I’ve tried every casino game that was available over the past couple decades, and blackjack is the only game that I keep coming back to. I learned blackjack strategy a long time ago and I know a good set of rules when I see them.
Other than the games available in poker rooms, blackjack gives me the best chance to win. But this doesn’t mean that blackjack is a perfect game. Sadly, even though blackjack has many things going for it, you still are going to have a hard time winning.
Here’s a list of 7 facts about blackjack you need to know.
1 – Too Many 6 to 5 Tables
I remember when every blackjack table in the casino paid 3 to 2 for real money blackjack. This was just the way things were, and gamblers never even thought about a table that paid less.
But somewhere along the line casinos ran the numbers and saw how much more they could make if they only paid 6 to 5. The only thing the casinos needed to figure out was if gamblers would play on these tables.
The evidence speaks for itself. Casinos started offering blackjack tables that pay 6 to 5, and now they seem to be everywhere. Some gamblers are obviously playing at these tables. If blackjack players stopped playing at these tables, the casinos would replace the tables.
The only reason why I can imagine that a blackjack player would play at a 6 to 5 table is ignorance. These players must not know how bad this rule is.
Here’s a chart that shows how much you win for 6 to 5 and 3 to 2 based on how much you risk, and the difference.
6 to 5 Payout
3 to 2 Payout
As you can clearly see, every time you get a blackjack it costs you money if you only receive 6 to 5. This money is profit for the casino. And this is why playing 6 to 5 blackjack is a mistake.
2 – Insurance Isn’t What It Seems
You look down at your cards and see a queen and a king. This is a great blackjack hand and most of the time you’re going to win. But you look up and see that the dealer has an ace. This is the worst card you can see. If the dealer has a 10 or face card in the hole your 20 isn’t going to stand up.
The dealer starts with the player to his or her left and offers insurance. When the dealer offers you insurance you might think about taking it because at least you can break even if the dealer has a blackjack.
This is exactly what the casino wants you to think and do, but it’s the wrong play.
It’s true that if you take insurance and the dealer has a blackjack that you break even on the hand. But what happens when the dealer doesn’t have blackjack? You lose the insurance bet and still might lose your original bet.
Insurance isn’t about helping you break even. It’s just a sneaky way the casinos get you to risk more money.
3 – Luck Has Nothing to Do With Your Results
What does it take to win when you play blackjack? The belief of many gamblers is that you have to get lucky. But the truth is that luck has nothing to do with your results at the blackjack table.
What most gamblers think is luck is something called short term variance. And short term variance always evens out in the long run. Here’s an example to show what I mean.
You have a 6 and a 5 and double down. You receive a jack for a total of 21, the dealer ends up with 20, and you win. This might look like luck, but it’s a mathematical result.
If you played this exact hand 52 times, you’re going to receive a card worth 10 points 16 times. You’re going to receive an ace 4 times. And you’re going to receive each of the other cards, 2 to 9, 4 times each.
Luck doesn’t have anything to do with the result. The mathematical fact that you’re going to receive each possible card the same number of times in the long run is what dictates blackjack results.
If you take my advice and learn how the math works when you play blackjack it leads to strategy. Every time you make a decision when you’re playing a blackjack hand it either helps you or hurts you.
When you make the correct decision, it helps you win more or lose less in the long run. When you make the wrong decision it either makes you win less or lose more in the long run.
And every decision has only 1 correct play. When you learn what the correct play is and always make it, you’re using strategy to help you win.
Blackjack strategy isn’t easy, but you need to learn it. The easiest way to learn blackjack strategy is get a strategy chart. It already has all of the correct plays listed, so you don’t have to run all of the mathematical possibilities before making a playing decision.
5 – Counting Is Even Harder
Card counting is a good news bad news type of thing. On the good side, counting is a way to win more than you lose when you play blackjack. On the bad side, counting is hard. It’s even harder than learning how to use blackjack strategy.
This doesn’t mean that it’s impossible to learn how to count cards. In fact, if you play blackjack I suggest doing everything you can to learn how to be a counter. This is the only realistic way you can learn how to win.
You can learn how to count and practice enough to start doing it in 10 to 20 hours. But you need to plan to invest at least 100 hours to get good at it. This is a great deal of time, but it’s worth it in the long run.
6 – Online Counting Doesn’t Work
Finding blackjack games with good rules is easier to do online than in land based casinos. It’s also more convenient to play blackjack online or on a mobile device. But mobile and online blackjack has one big drawback.
You can’t use counting to beat mobile or online blackjack.
When you’re learning how to count cards and are practicing your skills, mobile and online blackjack is a great way to practice. Sign up for a free account and play free blackjack. Practice your count while you play.
But when it comes to real money online and mobile blackjack, the problem is that the cards are reset or shuffled after every hand. In a land based casino the cards are shuffled after a portion of the shoe has been played.
When the cards are reset after each hand, it eliminated the effectiveness of counting. You can practice counting in this situation, but you’re never going to get an edge at an online or mobile blackjack table.
7 – If You Win You Might Get Banned
Blackjack is about the only game in the casino you can play where you might get banned from the casino if you win. This isn’t really fair, but the casinos have the power to ban anybody they want.
Casinos understand that counters can beat them, so when the casino suspects that a gambler is counting they ban them from playing. While the casinos usually don’t ban gamblers that win if they aren’t counting, it’s possible that you can get kicked out even if you’re not counting.
I recommended learning how to count if you play blackjack, and I stand by this. But you also need to learn how to count without getting banned. This isn’t easy, but it’s never going to be easy to have a realistic shot at winning.
Blackjack is usually the best choice for gamblers in the casino. But there are still many things about blackjack that aren’t great. The 7 sad facts about blackjack listed in this article show why the game isn’t perfect.
You can do some things to help though. Don’t take insurance and don’t play on 6 to 5 tables are good places to start.
Learn how to use blackjack strategy, and then lean how to count cards. These things aren’t easy, but they will help you have a better chance to beat blackjack in the long run.
Michael Stevens has been researching and writing topics involving the gambling industry for well over a decade now and is considered an expert on all things casino and sports betting. Michael has been writing for GamblingSites.org since early 2016. ...
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