Facts About Blackjack
Firstly, the majority may suppose they understand all about blackjack already. It’s faithful to say that some of them are right, however several of them could be shocked by some of the things they don’t know.
In this post, I would be listing down 21 stunning facts regarding blackjack. If you knew all about them before reading this post, congratulations you’re already a blackjack expert.
Blackjack is one of the best game in the casino
To begin with, you can see that blackjack offers more mental stimulation than most games, this is because you must make decisions about how to play your hands. Eventually, when you get good at making the right decisions, you’ll keep the house edge below almost any other game in the casino.
Furthermore, the house edge represents how much of an advantage the casino has over you. Games like slot machines might have a house edge of almost 10%, roulette has a house edge of 5.26% and the best bets at the craps table have an edge of 1.41%. However, if you learn how to play blackjack properly, you’ll face a game with a house edge of less than 1%.
The casino makes more money on blackjack than the house edge that you always hear stated
Many people know that blackjack has a house edge that is between 0.5% and 1%. However, if you look at the publicly available statistics for how much money people gamble on blackjack in a casino and compare it with how much money is lost at blackjack then you’ll see that the actual winnings are closer to 4% or 5%.
That’s because most of the players at the blackjack tables keep making bad choices repeatedly. Memorize basic strategy and follow it, and you’ll do better than most of the other players who are inflating the casino’s winnings.
Some blackjack games are WAY improved than others
Besides, the rules for blackjack games vary from casino to casino and from table to table within a casino. Some of these rules differences have a minor effect on the math behind the game, but some of them make a huge impact.
Many casinos offer blackjack as a “natural” payment off at 6 to 5 instead of 3 to 2. This innocent-seeming change adds 1.39% to the casino’s edge.
A natural is a 2-card hand totaling 21. It’s also called a blackjack, and it’s highly important. A 6 to 5 payout on such a hand means that someone betting $100 will win $120 if he gets natural but in a standard game, the 3 to 2 payoff on a $100 bet would result in $150 in winnings.
Card counting is completely legal
As you can see, the casinos would love for you to believe that it’s against the law to count cards in blackjack but that’s not just the case. Think about it, how could it be illegal to think carefully about the game you’re playing? That would just be crazy.
However, if you use some type of external device to help you with this process, you’re cheating, and that’s illegal. However, just simply counting cards, in and of itself, isn’t illegal anywhere I know of. Casinos will and do typically ban customers if they suspect them for counting cards, that doesn’t mean it’s illegal. It just means that the casino is afraid of you winning.
Basic strategy is easy to memorize
Furthermore, you might think that it’s too much trouble or too hard to learn the correct play in every blackjack situation. But the strategy is a lot easier to memorize than most people think. If you utilize a color-coded chart, and you’re a visual learner, you’ll learn basic strategy in no time.
On the other hand, if you learn differently, you can find plenty of posts on this site and others explaining blackjack strategy as a series of paragraphs with rules for how to play each total.
You can’t get a house edge by just using the correct basic strategy
I always laugh at Clark Griswold in Vegas Vacation when he’s explaining to his son that just by playing with a basic strategy you can get an edge over the casino. That’s not true, with a perfect strategy you can reduce the house edge in blackjack to the lowest possible number. But the house still has an edge, usually, you need another tactic ON TOP OF basic strategy to get a mathematical edge over the casino.
There are alternative ways to get an edge at blackjack than card counting
Also, most people who think of professional blackjack players think of card counters. However, card counting is not the only strategy people use to get a mathematical edge over the casino.
For example, shuffle tracking is another advantage technique commonly used by blackjack pros. Hole carding is one of the other advantage technique that helps players get an edge over the casino when playing 21. Some advantage gamblers perhaps have strategies that haven’t been revealed to the general public yet.
What the other players do doesn’t affect your odds of winning
This a common myth, people think that when another blackjack player at the table makes a mistake, like hitting when he should have stood, he messed things up for the entire table.
When such player hits and gets a 10 that would have busted the dealer, it’s easy to fall prey to this fallacy. The reality is that one player’s mistakes have no effect on your edge in blackjack. It just doesn’t make a difference mathematically.
Blackjack is the famous popular table game in the casino
Roulette was formerly the #1 earner in the casino. Although, craps, in the end, caught up with roulette and overtook it.
During the late 1960s and early 1970s, Edward Thorp and other advantage players went public with some of their tactics for getting an edge over the casino by counting cards. This stimulated interest in the game.
As most players didn’t develop the skill-set necessary to win at blackjack later. The casinos’ paranoia was probably unnecessary. Identically, at any rate, blackjack is still more popular than any other table game in the casino, even though it’s a distant 2nd to slots in terms of revenue generated.
But blackjack is still way less favored than slot machines.
Generally speaking, when I first started writing about casinos and gambling 10 or 15 years ago, the oft-quoted statistics was this :
Slot machines make up 65% or 70% of the casinos’ revenue. No doubt, I’ve read more recent materials that suggest it’s worst than that, though I’ve seen estimates that 80% of a casinos’ revenue is generated by the slot machines. Of course, I believe that statistics too.
The dealer doesn’t affect your odds of winning
Some people think that the dealer has control over whether you win or lose. But this isn’t true as a deck of cards is random. It’s unimaginable that a blackjack dealer would use card mechanic techniques to cheat players.
That’s not even necessary, dealers can, however, simply thwart card counters. The dealer gets to decide when and how to shuffle the deck. If the counters start shuffling the deck more often, she eliminates the edge that you might have gotten by counting.
Most blackjack dealers provide lousy strategy suggestions
One piece of blackjack strategy suggestions that you’ll hear consistently from nearly each blackjack dealer is that you simply ought to take insurance once it’s offered. In this case, that’s an example of lousy advice that the casino has instructed the dealer to give you. Insurance is a fool bet, and I’ll explain why in my next bullet point.
However, that’s not the only bad advice you’ll get from a blackjack dealer. Sure, some blackjack dealers know basic strategy, but not all of them do.
Insurance is a bad bet unless you’re counting cards
So, here’s how insurance works in blackjack:
If the dealer has an ace showing as her up card, you have got the choice to “take insurance”. This is a side bet that’s only allowed in this situation. The amounts on this side bet are specific, too- it must be half the size of your original bet.
Furthermore, insurance pays off at 2 to 1 if the dealer has a 10 in the hole. Since you’ll lose your original bet, the 2 to 1 payoff on insurance implies that you’ll hit during this scenario. However, insurance continues to be a negative expectation bet. There just aren’t enough 10s in the deck to make insurance a positive expectation wager in thins situation.
If you’re counting cards, though, you’ll understand once the deck features a more than usual proportion of 10s left in it. Sometimes insurance will be a +EV bet in that position, but that’s also a big proof to the casino that you’re counting cards.
Not all blackjack books provide smart advice
I love to go to printed books for advice on how to play casino games and I’ve read a lot of good ones:
- Sklansky Talks Blackjack which is written by David Sklansky
- The World’s Greatest Blackjack Book which is written by Lance Humble
- Play Blackjack like the Pros which is written by Kevin Blackwood
Likewise, not every book that gets published is worth the read. One example is John Patrick’s Blackjack. The author’s gambling advice is so bad that many people think he’s just a shill for the casinos. While the correct basic strategy for playing blackjack isn’t a new thing, you can find the right way to play the game in almost any good book on the topic, and basic strategy is out there on multitudinous websites too.
How’s it possible that a book like John Patrick’s blackjack has at least a dozen basic strategy inaccuracies?
Losing Streaks are far worse than you ever thought possible.
A lot of individuals suppose it’s next to impossible to lose 7 or 8 hands of blackjack in a row, the reality is long losing streaks (and long winning streaks) are both not only possible but likely. That’s part of why the casino can stay in business if people weren’t able to walk away as a winner, they wouldn’t play
So the game should have enough randomness to allow individuals the chance to hit long winning streaks, and any game with long winning streaks should even be random enough for long losing streaks too.
Most players at the table don’t know what they’re doing
Remember earlier how I quoted that blackjack is in effect a game with a 4% or 5% edge for the casino? Overall, that’s because most of the players at the table don’t know basic strategy, some player knows basic strategy but ignores it in favor of hunches.
Otherwise, if they knew what they were doing, the casinos’ hold percentage for blackjack would be a lot closer to the mathematical expectation.
Home blackjack can be surprisingly fun
In short, playing blackjack at home isn’t as common as it used to be but if you host a home poker game, you might give it a try to see what your poker buddies might think about it.
The rules for home blackjack games are completely different from what you’ll notice in the casino too. That’s because one of the players needs to take the role of the dealer (and banker). This changes the limits that can be played for.
One of the major differences between casino blackjack and home blackjack is that the dealer in a home game can decide how he’s going to play his hand. He doesn’t need to follow a casino’s instructions for how to play various totals like how a professional dealer would have to.
Your goal isn’t really to get close to 21 without going over.
First, your goal is to beat the dealer and many times, if the dealer has what looks to be a “stiff hand”, your best strategy is to stand on a hand that you would try to hit if you were solely focused on getting as you can to 21 without going over.
In those cases, your goal is to stand so that you don’t bust and you’re then hoping that the dealer will bust. While the correct play in every situation is determined by basic strategy.
Betting systems don’t work in blackjack
Moreover, some people try to use betting systems like the Martingale System in Blackjack but they don’t work.
In the Martingale System, you double your bet once a loss, and you continue to double the size of your bet till you finally see a win. With this in mind, the Martingale System underestimates the likelihood of a long losing streak also you’ll often need to make large bets with the hope of recovering your losses, and chasing your losses is always a bad idea.
Similarly, other betting systems involve raising or lowering your bets based on wins or losses on previous hands and their goals in the game. They wish to capitalize on a losing or winning streak.
It can’t be done, because you can’t predict a winning or a losing or when it begins or ends. Card counting, by the way, isn’t a gambling system. It’s an honest advantage strategy that takes advantage of the changing composition of the deck.
The Basic strategy changes based on the rule’s conditions in place
The most basic strategy decisions are the same ones from one game to another, but some of these decisions change based depending on the situation.
For example, the basic strategy for a game with a single deck is often slightly different from the basic strategy for a game being dealt with from 8 decks. Usually, you can find customizable basic strategy charts where you input the game conditions to get an accurate chart at any number of sites.
The cash that you win at blackjack is taxable income
Some people don’t realize this, but if you win money wagering, that’s considered taxable income. If you win enough cash, the casino is needed to report your winnings to the IRS.
The application of this is clear though if you can be taxed on your blackjack winnings, you can also count your losses as expenses. This is one of the reasons I always suggest gamblers keep careful records of their gambling activities.
As you can see, blackjack looks like it will continue to be the most popular table in American casinos and online casinos in Malaysia for a long time to come. This is for the best, as it’s an impressive game with a better chance for a player to win than most.
The trick is becoming a real professional at blackjack. If any of the facts in this post surprised you, don’t stress out about it, maybe you’re just not much of an expert as you thought you were.
Then again, if this was all familiar to you, you might have something to teach me, I’m ready to learn.
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