Blackjack is one of the most fun games in the casino. The pace of the game is fast enough so there’s always action. At the same time, the pace is slow enough for idle chatter between new and old friends. The social part of blackjack is a major part of the appeal of the game for many recreational gamblers.
This friendly atmosphere can also promote poor blackjack play. Sadly, the majority of recreational blackjack players don’t know basic strategy. The friendly advice you hear isn’t always accurate. That doesn’t other players from offering advice based on years of playing the game.
If you’re reading this blog post you’re probably a step ahead of the average blackjack player. Congrats! There are so many myths and untruths that told during blackjack games that it’s difficult to avoid. Just play your own game using the correct strategy and you’ll have a fun time more often than not.
Blackjack players aren’t offering bad advice to be jerks. Sometimes they hear myths so often that they start to believe them. Since I don’t play blackjack very often I like to practice basic strategy so I don’t get caught up in the imaginary strategy being passed around.
Blackjack is a game of math and there’s always a reason to make certain basic strategy plays. I also like to load up on some real facts and math to share when someone has ill-conceived advice.
Here are three myths I hear far too often at the blackjack table. It’s best to let these slide and just play your game. Over time other players moves won’t have much of an effect on you and vice versa. Anything can happen the short term but over time it all evens out.
“Assume the dealer has a 10 in the hole”
This isn’t a wise assumption. There are 16 cards (10, Jack, Queen, King) in each deck of 52 cards with a value of 10. Approximately 30% of the cards in a deck have a value of 10. This tale is wrong more often than it’s right.
Our selective memory might choose to remember when the dealer is hiding a card with a value of 10. The math will regress to the averages so if you see one dealer with a lot of 10’s in the hole, you’ll probably end up playing a shoe with the exact opposite.
“Why did you hit that soft 18?!”
The gasps and groans heard when hitting a soft 18 are fun. Basic strategy says that you should hit a soft 18 (Ace-7) against a dealer showing a 9 or 10. Over the past year, this has become one of my favorite hands to play.
I’m not a know it all but it’s nice to remind other players that basic strategy exists and that every move may not be intuitive. I look at this play as a teachable moment at the blackjack table.
“Why did you double right there?”
Basic strategy says to double against any dealer upcard that isn’t an Ace. Not all recreational blackjack players are aware of this and will frequently question the move. Instinctually this move may not make sense to everyone. However, it will pay off more often than it won’t over time. It’s also fun to double and win when other players are questioning your strategy.