There’s a reason blackjack is one of the most popular games on offer at the local casino. While the basic rules are easy to pick up, there’s almost no limit to the tactical nous that can be applied when you’re trying to take down the dealer. Nevertheless, there are still a few clichés you’ll hear being touted at the card table that could harm your potential for profit. Here are 4 of the biggest blackjack myths and why they are just that, myths:
It’s a fact that a new player being dealt in will alter the order of the cards set to come your way. It’s also true that a reckless decision from a new player – let’s say they decide to hit on 16 when the dealer has received a weak first card – can affect the outcome for everyone else. If the new player takes the dealer’s ‘bust card’ (the one that would have seen the house lose), it can be easy to make them a scapegoat. But mathematically speaking, poor choices by other players are just as likely to work in your favour. The only way a bad player can really effect you is by making you irritated and, therefore, irrational.
Some Blackjack game descriptions can lead you to the false assumption that making 21 is the be all and end all. The magic number is nothing more than an upper limit, and it’s better to put the idea of getting a Blackjack aside while you try to outsmart the dealer. If there’s a good chance of winning the hand on 17, don’t be tempted to risk your winnings in the hope of making 21.
Unsurprisingly, casinos are happy for people to think that card counting is against the law. After all, it’s one of the best strategies for winning big at Blackjack. But as long as you keep your maths to yourself (i.e. do all the counting in your head) there’s nothing to stop you from employing this strategy. It takes practice to keep track of every card dealt and quickly translate it into odds on your next decision, but a successful card counter can reduce the house edge from 2% to virtually zero.
Insurance bets are a commonly misunderstood aspect of Blackjack, so it doesn’t help that this myth is so widespread. An insurance bet is offered when the dealer draws an ace, and allows you to insure against the probability of a dealer Blackjack by betting up to half your original wager at odds of 2/1. In the case of the dealer not making 21, you’ll win the original bet but lose the insurance, while a dealer Blackjack means the insurance will make up for the loss of the original stake. This is often referred to as ‘taking even money’. The certainty of a profit comes at a price in the long run, however, since the odds of a dealer Blackjack are usually slightly longer than the 2/1 odds suggest. You might a suffer a few losses, but holding out for a bigger win with the original bet is mathematically more certain.