That Third Base Chair at the Blackjack Table

I don’t know how many times I’ve heard people at a blackjack table getting up in arms about how the person at third base plays their hand. They somehow always ruin the play for the rest of the table. If they hit they’re accused of taking the dealer’s bust card. If they stand then they’re accused of not taking the card that would have allowed the dealer to get a card that would make him bust.

It seems that no one thinks that third base plays blackjack right. …Unless of course other players win their hands. Then they seem to find no fault with how third base played.

In blackjack, there is no way to tell whether that card that third base has a chance of taking or passing on will help or hurt the dealer.

The truth is that we all like to blame others when things don’t go the way we want them to. We’re late for work—it’s the fault of the guy who drove too slowly in front of you. And really? It’s no one’s fault that you lost your blackjack hand. It’s just chance. So if you want to be mad, be mad at Lady Chance. Or Lady Luck if you like.

The other truth about third base in blackjack, in addition to the fact that we like to place blame, is that there is no way to tell if that card will bust the dealer or not. And there’re two reasons for that.

One, you have no idea what that card is. Let’s pretend that I’m going to bet \$100 you that the next card is not going to bust the dealer. And if it didn’t you would pay me \$100. Would you actually take that bet? No, I didn’t think so. When put that way you begin to realize that you have no idea what that card is and whether it would hurt the dealer or not.

Two, the dealer has this thing called a hole card. So even if you did know what the next card in the deck was, you still wouldn’t know whether it would hurt the dealer because you don’t know what his hole card is. And without knowing what his hand total is, you have no way of knowing whether the next card in the deck could bust the dealer.

The best thing that you can do in blackjack is to not blame or put pressure on whoever is sitting at third base. They don’t have the power to affect the dealer. If you lose your hand blame it on the cards you were dealt. In this way you won’t be putting negative feelings out on the top. Just remember that in blackjack third base can’t make or break the dealer.