A short visit to the player forums or a cursory perusal of many blackjack guides will leave you amazed at the amount of misguided information that is being disseminated by blackjack players and dealers alike.
Obviously these people really believe in what they are saying or they wouldn't take the time to publish it, but problem with it is that if you're new to blackjack you may not know any better and end up following this misinformation yourself, which along with the 3 common blackjack mistakes that players make could cost you.
Here we take a look at some of the more common pieces of information and beliefs that you might come across that aren't necessarily true.
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Believing that picture cards will always be followed by another picture card is a common belief amongst blackjack players and as a result you'll often find that a player will opt not to hit when holding a stiff hand if they see a picture card being dealt. Of course, this is a complete myth and when measured statistically the exact opposite is true ‐ because once you've seen a picture card being dealt, the odds of another one coming up decreases as there will be fewer left in the remaining deck.
This little nugget of misguided advice has no mathematical standing. In a standard 52 deck there are a total of sixteen cards with 10 values namely the four tens, Jacks, Queens and Kings in the deck. This leaves us with 36 playing cards with values other than 10 which means that only around 31% of the deck have a value of 10 and 69% do not. This is more than double the amount of non-ten cards than tens, so again the opposite is true and the dealer is more likely to have a non-ten card than the other way around.
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While this belief is not as widely held amongst online blackjack players due to the nature of the game, in land based casino blackjack games, you'll hear this one a lot. Many players believe that the third base player can negatively affect all players at a blackjack table and some even feel that the player occupying this spot should give up his/her hand for the benefit of the other players. Some players even avoid the third base spot for this reason.
The truth of the matter though is that that it doesn't really make a difference how any of the players at the table play their hands as it won't affect an individual's odds of winning or losing. That said, the result of the round can be affected by the third base player taking a card when he/she shouldn't, but his/her lack of game play skill can end up in everyone winning as well as losing. Ultimately your odds of winning or losing do not change.
In blackjack games that offer the insurance option, most players will insure a 20 value hand but never a lower one with say a total of eight for example. What they don't know however is that insuring higher value hands is worse than insuring lower value ones. This is due to the fact that when you play the insurance bet you are counting on the dealer having a ten in the hole for blackjack (see above) and effectively when you're holding two 10 value cards means that the odds of the dealer's hold card being a ten are lower than if you were holding a lower value hand. Insurance in blackjack is never a good bet but it's even worse when you've got a strong hand.
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Watch any blackjack game and you'll find players getting irritated when a new player joins the table mid-shoe. This is due to the fact that many players believe that the card order will be altered and this will work against them. Again, this just doesn't make sense at all as no one knows what the order of the cards is and a new player joining the table could affect your game positively as much as it could negatively.
Some players will advise you to increase your bets when you've won two or three consecutive hands in order to "cash in on your lucky streak". While this may seem like a good idea, if you're looking at the game from a purely mathematical standpoint, the result of the previous hands will have no bearing on the next one.
The chances of winning on any given hand in a game of blackjack averages around 42% regardless of how many hands you've previously won or lost for that matter. So pushing your luck may be a fun notion, but it has no effect on the game and won't make you win more over the long term ‐ in fact you're just risking your casino budget to the house advantage when doing so.
It is easy to follow the advice of your fellow players or even the dealer, and some of them may very well have good tips, but never do so blindly, always research what you've been told and do the math ‐ blackjack is a game that relies on it and it can never be wrong no matter what your emotions tell you.
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