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Blackjack: True or false?

8 July 2017

Which of the following statements about blackjack are true, and which are false?

1. Blackjack is more or less the same from one casino to the next.

False. The playing rules are often different from one casino to the next, and even within the same casino. Some tables use single decks, others use from two up to eight decks of cards. In some games, the dealers must stand on soft 17; in others, they hit. Some games allow the players to surrender and to double down after pair splitting, and others do not. There are other rules, some which favor the casino more than the player and others vice versa. The point is that not all blackjack games are the same. Depending upon the number of decks of cards being used and the rules determines how much an edge the casino has.

2. It's possible to make a living playing blackjack. True or false?

True. But it's not easy. To do so you must learn the basic playing strategy and use card counting to vary your bets, and sometimes your playing strategy. Learning how to count accurately in a casino environment takes lots of practice. Then there is the issue of disguising the fact that you are counting. And finally, you've got to have enough bankroll to weather the negative swings that will occur over the short term.

3. The third base player can cause other players to lose if he makes a bad play. True or false?

False. Dumb plays by third base players have just as much chance of "helping" everyone as it does "hurting" everyone. While dumb plays can and usually do upset the smart players, it has no long-term effect on a player's expected outcome.

4. Never hit a 12 against a dealer's 2 or 3 up card because you will invariably draw a 10 or picture card and bust. True or false?

False. If you hit you will win 37% of the time and lose 63%. If you stand because you are afraid to bust you will win 35% of the time and lose 65%. It's much better to win 37% of the hands rather than 35% of them; therefore, even though a 12 is a lousy hand you'll win more and lose less in the long run when you hit.

5. I just lost five hands in a row, so I'm due to win. True or false?

False. The cards don't care that you lost the last five hands. The chance of winning the sixth hand is completely independent upon whether you won, lost or tied the previous five hands. Do not bet based on the misconception you are due to win.

6. The object of blackjack is to get as close as possible to 21. True or false?

False. The objective is to beat the dealer by either 1) having your hand total higher than the dealer's hand, or 2) not busting or going over 21 when the dealer busts.

7. You will win 50% of the hands at blackjack. True or false?

False. On average you will win 43%, lose 48% and tie 9%. If you discount ties, you will win on average 47% of your hands and lose 53%.

8. The casino has the edge in blackjack because players go first, and if they bust they automatically lose. True or false?

True. That's why basic strategy tells us to stand on small totals and not risk busting when the dealer shows a small card and a higher probability of busting.

9. You will be dealt a blackjack hand about once in every 30 hands. True or false?

False. It's once in about every 21 hands.

10. If you are dealt a blackjack hand and the dealer has an ace showing, always take even money. True or false?

False. You'll be giving away about 4% of your potential profits when you take even money vs. passing on it.

11. Always stand on all 17 and 18 hands no matter what the dealer shows. True or false?

False. If your hand is a soft 17 (containing an ace counted as 11) you should never stand. If you have a soft 18 you should only stand if the dealer shows a 2, 7 or 8.

12. I can overcome the casino's edge in blackjack by using a progressive betting system. True or false?

False. Progressive betting systems will not alter your long-term expectations in blackjack. What they will do is increase the swings in your fortunes one way or the other compared to flat betting over the short term.

14. You should always split any pairs. True or false?

False. You should only split pairs based upon the dealer's face card and never split a pair of 10s or 5s.

15. A basic strategy player will bust about 10% of the time. True or false?

False. A basic strategy player will bust about 17% on average. A player who uses a seat-of-the-pants playing strategy will often bust more than this.

16. The best way to learn basic strategy is practice with a deck of cards or use a software training program.

True. By dealing yourself hands and checking a strategy table to check that you make the right decision, you will learn the basic strategy in no time. A quicker way is with the aid of a software program that alerts players when they a playing mistake (one of the better programs is Blackjack Mentor).


Henry Tamburin, Ph.D. is the editor of the Blackjack Insider e-Newsletter (www.bjinsider.com) and host of smartgaming.com. Visit Henry's website at www.smartgaming.com.
Recent Articles
Best of Henry Tamburin
Henry Tamburin

Henry Tamburin is the author of the best-selling book, Blackjack: Take The Money and Run, editor of the Blackjack Insider e-Newsletter, and Lead Instructor for the Golden Touch Blackjack course. For a free 3-month subscription to his blackjack newsletter with full membership privileges, visit www.bjinsider.com/free. For details on the Golden Touch Blackjack course visit www.goldentouchblackjack.com or call 866/WIN-BJ21. For a free copy of his casino gambling catalog featuring over 50 products call 888/353-3234 or visit the Internet store at www.smartgaming.com.

Henry Tamburin Websites:

www.smartgaming.com

Books by Henry Tamburin:

> More Books By Henry Tamburin

Henry Tamburin
Henry Tamburin is the author of the best-selling book, Blackjack: Take The Money and Run, editor of the Blackjack Insider e-Newsletter, and Lead Instructor for the Golden Touch Blackjack course. For a free 3-month subscription to his blackjack newsletter with full membership privileges, visit www.bjinsider.com/free. For details on the Golden Touch Blackjack course visit www.goldentouchblackjack.com or call 866/WIN-BJ21. For a free copy of his casino gambling catalog featuring over 50 products call 888/353-3234 or visit the Internet store at www.smartgaming.com.

Henry Tamburin Websites:

www.smartgaming.com

Books by Henry Tamburin:

> More Books By Henry Tamburin