Gambling is a past time that is rife with different superstitions, rituals, and flat out myths. From the absurd, plausible, to the outright ludicrous – it is hard for one to differentiate from what is fact and what is well, complete and utter BS.
Blackjack arguably has the most myths that get spread about how to win blackjack, and walk away from the felt with a fat wad. The truth and secret is that it isn’t so much about winning all the hands, or even the majority in most cases. It is really all about avoiding or minimizing loss as much as possible while at the same time maxing out what you can win. In this article, we’re going to clarify many of the common misconceptions associated with blackjack, including the aim of the game, the betting systems, and the dealer’s role in the game.
Myth #1 – You need to be a mathematician to win Blackjack
While it certainly helps to know basic equations, you don’t really need much knowledge of math in order to win blackjack. It’s the actual rules behind the game which matter most, and honing a solid blackjack strategy will certainly give you the “upper hand” when playing for real money.
Myth #2 – There’s a low house edge which is always fixed
It’s 100% true that blackjack is one of the casino games with the lowest house edge. However, this doesn’t mean it’s fixed. If that were the case, casinos wouldn’t make any money because players would know it’s impossible to win. Saying that, the house edge can fluctuate based on your choice of strategy, how you play, as well as how many decks of cards you’re playing with.
Myth #3 – Dealer’s hole card is always a 10
Another misconception about blackjack is the dealer’s hole card. Players believe that the dealer always has a sneaky 10 just waiting to mess up your odds. Again, this is not the case. If you’re playing with a single deck, there are 16 out of those 52 cards which have a value of 10. This means there’s only a 31% chance that the dealer will have a 10 in the hole. 69% of the time, it will be a different card.
Myth #4 – Card Counting is illegal
We’re sure you’ve seen blockbusters like 21 and The Last Casino where the characters attempt to card count in blackjack games. Let us put your mind at rest by assuring that card counting is definitely not illegal. You’re using your brain to try and determine the outcomes, not a camera or card reader. The reason many think this is illegal is because casinos frown upon it (you probably would too if it naturally reduced your odds) but, card counting is a system which many seasoned and professional blackjack players use as part of their strategy. And it’s perfectly ok.
Myth #5 – Progressive betting maximizes your chances
Some players believe that if you increase your bets following a win, and decrease following a loss, you’ll automatically bring down the house edge and make a net profit. This it totally wrong, simply because winning blackjack hands are not dependent on the previous outcome, therefore having no effect on the house edge.
Myth #6 – The insurance bet is for losers
This one is actually kind of true. Because most of the time insurance bets rarely work in the favor of the player, and they usually end up breaking even or with less than they originally started with. Let’s say you place a $10 bet, and the dealer shows an Ace – the odds are already about 9:4 in your favor. By laying a $5 insurance bet at this point, you are relying on the dealer scoring a blackjack, and if he does – sure you’ll keep your $5 insurance bet, but you’ve still lost $10. On the contrary, if he doesn’t have a blackjack, you’ve lost $5 and have an opportunity to win back the $10 if your hand beats the dealers. In both scenarios, you’re essentially wagering against the dealer having a natural blackjack and you having a useless hand.
Myth #7 – The objective is to get 21
This is one of the most common myths about blackjack. If your hand exceeds 21, then yes, naturally you will lose because that is the benchmark for busting a hand. But, the actual objective of traditional blackjack is simply to beat whatever the dealer has. You could score 16 and still beat the dealer regularly! Just be wise about your bets and moves if you think the dealer could have a winning combo or is about to blow his hand.
Myth #8 – The dealer always wins
Obviously this is a lie, otherwise again, no one would ever bother to play the game, would they?! But what this myth revolves around is the topic of there being hot and cold dealers. Players are reluctant to play at a table where they know the dealer has been on a winning streak. This should never be your concern though, because the cards aren’t capable of keeping track of whether the house won the last few games or the player. If a dealer does happen to be riding the victory wave – it will be down to the natural, random pattern of the cards, or the player’s poor choice of moves.
Myth #9 – You can’t win blackjack unless you’re lucky
Considering many have won the game of blackjack by using a basic strategy, this should be enough to eradicate this pompous myth altogether. Of course, there is a bit of luck involved because it’s impossible to determine the outcome of the cards (unless you’re a master card counter), but once a card is dealt, it’s up to the player to then decide what they’ll do with their hand next – not Lady Luck!
Myth #10 – The next card will have a face
Our final blackjack misbelief is to do with the picture cards. Some players are under the impression that a face-value card such as a jack, queen or king, will be followed by another face card. This idea is quite laughable because the case is usually the complete opposite. The chances of seeing another face card after one has just been dealt are decreased because one of these cards has just been removed from the deck. So if you have a stiff hand, don’t rely on a face card appearing to give you a win – stick to a strategy instead!
We hope that we helped dispel a lot of the myths one hears when sitting at the felt. Remember, it’s all about making smart moves in blackjack, not relying on 1 card to come out all the time, or for your dealer to have an “off” day. Utilizing a good and solid strategy can make a real difference between leaving the table to go get something nice for yourself, and leaving to hit the pawnshop. If you want to become more accustomed to how blackjack works, you can practice the online version for free and for real money here at Slots of Vegas. Good luck!