Blackjack Myths

Here we expose many common myths that abound in blackjack. Some have circulated for a long time, while others have their roots in modern cinema. The ‘assume dealer 10’ strategy has even been recommended by some dealers in land-based casinos. I wonder why! Read about these blackjack myths and don’t fall for the bad advice of other players. Stick to basic strategy and you’ll be just fine.

Bad players ruin your game.
While ‘bad players’ at the table can be irritating, or cause lapses in your concentration, over the course of the game they have no impact on other players. While you will remember the times when they hit and prevented the dealer from busting, the opposite will happen just as frequently, resulting in more wins for the table. No one knows the exact order of cards to come out next so just put up and shut up.

The object of blackjack is to get as close to 21 without busting.
This is false. The real objective of blackjack is to beat the dealer. You can do this either by making a hard total greater than the dealer, or by standing on a lower total and hoping the dealer will bust.

Blackjack is a game of luck.
While luck may have a part in the game, in the long run experienced players can gain a small advantage over the house. Blackjack is one of only a handful of games where this is the case.

You need to be a maths whizz to play blackjack well.
While one of the most famous card counters Edward Thorp was a mathematics professor, there is really no truth to this myth at all. Blackjack is a simple game to learn and can be mastered with a little practice. Providing you are able to add small numbers together, you will be able to play blackjack well.

Card counters have a photographic memory.
This myth was probably fuelled by the film Rain Man. Most card counting strategies group cards into high, neutral and low value cards. The face values of individual cards do not matter. Providing you can add or subtract one from a total, you are an excellent candidate to learn card counting.

Playing like the dealer is a good strategy; the house knows the odds better than anyone after all!
False. Playing like this will give the house an additional 5.48% edge over you! This is because dealers cannot split, surrender or double down.

Play the ‘never bust’ defensive strategy.
Again, this is a very bad idea. By not hitting hard hands of 12 or more you are not going to bust before the dealer but do not maximise the ability to form a stronger hand. This strategy will add another 4% to the house edge.

Assume the dealer always has a ten as their hole card.
This is a commonly used ‘strategy’ because there are more ten value cards than any other in the deck. So horrible is this method that house edge rises to over 10%. Don’t play like this. Learn basic strategy and practice until you can use it flawlessly.

Insure a good hand when the dealer shows an ace.
Unless you are a proficient card counter and know correct play instinctively NEVER take insurance. If you have a good hand (comprising two tens), then the chances of the dealer also having a ten along with his ace are reduced. You will only ‘win’ the insurance bet if the dealer does in fact get blackjack.

You need a huge bankroll to be successful with blackjack.
This is not true. While a bigger bankroll will sustain play at higher limit tables, or more play at lower limit tables, a big bankroll is not always needed. If you have $200 to play with, this would just mean sticking to $2 or $5 tables rather than hitting $25 tables. Keeping your bets in proportion with your bankroll is an important money management aspect of the game.

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