Common Blackjack Myths

There are few risk-based games that rival the popular casino game of blackjack in its ability to convince gamers that a magical strategy exists somewhere out there that is somehow capable of unlocking great riches.

While a number of top statisticians have successfully managed to beat the house on a consistent basis using various card counting techniques, the strategies developed by them require months of study, an excellent grasp of mathematics, and the ability to memorise long random card patterns.

Given that the average gambler is after quick riches and is therefore not inclined to spend months working towards financial rewards, it should come as no surprise that a wide variety of simpler, and infinitely less effective methods of breaking the bank, are subscribed to by the casual blackjack player.

Here are just a few of the most common blackjack strategy myths, and why they won’t work:

Try get as close to 21 as possible

Casinos will often tell you that the point of playing blackjack is to get as close to 21 as possible. In reality, trying to get as close to 21 as possible, is an infallible recipe for going broke. The true purpose of blackjack is to beat the dealer, either by beating the dealer’s hand or by allowing the dealer to bust. If you play to get as close to 21 as possible you’re effectively giving the dealer an additional chance to beat you by going bust.

Stay away from weak players

One of the most common blackjack myths is that weak players at a table can affect the outcome of a hand by drawing a card at the wrong time and thereby allowing the dealer to win while other players at the table lose or push. For example, a player might draw a face card on 16, thereby going bust and leaving the dealer to draw a 5 on his 16 to hit 21. While this makes the weak player look silly, the statistical reality is that the weak player could just have easily drawn the 5, allowing the dealer to bust.

Double your bets every time your hand loses

The thinking behind this strategy is basically that the more often you lose, the more likely you are to win eventually. Therefore, if you keep doubling your bet every time you lose, you’ll eventually win so much that you’ll win back all your losses and make a small profit. There are two problems with this theory. Firstly, the idea that your chances of winning increase the more you lose, is based on a fundamental failure to understand the laws of chance. In reality, you have an equal chance of winning or losing any blackjack hand, irrespective of what happened in the previous hand. Secondly, the doubling strategy would work in the long term, but only if your bankroll was incredibly large and the table had an infinite upward limit. If you started doubling after a $2 losing bet, the size of the doubled bet would grow exponentially, requiring you to stake over $100,000 to win back your money by the time you’d lost your 15th hand.

Change tables when on a losing streak

One of the most persistent blackjack myths is that the dealer can affect the run of play. For example: when a number of players are winning at a table and the dealer departs, a subsequent losing streak can make it appear as if the new dealer is somehow influencing events. The truth of the matter is that players are associating easily identifiable external events with random fluctuations in the flow of cards. No matter who may be dealing, their decisions are dictated entirely by the rules of blackjack. Most blackjack players would never associate a change in the run of cards with the dealer if the dealer remained unchanged – yet this happens all the time.

A new deck changes the run of cards

Apparently if one can’t blame the dealer, one can always blame the cards themselves. There’s a persistent belief amongst many blackjack players that a new deck of cards is somehow capable of positively influencing play. The logic behind this belief is rather hard to understand, particularly as all decks, be they new or old, are shuffled by either the dealer or an automatic shuffling machine.

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