The 3 Most Wide-Spread Blackjack Myths
Human beings tend to be superstitious – that’s true even for those who claim they aren’t. We all display the tell-tale signs of а superstition, at least one that’s at the subconscious level. According to the uncertainty hypothesis “in superstitious people, uncertainty leads to a desire for control, which leads to an engagement in superstitious behavior”. Gambling where the player cannot control the outcome of a situation, is the perfect example. Consequently, it’s no wonder there are so many myths that have to do with gambling in general and blackjack in particular. And they are extremely convincing, even when they’re totally absurd. Let’s have a look at the top 3 myths and dispel them.
#1 Try to Get as Close to 21 as Possible
Although a hand that adds up to 21 is almost guaranteed to win – almost because if the dealer has a blackjack and you haven’t bought insurance, your 21 or even blackjack will not pay out – trying to always get closer to the coveted number will more likely get you to bust than to win. It’s all relative and you’re comparing your hand to that of the dealer. As you can see from the picture above you can win on a weak hand of 8, which basic strategy and common sense would advise you to always hit, because the dealer busts. Similarly, you could lose with a strong hand of 20 when the dealer gets lucky and pulls out cards that add up to 21. Unlikely, yet quite possible.
“At gambling, the deadly sin is to mistake bad play for bad luck.” Ian Fleming (Casino Royale, 1953)
#2 Other Players’ Actions Can Mess Up Your Game
You’ve played a perfect game but another player on the table has hit a 16 when the dealer’s up-card is a 5. Now the player’s bust but, more importantly, they’ve taken the 10-card intended for the dealer and now the house has won. As reasonable as that may sound, especially when you need someone to blame, that logic is completely wrong. The number of other players and their actions, no matter how stupid they might seem to you, have absolutely no effect on your cards. When you’re playing at a live dealer table, you’ll notice that the number of players and the number of hands they play vary from round to round. Don’t stress about it but rather focus on your game. Other players’ mistakes won’t cause you to lose but yours definitely will.
#3 Card Counting Isn’t for Everyone
Same players may like you to think that simply because it suits their agenda. The more people think card counting is illegal and not everyone can learn to do it, the less competition players who count cards have. In reality, there are different systems for counting cards – some are simpler and some are more complex. It’s a great advantage you can get over the house and I strongly urge you to explore it. To show you how easy it is, I’ve written a separate blog post on how to count cards. While you don’t need to be a maths genius to learn how to do it, you’ll have to dedicate time to practice if you want to be good at it. Online casinos are so much better for card counting than land-based ones and the perfect place is the live casino.
Basic Blackjack Strategy
Because one can’t learn to run before they’ve learnt to walk, you should start with two other things before attempting card counting. The first thing any blackjack player should do is become acquainted with the rules. Yeah, yeah, you know your aim is to get as close to 21 without going over it and that you should have a stronger hand than the dealer. But that’s not all. There are other characteristics of the particular game variation you’ve chosen you should pay attention to as well. How many decks are in the shoe? Will the dealer stand on soft 17? Are there any side bets available? Is surrender an option? As insignificant as these rules may seem to you, they make a whole lotta difference in the house edge and, respectively, in your chance of winning. Once you’re proficient in the basics of a game variation, you can upgrade your gaming further by using a strategy chart. Those are readily available online but don’t assume just any chart will do.
Make sure you find a strategy chart for your specific game variation taking into consideration the software developer as well as all the basic rules I have already mentioned, such as the number of decks and the rules for the dealer and the player. If you find one that fits your game of choice perfectly and follow it down to a T, you’ll be doing yourself a great favour. Here’s how to use a strategy card in 4 steps:
- Make sure you have the correct chart for the game you’re to play. For example, let’s say you’re playing =Playtech’s Blackjack UK.
- Look at your cards. Say, you have a face card and a 4. That means your hand’s value is 14.
- Look at the dealer’s card to decide whether to hit or stand. If their card is between 2 and 6, you should stand but if its 7 or up, you should hit.
- Repeat if needed, i.e. if your initial hand is of a small value, e.g. 7, and you draw a third weak card, e.g. 5, you’ll need to once again check if you should hit or stand.
By now, you have become aware that some myths are just that – myths – and you’ve got a roadmap for success at blackjack. i.e. you know what the best way of improving your game is. I’ve also shown you how to choose the right strategy chart and how to use it, step by step. So, what else is there to know? Well, though you can and you will find out all those things for yourself once you start playing regularly, here’s a list of some tips to cut down on your losses and up your winning chances.
- Use Aids – No One Will Know – One of the great advantages of online casinos is that nobody sees you or the charts, etc. aids, you use to help you win. If you’re playing an RNG game, you won’t be pressed for time but beware the live casino games because there you’ll have to act faster.
- Bet Behind – It’s another awesome opportunity that you get at casino sites. It means that you can enter the live casino and play as many rounds as you like without having to make a single decision. Leave choosing whether to hit or stand to the player you’re betting behind and accept their decision no matter if it brings you a win or a loss.
- Observe & Learn – While betting behind will require that you deposit first, observing other players at the live table and learning from their moves and their mistakes is completely free. Just log on to your player account and pay close attention. You won’t win any cash, though.
- Take Your Time – You’re a newbie and you want to memorise the basic strategy and practice it at your own speed? No problem, just start an RNG blackjack game and you can play it as slow as you like.
- Don’t Play Side Bets – I know – side bets are way too tempting and you do want that 25:1 payout badly – but side bets are very rare to pay out and they raise the house edge, which means they lower your chances of winning and you don’t want that.
- Practice – If you want to be good at something, anything, you must have a tonne of practice. You’ll need a lot of it at blackjack before you can comfortably start risking large sums of money.
- Have Fun – Don’t forget that gambling is for recreation. It’s supposed to put a smile on your face and show you a good time, not make you stressed out trying to make a fortune so you can retire and get even more stressed because you’re trying to make up for your losses and as a result lose even more money.