There’s a wealth of information on the internet that’s claimed to help you excel at blackjack, from “win-win” tips from seasoned players to a kind of urban legend that, for various reasons, has become a truth to many. If you really want to become a good player, the first thing to do is to figure out what’s true and what’s not.
Myth #1: The goal of the game is to get as close to 21 as possible
The most common mistake beginners make. Yes, the number 21 and blackjack are synonymous. There was even a movie made about the game at one time called “Twenty-One.” But remember: your job isn’t to get as close to 21 as possible, your job is to beat the casino dealer!
To do this you need to score more points than the dealer or get him to go overtime. Why is this so important? Because it’s a fundamental rule of blackjack strategy. Trying to go all-in for 21 most of the time will lead to busting and ultimately ruin your pot. Remember that more often than not, 16 or 17 points will be enough to win.
Myth #2: Always think the dealer’s next card will be a 10
One of the most famous blackjack myths is to always think of the possibility that the dealer’s next card will be 10. Many people think of this as a kind of overreaction, since there are too many cards in the deck that bring 10 points (tens, jacks, queens and kings). If you follow that logic, then it turns out that if the dealer has a nine, for example, then the card he flips over will probably turn out to be a ten. Thus, the sum of his points would be 19.
Relying on this is a big mistake. In a deck of 52 cards, 16 cards have a value of 10. So the dealer only has a 31% chance of getting a ten, versus a 69% chance of getting a ten. Simple math! So it’s best to stick to a basic blackjack strategy that will tell you what to do based on your cards and the dealer’s open card.
Myth #3: Betting insurance can save you money.
Have you ever wondered when you should insure your bet? The correct answer is never! Remember, this is one of the worst things you can do when playing blackjack. Insurance is an extra bet that a player can make if the dealer’s first open card is an ace. If the dealer scores 21 points, the player loses his game bet, but he is paid an insurance of 2 to 1.
We’ve already mentioned that the dealer has a 31% chance of getting the next card a ten. So in most cases, betting insurance will be a waste of money, although it may look like an attractive proposition at first glance.
Myth #4: Pictures fall out one by one
Sounds silly, doesn’t it? Nevertheless, there are plenty of players who believe that one picture card (King, Queen, Jack) is sure to be followed by another. You don’t even need to prove anything here – the fallacy of this assumption is obvious!
Myth #5: Other players at the table can influence your play
Some people believe that if another player at the table makes bad decisions, they will disrupt the game and directly affect their strategy. This myth doesn’t stand up to criticism either. In fact, a bad player mathematically has no effect on the outcome, even in the short term. Yes, he might pick up a card that could be good for you, but it could also happen the other way around! So just ignore the other players at the table and focus on your own game.
Myth #6: Standing on a “soft” 18 (ace and seven)
Although 18 is a good hand, standing with it is not always the best decision. If the dealer has a weak hand (i.e., a three, four, five, or six), doubling the bet may pay off. Of course, it doesn’t guarantee a 100% win, but playing the dealer’s weak hand is one of the keys to a successful blackjack game.
Myth #7: Avoid busting at all costs
That may sound reasonable, but it’s unlikely to have a positive effect on your game. Such a strategy seems overly cautious and significantly reduces your chances of winning. Yes, the possibility of overcall with 12 in your hand is high, but if you don’t take a card in that situation, you’ll increase your casino advantage.
Myth #8: Results in blackjack are all about luck
Many gamblers believe that winning at blackjack is down to luck and that there’s nothing you can do to improve your chances. In fact, every decision you make at the table has a direct impact on the outcome. Of course, you’ll never be able to predict which card from the deck will appear next, but familiarizing yourself with basic game strategies based on mathematical principles will greatly help improve your results.