If you hang out with other blackjack players long enough, sooner or later you are going to hear all kinds of advice and strategies that these other players claim work for them. Perhaps they got this advice from some pro behind Caesar's Palace. Maybe a fortune cookie gave them some helpful blackjack insight. The point is, there are a lot of stories circulating about hot to win at the blackjack tables. Most of these are what we call blackjack myths. Most of these blackjack myths are similar to urban legends. We really don't know how they got started but since they have been around for so long, we just take them as fact. Relying on blackjack myths is a sure-fire way to end up on the losing end of a blackjack session. If you are playing for free, that is one thing. If you are playing for real money, then you really can't afford to be risking your bankroll on a strategy that is not based on facts.
There are a lot of blackjack myths floating around out there so I have tried to collect some of the more widespread myths in order to debunk them. Go ahead and read the list below. Chances are you may see one that you thought was sound advice and have tried before.
There are some players whose strategy is to assume the dealer's hole card is a 10. This is extremely poor advice that many beginning players sometimes use and all it will do is deplete that fat bankroll you are carrying.
There may be four times as many 10s in a blackjack deck as any other card but there are still over twice as many other cards besides the 10. Statistically, since only 30% of all the cards in a deck are 10s, there is a 70% chance that he dealer will have some other card in the hole. Just remember, every time the dealer has an Ace up, the house offers you 2-to-1 odds that the 10 card isn't in the hole.
When a player is dealt a blackjack and the dealer's up card is an Ace, 95% of them will take the even money. Perhaps they think the risk is too great. However, statistically, a dealer will have a 10 in the hole 3 out of 10 times. This means that 7 out of 10 times, the dealer WON'T have a 10 in the hole.
The math is very simple on this one (even I can do it). If you win 1.5 bets 7 out of 10 times, you will come away a bigger winner than if you won 1 bet all 10 times. Taking even money on blackjack against a dealer's Ace is a mistake. Sometimes the risk is worth the reward.
This is a big misconception. Card counting will increase your chances of winning by giving you an additional edge over the house. You can make money from counting cards over a very long period of time. Card counters do experience losses in short runs and these losses can even last for some time. Card counters try to shoot for a target return and calculate the average number of hands of blackjack it would take to reach that target. In no way, though, will a player win every single hand. If that happened, casinos would no longer offer blackjack.
This is another example of a myth that beginning players usually fall for. Getting close to 21 is NOT the object of the game. The object of blackjack is to simply beat the dealer's hand. You don't have to get a blackjack. You really don't even have to get close. All you have to do is have a higher hand than the dealer. The best basic strategy is to stand depending on your hand and the dealer's up card. Many players lose a round because they hit when they should stand. They're mistakenly trying to get as close to 21 as possible instead of standing on a solid hand.
While nothing would be better than to blame other players for getting a bad hand in blackjack, realistically it will not affect your long term play. Yes, a bad play by another player can alter a couple of possible hands but only in the short term. One of the basic rules of being successful at blackjack is to think long term.
Insurance in blackjack is a sucker bet. If a player were to take insurance when they had a blackjack, they would give up 13% of their profit for each blackjack that they receive. In order to break even with insurance, a player would have to guess correctly 1 in 3 times. Those kind of odds simply won't benefit a player during long runs. An experienced card counter might be able to do it but generally it's a bad idea for most players.
This is so not true (hey, I am proof of that). Mathematical geniuses tend to get a lot of press (such as the MIT blackjack team) and 9 times out of 10 will do better at the game. But there are simple systems that a player can use that have a point counting system. All the player has to do is keep track of high cards and low cards and count by 1's, up to + or – 10. You don't have to memorize charts or have a photographic memory or anything like that.
Laws of probability say the eventually you are bound to win one or two hands but there is no guarantee. Despite blackjack being an even game, each hand that is played is independent from each other and do not affect the outcome of the next hand. Only over the long haul will you eventually end up winning about 48% of your games but when I say long haul, I am taking about hundreds (and sometimes thousands) of hours of playing time.