Blackjack is unlike any other game in a casino. For some reason, players are always willing to offer advice. There’s no other game where a new player can sit down at a table and receive help on the right moves to make.
The help usually comes from the right place of wanting to bring a new degenerate into the world of gambling. Unfortunately, most recreational gamblers don’t even know how correct basic strategy. They offer myths and incorrect information almost as often as they offer the right recommendations.
A few years ago I stopped offering advice to others unless asked after learning about the number one myth in blackjack. I used to be the kind of guy that would freak out whenever someone at the table made incorrect plays. I mellowed out once I learned that over time bad players won’t hurt my chances to win.
The wrong move might have a micro effect on a single hand but in my lifetime I’ll probably play hundreds of thousands of hands of blackjack. Getting bothered about a few hands in a million doesn’t make sense as it doesn’t affect the house edge over time. I’d rather focus on playing my hand correctly. That can be a challenge when there are adult beverages involved.
When I make a move that appears to be strange to most recreational players, I just blame my app. “The app taught me to always double on an 11.” That cuts the conversation short because everyone believes the mobile phone is correct. If they don’t trust the app, they say so and move on.
Here are some other myths you’ll hear at the blackjack table and should to avoid.
Assume The Dealer Has A 10 In The Hole
This is wrong much more often than it’s right. There are 16 cards (10, Jack, Queen, King) in each deck of 52 cards with a value of 10. This means that about 30% of the cards in a deck have a value of 10. More importantly, approximate 70% of the cards in a deck are not a 10. The dealer’s hole card may seem like it’s always 10 but mathematically, that shouldn’t be the case.
Card Counting Isn’t Legal
“Card counting isn’t illegal it’s frowned upon” is one of the funniest quotes from The Hangover for any blackjack player. It’s funny because it’s true. Casino operators don’t like card counters and may ask you to leave if you have this skill. However, this the skill of counting cards is not easy and is not cheating. Knowing the cards remaining in a deck helps lower the house edge for the casino but it isn’t illegal. Here are some tips if you want to get started counting cards.
I’m Due For A Win
No, you’re never due for a win. There’s a myth that players shouldn’t lose x hands in a row. This is more of the gambler’s fallacy than reality. Odds and house edges are based on millions of hands. In the short term there are hot and cold streaks. The worst blackjack streak I’ve ever had was in a New Jersey casino. I had enough chips for 12 hands. I only won one of those hands. My friends and I arrived at our dinner reservation a bit early after a friend exited the table a few hands later. These things happen, dinner was great, and the next session was much better. You’re never “due for a win” when playing blackjack.
Never Hit Soft 18
Earlier this year I outed one of my shortcomings in blackjack. I can be a bit timid when playing a soft 18. Basic strategy says that a player should hit Ace-7 when the dealer has a 9 or 10 showing. Every time I do this in Las Vegas friends and dealers ask “are you sure you want to do this?” The myth is that you should never hit a soft 18 but it isn’t true. Players will win more often by hitting a soft 18 against a 9 or 10 than staying on the hand. If someone questions you just tell em “the app said to do it” and move on.
Blackjack Has The Best Odds In The Casino
Blackjack can have among the best odds in a casino. Depending on where you play that might not be true. The best blackjack rules will allow a player to get the house edge down to about 0.5% with perfect basic strategy. Card counting could swing the house edge to the player. Unfortunately, the vast majority of players don’t know how to play perfect basic strategy and haven’t even thought about counting cards.
The house edge for blackjack can be higher than 2% with bad rules. You’ll still need to play perfect basic strategy to get that 2%+ house edge. Games like baccarat and craps involve no skill and offer a house edge below 2%. Pay attention to the rules of the game. If nothing else, search out at blackjack game that pays 3:2 on a natural blackjack for a smaller house edge.