Blackjack is one of the most popular casino games played in South Africa and around the world. Most players have a decent understanding of how the game works, but there are many myths that mislead players. These misconceptions can stand in the way of you enjoying the game, so we thought it would be best to help by clearing up the 10 most common blackjack myths and mistakes.
There are more than the ten we’ve listed below, but we are focusing on what we consider as the common myths and mistakes. We’d love to hear which ones you have heard of too.
The Goal of Blackjack Is to Get Close to 21
When starting out playing real money blackjack games, it can be overwhelming especially if you are incidentally playing without knowing the real aim of the game.
This is the single biggest misconception about playing blackjack. More often than not, players think that the aim of blackjack is to get a hand value that is 21 or as close to it.
The real aim of blackjack is to beat the dealer’s hand without going over 21. The dealer follows a set of rules that determine whether the dealer will hit or stand, typically they draw until they receive a hard or soft-17.
If you are wondering whether it really makes much of a difference, it does. Because the dealer actions will respond to the player action first, players might hit when they really should stand because they think that they’re too far from 21.
Card Counting is Illegal
We can thank the movies and pop culture for this blackjack myth. In the eyes of the average Joe, card counting is considered illegal because throughout history, films and casinos have often associated it with red flags and getting in trouble.
Sure, if a casino determines that you are counting cards, then you will be asked to leave. This is because they don’t want you using your brain and mathematical prowess to leverage the system and run away with all their Rand.
But the truth is, counting cards in blackjack is not illegal. You might attract some unwanted attention from gaming staff, but there are methods to sneak under their radar.
Blackjack Players are Toxic
It’s commonly misunderstood that blackjack is a hard game for beginners to jump into. Not because of the difficulty, the game is incredibly beginner-friendly. The reason many players are put off by blackjack is that players at the table are perceived to be toxic — especially to newbies.
Sure, some players can be jerks, but that’s a combination of personality and alcohol.
This is more the exception not the rule. In our experience, the players you are likely to encounter throughout casinos in South Africa’s provinces are not toxic whatsoever.
If you do encounter someone who is ruining your experience, the best thing to do is walk away and find another table — you don’t need that type of energy in your life!
Blackjack Always has a Low House Edge
One of the benefits of playing blackjack is that players can reduce the house edge to a point where it can be lucrative. However, this requires optimal play and isn’t the easiest thing to do.
It is widely believed that blackjack always has a low edge, unfortunately, this isn’t true, and playing with optimal strategy takes significant skill and practice. Plus, it is easy to make mistakes that will hemorrhage your bankroll.
For players that don’t have the knowledge or skill under their belt, there are better casino games to play with a house edge that is suited to their experience.
You Need to Be a Genius to Count Cards
Counting cards in blackjack is widely considered something that geniuses do. This isn’t true. Counting cards can be as simple as observing play and using a basic addition and subtraction tally in your head.
Learn the skill and practice, practice, practice!
Always Prepare for a 10
Players often think that you must prepare for a 10-value card. They incorrectly think that the next card is going to be either:
Yes, it makes a little sense because it’s the most common value card in a standard 52 card deck (there are 16). However, when you break it down properly, the percentage isn’t anywhere what you might think in the first instance.
Your chance of drawing a 10-value card is 30.77% (16 divided by 52 is 0.3077). It’s still a third of the deck, but don’t go overboard and dictate your entire strategy.
Buying Insurance is Beneficial
The whole issue surrounding purchasing insurance is that it’s supposed to be helpful. In blackjack, it sounds like you’re covering yourself but the numbers just aren’t in favour of it being worthwhile.
If the dealer has an ace there are 16 cards in the deck that will create a blackjack. So a 30.77% chance, meaning you will lose that insurance bet 69.23% of the time.
You’ll Win After Consecutive Losing Hands
Typical gamblers fallacy. Players have a habit of falling into a trap that they are sure to win after suffering consecutive losing hands. It doesn’t work this way though, so increasing your bet after losing a couple won’t make any difference.
All hands are played separately from the last.
Avoid Dealers on Winning Streaks
A growing trend among blackjack players is to avoid a table where the dealer is on a winning streak. Don’t waste your time with this myth, it’s not true and has no effect on the gameplay.
In fact, the dealer doesn’t even get to choose how they play because they simply hit or stand depending on the soft and hard value of their hand.
Card Counting Gives Players the Edge
It’s not true that card counting will give the players the edge over the house. It is possible to lower the edge but the player will never become the favourite over the casino. It’s simply not possible, even with perfect play.
If you can do so properly, counting cards will allow players to bring the edge down to as low as 0.5%, this ain’t no walk in the park though.
Try to remember all these myths next time you sit down at the blackjack table. Stay cool, and manage your bankroll responsibly.