Even if you have never played Blackjack, or 21 as it is also known, in your life, you are bound to have heard certain stories about this popular casino game. It’s one that demands not just luck but also skills from its players.
There are many fallacies, misconceptions, and old wives’ tales about 21 that people simply take to be true. But if you really want to win at this game, you are going to have to be able to separate fact from fiction.
- After Several Losses, You Are Due a Win
Many Blackjack players believe that they are bound to win even after losing a long series of games, so they keep increasing their wagers. Each hand in this game has a 48% chance of winning if you do not factor in ties. This does not change. If you have lost five hands in a row, it does not mean that the sixth one will win.
Cards have no memory, so try never assuming this.
- Avoid Tables With Bad Players
This misconception centres on players believing that unskilled or bad fellows can cause them to lose. The truth is that even if someone has no real skill in Blackjack, their poor strategy will not assist the dealer in any way, nor will it affect the gaming session. Gameplay is utterly random, and outcomes cannot be predicted. Avoiding tables because someone doesn’t know what they’re doing is pointless.
- Card Counting is Illegal
Casinos love that so many Blackjack players believe that it’s illegal to count cards because it means that no one’s going to give it a shot! The truth is that this technique is not illegal. You can use it, just make sure no one figures out what you’re doing since it gives you such a great edge.
Card counting is actually not a bad idea when you’re playing at land-based casinos but it’s a technique that doesn’t work so well online. This is because the cards get shuffled before the start of each hand, so it becomes impossible to keep track of which high and low cards have already been played in the deck.
- The Dealer Always Has a 10 in the Hole
While many 21 players have been taught to assume that the dealer always has a 10-value card in the hole, this is not strictly true.
Only the 10, Jack, Queen, and King are worth 10 points in Blackjack, which makes for a total of 16 cards. Thus only 30% of the cards have a 10-value, with 70% non-10. So, it’s much more likely that the dealer’s hole card is one of the latter! Sticking to Basic Blackjack Strategy will tell you what to do in every conceivable game situation, so stick to these rules instead.
- The Dealer’s Winning Streak
This misconception centres on the one about hot and cold dealers. Many Blackjack players won’t join a table where the dealer is perceived as riding a winning streak, preferring to play against ones that lose. While you can definitely spot a winning or losing streak, you can’t predict when it will end. The cards don’t know how many hands the house or the player have won in the last hour!
No one can tell whether you’ll win or lose your next wager and what cards the dealer’s going to get. Past results have no effect on future outcomes.
- The House Edge Is Always Low for 21
While it’s true that land-based and online Blackjack has one of the lowest house edges of all the casino games, this is certainly not a fixed amount. How you play will have a huge impact on the advantage the house enjoys.
So, if you’re playing a game of 21 with favourable rules and using perfect strategy, it’s possible to reduce the house edge to just 0.5%. But if you’re playing a variation with a higher house advantage and don’t stick to what the strategy says you should do, this edge can sky-rocket. And not to your benefit.
- Insurance Bets are a Good Idea
When the dealer’s showing an Ace card, you’ll be asked if you want to take out an insurance, or even-money, bet, which will pay out at 2:1 if the dealer does go on to get a Blackjack.
In reality, the chances of this happening are pretty low, at 31%. This means that it’s 69% more likely that they won’t, so it’s recommended that you avoid even-money propositions. They increase the house edge and are far from profitable in the long run.
- The Objective of Blackjack
Most people believe that the main objective in a Blackjack game is to get a hand closest in value to 21 points, but this is not strictly true. Pursuing this aim will likely see you busting more often than not.
But if you switch your goal to simply beating the dealer, things will start looking up. Try to defeat the croupier by creating a hand higher in value than the one they’re holding or by forcing them to bust before you do.
- Progressive Betting Systems Work
Progressive betting systems revolve around the concept of adjusting the size of your bet according to whether or not your previous wager won or lost. Exactly how you do this depends on which system you’re using and whether the progression is a negative one or a positive one.
But the results of every Blackjack hand are utterly random, so it’s impossible to predict whether or not you’ll win or lose in the next round. This is why these systems are problematic and need to be carefully considered from all perspectives before being pursued.
- You Need to Be Good at Maths to Play 21
The rules for playing Blackjack are very easy to learn, acquiring a knowledge of basic strategy even more so. Understanding how to count cards is also quite simple. With a little dedicated practise, you’ll master it in no time!
Placing winning bets at the Blackjack table has very little to do with mathematics at all.