Blackjack is a game of numbers, and there's no room for sentiments and false assumptions if you're on the hunt for a profit. Here our gamblers' 6 most hated hurdles to a good, clear blackjack strategy.
It's been said that the safest way to bet is to assume that the dealer has a 10 in the hole (i.e. the card that's face down is a 10 or face card). That's nonsense. There are 16 cards in a deck of 52 with a value of 10, which means a 10 or face card will appear once in every 3.25 cards dealt. Assuming it appears more regularly than that means adopting an unnecessarily risky strategy which actually increases the house edge.
Knowing how many cards are in a pack, and the odds of certain combinations appearing based on what has been dealt so far, is difficult. It's a brilliant skill, and it's one that casino's don't appreciate because it can really cut their edge. However, it is not illegal. If a player can count cards, it's safest to be discrete to avoid being kicked out by unscrupulous casinos, but they can't do anything more because it's not cheating - it's a skill.
Lots of beginners seem to think that because the dealer has a better chance of winning, the best strategy is to imitate them. In Blackjack, the dealer will usually follow house rules dictating that s/he must hit until s/he reaches 17 or more.
When players adopts this approach, they totally ignore the fact that the dealer still has better chances because s/he always goes second: so if the player busts, the dealer wins. And remember, a dealer cannot double or split, so following this strategy means throwing away a potential win with the right cards.
Hot streaks and cold streaks are fallacies. Dealers play to house rules. Winning or losing is down to the luck of the cards, and the strategy you play to try and reduce the house edge. Nothing more.
Let's say, for example, someone plays at a table with a rookie who keeps hitting on high numbers to try and get 21. The temptation is to think they're 'taking your cards'. That's a hypothetical situation, they could just as easily be teeing up the exact card a player needs. The only way a bad player can ruin a game is by breaking everyone's concentration, and learning to focus may be a better response to that situation.
Another broad-brush strategy, this overly conservative approach means never hitting on a hard 12 or more. This approach can at best reduce the house edge to just under 4% - and talented players who know the odds or, dare we say it, can count cards, can do even better. And there's nothing worse than wasted potential.
Develop a rational strategy for yourself by practising online. Top casinos like Coral Casino will let you practise for free before you stake real cash, although nothing can simulate the pressure of having your own money on the line.