Blackjack Myths


Apr 2012

Ken Tucker | POSTED IN Blackjack | 1 COMMENT

Blackjack is a game of skill with a luck element. This luck element draws many myths that are not true. Some superstitious players get upset about certain situations. These are typically due to results oriented thinking. Players seem to always remember when a player did something wrong and they lost. Those players never remember when a card fell their way in the same situation. Here I will go over several myths that are wrong.

Players Not Using Basic Strategy Cost You Money

There is a basic strategy to blackjack. Not everyone adheres to it though. Players that stray from basic strategy are usually new to the game. Other times they just do not recall the correct play. Some players will get mad when a player hits when they should have stayed or stayed when they should have hit and the dealer wins the hand. This is the product of results oriented thinking. Over a million hands, what the player next to you did has no effect on your win or loss rate. The change of cards will help you win as many times as it will make you lose.

That Dealer is Unlucky

Some players actually believe that some dealers are luckier than others. A certain dealer always beats them and another dealer always deals that player blackjacks and 20’s. There is no such thing as a lucky dealer. The cards are shuffled in the same way and always cut before dealing. Over a million hands the dealer does not affect your win or loss rate. The cards will all even out in the end.

I’m Feeling Lucky

Sometimes a player will get a feeling about what card is coming next. If a player has not been counting the deck then this lucky feeling is meaningless. Always play using basic strategy if you are not counting the cards. Sometimes a card counter will use the line “I’m feeling lucky” while making a play that deviates from basic strategy, that is entirely different than a superstitious player using their gut feeling to make a play.

Players Sitting in Middle of a Shoe

Some casinos will have rules in their single or double deck games that state “No mid deck entry”. This means that a player cannot get dealt in after the first hand of a deck has been dealt. This is usually done to help the house so that advantage players cannot watch the game and jump in when the count gets favorable. Some players take it to mean that there is some disadvantage to seated players when someone jumps in the game in the middle of the deck or shoe. Unless there is a very favorable card count, a player joining the game mid deck will not affect you. The number of times a player sits on a good count will be equal to the number of times that they sit on a bad count. This will even out over time.

Single Deck Games Are the Best Blackjack Games

This was once true but for the most part it has become a myth. There are still a couple of good single deck blackjack games around but for the most part single deck blackjack is dead. These games usually pay 6-5 on blackjack which more than cancels out the very small advantage playing with one deck has.

Always Take Insurance

If taking insurance were a good bet, the house would not offer it. Some people think that they should always insure a bad hand because it makes it more likely that the dealer has a face card. Others think that they should always take even money when they have a blackjack. Some even think that if they get dealt 20 that they should insure their good hand. They are all wrong! The house advantage on insurance is 7.4%. Players should never take insurance.

Playing Like the Dealer

Some people think that if they play like the dealer they will increase their chances of winning. If the dealer hits 16 and stays on 17 then the player should play that way too in their opinion. The reason this does not work is because the house has the advantage because the player must act first. The dealer can win two ways. Either the player busts before they have to act, or the dealer outdraws them. To the player, they must survive the drawing round before they can move on to the dealer’s turn. By hitting all hands 16 and lower when basic strategy says otherwise a player will increase the house advantage by 5.5%.

We could go on and on about player’s myths in blackjack but these are the most common ones. Gamblers are superstitious by nature so sometimes it is hard to avoid thinking some of these myths are true. In the long term, ignore all of the outside elements of the game and just use basic strategy. None of the outside distractions affect your game in any way whatsoever.

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