about.

22:18

that I would lose if I lied to her.

22:21

That would hurt me if I did not come clean.

22:25

I remember leaving that meeting,

22:29

saying that if I get this opportunity,

22:32

I’m going to blow this [beep] out the water.

22:36

I’m going to be 110% present.

22:41

I’m going to relate to every living thing.

22:43

I don’t care if it’s a fly on that set,

22:46

I’m going to relate to it.

22:48

Ava renewed my vows,

22:51

with the reasons why I became an artist in the first place.

22:55

renewed my vows with why I became an artist

22:59

in the first place.

23:01

Nah, if he ain’t a Yankee,

23:02

nothing to root for.

23:04

What? I’m just saying.

23:07

What the hell are y’all doing here?

23:09

We’re here to save you.

23:11

I’ll save my damn self.

23:13

I didn’t need you all coming for me.

23:14

The world that Lovecraft country lives in is,

23:17

we are looking at the American experience

23:20

through this black family.

23:22

They’ve already survived the Tulsa massacre in 1921.

23:26

They then moved to Chicago,

23:28

the South side of Chicago,

23:30

which is within the self kind of like moving to a war zone.

23:34

And all of this is happening,

23:36

during Jim Crow America.

23:38

So, this is who they are when we meet them.

23:41

And, we follow them on their quest to find out who they are.

23:46

Who they are as a family.

23:48

What is their legacy?

23:49

What will they leave behind for their next generation?

23:52

And, they’re trying to mend as a family.

23:56

They’re trying to heal old wounds

23:59

and find ways to forgive each other,

24:02

all while dealing with this horrifying monster

24:07

that looms over them called racism.

24:11

I think this project is super timely

24:13

for the times that we find ourselves in right now.

24:17

I do believe what the late great John Lewis said,

24:20

which is although we have far to go,

24:24

we’ve come a long way.

24:25

I saw that evidence in the protests

24:29

for the murder of George Floyd.

24:31

The diversity that was in those streets

24:33

from white, black, male, female, young, old,

24:40

Everyone was in them streets chanting justice

24:45

that, that was nothing I definitely

24:47

had never seen before on that level.

24:49

What’s happening right now,

24:50

is we’re looking at ourselves.

24:53

Where, we’re being stripped down naked to see

24:56

exactly who we are as a nation.

24:58

And in that I’m reminded that, you know,

25:04

We’re still so young, you know.

25:08

with a very, very big noisy rattle,

25:12

but yet still a baby.

25:13

So, when we look at a black family today in regards

25:17

to how poverty and community,

25:20

you know, the breakdown of community,

25:22

how all these things are put into play,

25:24

we get glimpses of that in the,

25:27

in the narrative of Lovecraft country.

25:29

I think this is a brilliant time.

25:31

And, and for me as an artist,

25:34

what a great opportunity to have this piece of art,

25:36

to be a part of this piece of art making

25:38

that we can hold up as a mirror

25:41

for us to take a look

25:42

at ourselves as a nation.

25:43

I think it’s very timely.

25:45

[gentle music playing]

25:57

Well, I just want to say thank you to Vanity Fair.

26:00

And for everyone who was listening

26:03

the timeline of my career, so far.

Entertainment

The Advantages of Online Casino Welcome Bonuses

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When it comes to online gambling, the industry is thriving in 2020. Although casinos are banned in many countries, people still find ways to enjoy their favorite games of chance. However, considering the level of competition on the market, it may be difficult for a beginner to find a good online platform and take advantage of all offers. In this article, you will learn the benefits of casinos’ welcome bonuses.

What Is a Sign-Up Bonus?

As we have already established, the industry is growing rapidly and companies are desperately looking for new ways to attract customers. A welcome bonus is often used by online casinos to get new leads and players in the future. However, the best casino bonuses can be easily used to the player’s advantage. Here are the main reasons you should not neglect this offer.

  1. It saves your money

Quite obvious, right? Well, this is the main reason why you should always use welcome bonuses in online gambling: it is always better to not risk your own money. It is especially true for beginners. Since they have no experience, it is fairly common for beginners to lose their initial investment and be done with gambling for good. However, if you use your welcome bonus as a way of getting the basics skills, the chances of success will rise significantly.

  1. It allows you to try several games

Another common issue beginners face is a lack of understanding of which types of games they want to try: slots, roulette, baccarat, blackjack, etc. If you use your sign-up bonus, you will be able to play several games and choose the ones you like better. Moreover, you can take advantage of a welcome bonus on several online gambling platforms. That way you will try out even more options.

  1. It will make future gambling more profitable

Besides beneficial sign-up bonuses, good online casinos usually have great loyalty programs. For instance, the company may double up to five first deposits on the platform. If you invest 100 USD, you will get 200 USD to your account. More money — more games — more chances of winning.

Although a welcome bonus is a great way of upping your gambling game, there are a few things you should pay attention to. Firstly, a good bonus does not equal a good platform. Before choosing a casino, make sure that the company is legal and trustworthy. Since there are many scams right now, it is essential if you want to save your money. Moreover, check the available deposit/withdrawal methods and their terms.

We hope that this article has shown the true power of online casinos’ welcome bonuses and how you can use them to your own advantage. Follow our tips while choosing a platform and enjoy the best gambling experience.

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3 Key Mistakes to Avoid When Playing Blackjack

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Blackjack is the most popular casino game in the world. The card game, sometimes referred to as ‘21’, accounts for an average of 31 percent of all casino table traffic – this is consistent both online and in physical casinos. For reference, the second most popular is roulette (24%) followed by poker (21%).

It’s easy to understand blackjack’s popularity. It’s a simple game to grasp and offers players a mix of luck and skill: luck in the cards that are drawn, skill over how those cards are dealt and a player’s eventual hand. Compare that to roulette, which is based entirely on luck, and poker, which has a huge skill element to it.

However, while the beauty of blackjack is in its simplicity, there are also a number of complexities to the game, and as is the case with almost anything in life, you learn more from mistakes than successes.

With that in mind, here are three key mistakes to avoid when playing blackjack that can significantly increase your chances of winning, while limiting your losses.

Choosing the Wrong Table

Before a single card is drawn, being at the wrong table – whether live or online – is the first mistake to avoid.

First of all, each blackjack table will have different minimum bet requirements so avoid choosing one that is out of your budget. For instance, if you choose a table with a $100 minimum bet and your budget is $200, you might only play two hands.

Secondly, check the payout odds on the blackjack table. These are typically 6:5 and 3:2 and will affect how much gets paid out when you hit blackjack and land other bonus wins. Where possible, choose a 3:2 table as it pays out higher.

Thirdly, choose between a virtual and a live table. This is not so much a mistake to avoid but more comes down to personal preference. Virtual tables allow players to play against an automated computer, so you can play at your own pace, while live tables are usually quicker paced as human dealers are keen to move the game along.

When to Hit and Stand

As a general rule, most blackjack players know to hit when the hand is 12 and to stand when the hand equals 17. However, there are plenty of variables to consider that could influence when to hit and stand. Getting these right can really boost your chances of beating the house, while getting it wrong could prove costly.

One key move to implement is to always hit on a soft 17 – when the two cards are an ace and a six. This means that if you draw a 10 or picture card (jack, queen, king), then you convert your hand into a hard 17. It also gives greater flexibility if you draw a smaller value card as the ace can be used as a one.

While many players adopt a strict ‘never bust’ policy, meaning they always stand when their hand equals 12 or more, this can be ill-advised as it depends almost entirely on the dealer going bust.

Instead, analyze the value of your two cards compared to the dealer’s first card and weigh up the risk factor in drawing another card before the dealer draws their second. As a strict rule, if your first two cards equal 17 or more, then stand – anything else can be hit depending on the situation.

When to Split and Double

If you are playing in a blackjack tournament, either online or live, learning when to split and double can make all the difference to your chances of success. The same also applies to individual games of blackjack.

Click here to check the best tips on blackjack tournament strategies: https://extra.betamerica.com/casino-news/blackjack-tournaments-rules-strategy-and-where-to-find-them/

Splitting is when you split two cards when dealt the same value cards, so a pair of eights for example. Doubling is when you are given the option to double your bet after being dealt your initial two cards.

While it can be tempting to split and double at every opportunity to increase your winning, doing at the right time is the key.

It is not recommended to split when:

  • You are dealt two picture cards or two 10s
  • You are dealt two 9s
  • You are dealt two 5s
  • The dealer holds a 10 or picture card

It is best to split when:

  • You are dealt two 8s
  • You are dealt two aces
  • The dealer holds a 5 or 6 (as this is the highest probability of a bust)

Similar to knowing when to hit and stand, take a brief moment to assess the dealer’s drawn card compared to your own two cards and determine whether the probabilities are in your favour.

Likewise, knowing when to double down – when not to double down – can change the complexities of your blackjack game. A simple rule to know when to double is if your two cards equal 10 and the dealer’s card is between 2-9. Additionally, if you hold an ace, you can consider a double as these have the flexibility of playing as 11 or 1. But if the dealer’s card is an ace, ignore the double.

Conclusion

Blackjack may be a simple game but there are some important strategies to keep in mind next time you head to the virtual or live table. The game itself is still rooted in luck so there are never any guarantees to long-term success. However, by keeping these three important rules in mind, you can at least avoid making avoidable mistakes.

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Top 5 Entertainment Activities for College Students

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The life of college students is sometimes too complicated. They have to face tons of homework assignments that steal their time. Many students get stressed because of continuous learning. They seem to forget how to relax. If you’re a busy student, you should remember that you’re still young and shouldn’t waste this precious life stage. You can undertake some entertainment activities sometimes. Take your friends and organize funny games to unwind and let off some pressure. We asked writing experts from a professional essay service Smart Writing Service to share their ideas and provide you with top-5 entertainment activities for college students you may like. 

Who Are You?

Students, especially freshmen, don’t know each other perfectly. They may be taken by surprise when some of them tell something quite unexpected about their hobbies, preferences, and so on. If you want to know other students better, suggest playing a game called “Who Are You”.

Form at least three teams. If there are many folks, you can form more teams. Choose a speaker of the game. It may be even one of your teachers or professors. All groups will be given topics to discuss. The speaker is supposed to announce a new topic every few minutes. You may discuss and answer the following topics:

  • What is the greatest challenge you are facing?
  • What do you like or hate most about yourself?
  • What is your greatest value in life?
  • What emotions do you express easily?
  • What is the most valuable thing in friendship?
  • Who you want to become in five years?
  • What is your major objective for next year?
  • Is there something you want to improve about yourself?
  • What motto do you try to live by?
  • Where would you like to travel?
  • If you were to study abroad, what country would that be?

Students should write their answers on index cards. The speaker should gather the answers of every student and shuffle them. Afterward, he/she redistributes them randomly to students. Each person should guess whose card he/she is holding. Play this game after you spend some time together and already know at least something about one another.

Sentence Completion

Another fun activity is “Sentence Completion.” Most people like it because it’s commonly accompanied by laughter and good mood. It’s necessary to prepare a list of sentences. Those sentences should have a beginning, but with no end. Every student should finish the sentence he/she gets. Oftentimes, students give funny answers. At times, they are quite serious, and we can learn something important about other students. Here are several sentence beginnings you may choose:

  • Before I came to college, I was interested in…
  • When I was a child, I wanted to become…
  • The best moment I remember most about high school is…
  • My favorite pet is…
  • The things I value most are…
  • Five years from now I hope to be…
  • My greatest personality trait is…
  • My favorite subject at high school was…
  • If I could change one thing in the world, it would be…
  • My greatest fear is…
  • After I graduate from college, I…

The Reception Line

You may likewise try another entertaining activity for college students. It is called “The Reception Line.” Gather all the mates eager to participate. Divide yourselves into two groups. If you form more, it won’t fit the rules of the game. Each person talks to the person in front of him/her until he/she must move. The person at the end of one line goes to the end of the other line. This method makes it possible to meet new people. Thus, students will learn more about each other. You can make shifts every next topic or set a limit. For example, the pair should discuss 5 topics and afterward move to change partners. Here are some interesting topics to discuss:

  • Where would you like to travel?
  • What motto do you try to follow?
  • What is your favorite movie?
  • What music do you like?
  • What is your favorite hobby?
  • Why did you choose this college?
  • What do you like about college life the most?

Take Sides

You can likewise suggest a game, which offers only two options. It’s called “Take Sides.” Create a list of questions with two answers. Students should obligatorily choose one of them. Afterward, you may discuss the answers. Let everyone explain his/her choices. Thus, you’ll learn more about each other, and it will bring you closer. Here are several suggestions:

  • Watermelon or banana?
  • Sweat or bitter?
  • Short trips every weekend or a journey around the world for three months?
  • Partying or hiking?
  • Listen or speak?
  • Rock or pop?
  • Morning or night?
  • Superman or Batman?
  • Robocop or Terminator?
  • Harry Potter or the Lord of the Rings?
  • Los Angeles or New York?
  • Liberal or conservative?
  • American football or ice hockey?

My Most Embarrassing Moment

You can likewise tell each other about the most embarrassing moments. It’s important to be honest and don’t imagine a story that never took place. All the participants should agree on this term. Commonly, it is a very entertaining activity. Students tell funny stories they’ve been through. It commonly makes them closer.

These activities for college students are very simple to follow. They are really entertaining. Mind that we have mentioned only 5 of them. However, you can try a hundred activities more. Use our examples to have fun and relax. They may inspire you and your friends to look for other entertaining activities.

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