Which of the following statements about blackjack are true?
- You should always make an insurance bet or take your winnings right away if you have blackjack.
- Inexperienced players lower the chances of winning for other players.
- It is impossible to count cards for multideck versions of blackjack.
Surprise! All these statements are false. But if you ask gamblers these questions, most will tell you that they are correct. But how is that possible?
As soon as players lose in blackjack, they try to find someone or something as quickly as possible to which they could throw their failure. However, they do not consider that they have absolutely no idea about the basic strategy for blackjack, or that their losses are related only to the current situation in the game. It means that even very experienced players can, and will, lose, at least sometimes. So it’s much easier to blame it at the poor man sitting next to you.
If you want to win in blackjack, you must first find out what is real and what is just ordinary fiction. Otherwise, you will become a player who will always look for another cause for his losses.
Therefore, we decided to choose the 6 most common and most discussed situations that the general gaming public misunderstands.
Myth no. 1: Always ensure your blackjack or 20 against the dealer’s ace.
Reason: If the dealer ends up with natural blackjack, you as a player have the option to avoid losing with a blackjack insurance bet. So when you have 20 or blackjack, you can’t lose with the insurance. If you have 20 and the dealer blackjack, you stay at zero (you lose your bet but get your insurance back. When you have 21 (blackjack), you automatically win an even win if you insured the blackjack (or take a straight win if offered).
Truth: If you have 20, this is the worst situation for insurance. Why? Because you (usually) hold two cards with a value of 10. And it is these cards that the dealer needs to complete his natural blackjack. Remember, you will only win your insurance if the dealer gets ten and therefore has the blackjack.
Because you have just two 10’s in your hand, you reduce the dealer’s chance of getting 10 as well. Your 20 will most likely win. In this case, don’t make a bad bet with a good hand.
It is true that if you insure, you will never lose. In reality, however, you win a 1: 1 win or an even bet, which is the same thing. But if we look on this problem from a mathematical point of view, we find that if we don’t use an insurance bet, we will get a payout ratio of 1.04: 1, which is better than 1: 1.
Or we can say that with each insurance we lose 4% of our potential winnings in our blackjack. Also, if you know which cards remain in the deck (because of card counting), insurance is a stupid thing for you. Don’t do it!
Myth number 2: The player on the last seat is killing me.
Reason: The dealer shows his card with a value of 5 and all players, including you, will do exactly what they have and stand. The player on the third last place at the table has 16 and is considering whether to hit or stand. Eventually, he hits, the dealer gives him a ten-value card, and the player loses. The dealer gets 6 to his 15, reaches 21, and beats all players at the table.
Now you’d probably strangle a player, wouldn’t you? If this fool stood, as Basic Strategy dictates, the dealer would take the high card, bust, and you would all win. So don’t tell me that bad players don’t affect my results.
Truth: It is true that the game of low-levelled players affects your results and the results of others. But it is mathematically proven that such a game can also benefit you. In our example, the player should keep 16, and the dealer would get the 10 and bust. However, when a bad player meets the good, it does not affect long-term winnings.
If you lose to because of a bad player, you will be upset with him, but if his wrong decision helps you win, you will not thank him again. However, stupid decisions affect your psyche, and you are then more prone to wrong decisions. So get off the table and play somewhere else.
Myth # 3: I have to win now.
Reason: The dealer has won five consecutive games. Blackjack is a game where both sides have almost the same chance of winning, so I should win another game. I’ll bet more and get my money back. (It is the principle of Martingale Betting System, for example.)
Fact: The cards don’t know you’ve lost five games in a row. Your chances of winning are entirely independent of previous results. Yes, you are right, the number of games won should be somewhere around 48%, but in the long run. In a short game, such as a few hours, never bet that you will win now.
Myth number 4: The goal is to get as close as possible to 21.
Reason: Some authors and casino marketers are trying to simplify the goals of the game as much as possible.
Fact: The object of the game is to beat the dealer by:
- We have a total higher than the dealer
- Do not bust if the dealer has busted
These are the only two ways how to win in blackjack. So it’s not essential to get as close to 21 as possible. If playing this way, you’ll go bankrupt before the dealer deals a deck of cards.
Myth number 5: Never hit at 12 against the dealer’s 2 or 3, because you get ten and bust.
Reason: Players are far more likely to receive ten than a card of a different value if they have 12 against 2 or 3. Because they hope the dealer’s second card is 10, they will stand, and the dealer gets another 10. The dealer busts and players win.
Fact: Here are the winnings statistics for the hard 12 and 13 against dealer 2.
- If you hit, you win in 37%
- If you stand, you win in 35%
We agree, 12 is a really lousy hand against the dealer’s 2. So it doesn’t matter if we decide to stand or move, in both cases the casino will defeat us in the long run.
However, it is far better to win in 37%, and not just in 35% of cases. Perhaps we will all agree on that. The hitting is not better because it will make us more money, but because it will save us money.
Myth number 6: Always stand on the soft 18.
Reason: 18 is a very good hand. It’s an almost win so that we won’t deal with it anymore.
Fact: Yes, 18 is a good hand against the dealer’s 2 to 7. But against weak cards from 3 to 6, the Double option is far better. You are not doing this to improve your position, but you are putting more money into play in situations where the dealer is most likely to bust.