Blackjack: Common Myths and Misconceptions

One of the primary points of appeal of blackjack is its simplicity.  Little to no knowledge or skill is required to have a fantastic time at the blackjack table.

Just as long as you understand the basics of the rules, that’s all you need. 

But when it comes to making the most of your blackjack experience, a few additional insights can go a long way. 

With casino games as popular as blackjack, widespread myths and misconceptions are inevitable. Millions of people play blackjack on a regular basis, leading to all manner of assumptions and misguided conclusions.

A few of which we’ll be taking a look at now, in this helpful introductory guide for blackjack newcomers:

1 – The Goal in Blackjack is to Hit 21

First up, under no circumstances is the primary aim when playing blackjack to 21.  Instead, your goal is to simply beat the dealer. Hitting 21 is the best way of making it happen, but is by no means necessary to walk away with a prize. 

When playing blackjack, it’s essential to take into account the house rules.  For example, most casinos impose a rule where the dealer must draw to either a hard or soft 17.  Where this is the case, taking chances to try and reach 21 could be completely unnecessary with most hands.  

Rather than focusing too much on the elusive 21, focus instead on beating the dealer.

2 – Blackjack Strategy Is Complicated

The reason blackjack strategy is not complicated is the fact that there’s only one blackjack strategy that actually works. And given the fact that it is far too complicated for the overwhelming majority of people to negotiate, there’s technically no workable strategy for the masses.

Card counting works, in the sense that it gives you a slight edge over the house.  Sadly, it’s not something most people can even come close to pulling off.  Away from card counting, all other blackjack strategies are similarly ineffective. There’s nothing you can do to influence the outcome, or predict which card will follow. Hence, it’s simply a case of hedging your bets accordingly, and making sensible moves in accordance with the cards on the table.

This is really the only blackjack strategy you can count on, and isn’t particularly difficult.

3 – It’s You Against the Dealer 

When playing blackjack against a dealer, it’s natural to assume their goal is to win. Which it is, at least in the sense that they have to follow the rules of the table. The dealer will be bound by a playbook of sorts, which outlines exactly which moves they are expected to make and when.  For this doesn’t mean that the dealer is doing everything they can to outwit you, or to part you with your money. 

In fact, it’s almost always the exact opposite.  Dealers want players to win, as it’s when players win big that they tip big. It is never, EVER in the best interests of the dealer to go out of their way to ensure players lose.  Disgruntled players who lose money at the tables aren’t in the habit of being particularly generous.  By contrast, do what you can to ensure the people at your table are successful and they’ll happily share their success with you. 

It’s not that the dealer can tell you exactly what to do to win, but they are most certainly not out to get you. 

4 – Consecutive Losses Pave the Way for Big Wins

Where the house edge is comparatively low, you can be lulled into thinking this particular myth is true.  In reality, it’s nothing of the sort.  This is what’s known as Gambler’s Fallacy – the assumption that a run of bad luck can only turn around eventually.

You take a seat at the table, you lose a dozen hands in a row and begin to lose your temper accordingly. Given the laws of probability, you instinctively believe you must be due a win, and the statistical likelihood of your losing streak continuing is minimal.  Unfortunately, this simply isn’t the case. 

With each and every hand, the house edge is the same and the odds are unchanged.  Nothing that happened before has any bearing on the subsequent outcome, irrespective of the length of your losing streak.

5 – The House Edge is Always Low When Playing Blackjack

Speaking of which, blackjack to Italy has a comparatively low house edge, making it a popular choice.  But this does not necessarily mean that blackjack always has a low house edge you can count on.

Different variations of blackjack bring different odds and rules into the mix. The house edge with a typical game of blackjack can be as low as 0.5%, but can also be significantly higher elsewhere. In addition, the moves you make while playing blackjack also have a major impact on the house edge. 

Outside bets play right into the hands of the house – as does making things up as you go along with no real forethought.  There’s nothing you can do to alter the house edge, but you can at least play strategically so as to keep it as low as possible. 

6 – Card Counting Generates Huge Profits Fast

Last but not least, the allure of card counting is easy to understand. It’s a practice which can and sometimes does earn those who can get away with it the saint sums of money. It’s also been portrayed as a recipe for overnight fame and fortune in popular culture for generations.

Sadly, card counting in the real world isn’t nearly as glamorous.  For one thing, the house edge you gain by mastering the art of card counting falls somewhere between 0.5% and 1.5%.  Which subsequently means you would have to wager a lot of money and play a lot of blackjack, in order to take home a profit. 

Plus, when your edge is only in the realms of 0.5%, there’s still almost a 50/50 chance of losing.  If you thought card counting guaranteed generous profits with every trip to the blackjack table, think again!

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