Debunking Blackjack Myths | LeoVegas

Unveiling the Illusions: Debunking Blackjack Myths

Blackjack is a card game with plenty of myths surrounding it. Many players blame their losing streaks on various factors rather than focusing on their blackjack strategy – or lack thereof. To be a high-level blackjack player, you’ll need to separate fact from fiction. Once you do, you will be winning hands more often.

It is time to debunk blackjack myths and improve your chances of winning the next hand.

The Origins of Blackjack Myths

The exact birthplace and date of blackjack are up for debate, but it is widely believed the game started in France in the late 1600s and early 1700s.

The game evolved over the centuries, becoming more and more popular. It was initially played by the elite members of French society. In fact, Napoleon was known as a blackjack player. The French colonised different parts of the world and took blackjack with them. The game was known as Vingt-et-Un or 21.

When Las Vegas legalised gambling in 1931, the casinos made blackjack one of their staple games. Today, it is claimed blackjack is the most popular casino table game in the world. Its popularity is high in land-based casinos and live casinos online.

Throughout the game’s history, myths grew. Many of the myths and misconceptions were created by players losing hands. As the game grew and moved to new parts of the world, many players would spread these myths, causing new players to learn them and accept them as fact.

Even the best blackjack players will experience a losing streak, just as a bad blackjack player will win a few hands.

Myth #1: Card Counting Guarantees Constant Wins

Modern movies have informed audiences that card counting is illegal in casinos. This is not true and card counters won’t be thrown out of a casino. Films have also told audiences that card counting always works. This is also not true. While it can be effective, card counting provides some limitations. You always need to think strategically when playing blackjack. This is a game of thinking. The problem with card counting is it takes a lot of concentration to work. Therefore, you may lose concentration and make a mistake. It takes discipline not to be distracted. Casinos can thwart card counting by using shuffling machines or having their croupiers shuffle the cards at random times. Card counting is not foolproof and doesn’t always guarantee wins.

Myth #2: You Can't Win Against the House

House has an edge of around 2% in blackjack. The house edge is the advantage the casino has for making profits off of games. Some strategies limit the house edge in blackjack. One way to improve your chances of winning is to study blackjack charts. Learning how to count cards is another way to lower the house’s edge. Composition strategies are another way to limit the house’s edge.

Myth #3: The "Hot" and "Cold" Dealer Effect

Like players, a deal can go through hot and cold streaks. A hot dealer seems to win every hand and consistently outplays the players at the table. Meanwhile, a cold dealer busts nearly every hand, giving the players at the table wins. Many players will gravitate toward a cold dealer, believing they will win hands and money.

The truth is, even a dealer goes on a losing streak, just as dealers hit winning streaks. The cards do not know who won the previous hand, the dealer or the player. The dealer may have lost the first three hands, but that doesn’t mean they won’t win the fourth, fifth, or sixth hand. It is a waste of time to seek out a table with a cold dealer. Streaks happen in blackjack.

Myth #4: Believing in Superstitions Can Improve Your Luck

There are many superstitions blackjack players have. Some players will carry a lucky charm, others will sit in the same seat at the table, and a few will not yell out the card they need to win blackjack. It is said to be bad luck to ask for “an ace from space” or a “jack from the pack”. Superstitions play a major psychological role. Some players rely more on superstition than strategy. Unfortunately, a few wins can reinforce a player’s superstitions. Relying on superstitions rather than strategy is a recipe for disaster.

Myth #5: Blackjack Requires Extraordinary Mathematical Skills

Once again, films have told the public that the only people that have real success at blackjack are people with high-level math skills. This is not true. Blackjack hands can be won by anyone if they develop skill and discipline. High-levels of math are not needed, but practice is. Players also need to have strong decision-making skills.

Myth #6: Online Blackjack is Rigged

Licensed online casinos will be checked for their fairness by gaming authorities. These checks will ensure the games are fair for all players. Unfortunately, when some players lose playing online blackjack, they accuse the online casino of being rigged. Online casinos are regularly audited and the games are tested to prevent the house from always winning. Internet casinos use random number generation in their games. In some ways, RNG ensures the games are fairer than the games in a land-based casino. Players can go on winning streaks and losing streaks playing online. It is the same as playing in a live casino.

Myth #7: The Martingale Betting System is Foolproof

The Martingale Betting System is a negative-progression method of betting. The system works by doubling your bet after each loss. The idea is that you will eventually win and by doubling your bets, you will have higher payouts. The problem with this method is that you are never guaranteed to win a hand of blackjack. Moreover, doubling your bet after each loss can deplete your bankroll quickly. Progressive betting strategies can work, but they can also fail. You can lose all your money quickly, without ever winning a hand.

Myth #8: Always Taking Insurance is a Good Idea

Players can avoid losing money on their good hand by insuring it even if the dealer gets 21. Casinos will encourage blackjack players to take out insurance on their good hands. This is oftentimes a win-win situation for the casino. You are less likely to need insurance on a good hand. Insurance can turn a good bet into a poor bet. The casinos will provide insurance as a side bet if the dealer’s face-up card is an ace. If your hand is 20, then the dealer would need to turn over a 10-value card. This won’t be easy. Insurance can become costly and prevent you from winning the maximum amount of profits available.

Myth #9: Mimicking the Dealer's Actions is Optimal

Mimicking the dealer is a bad idea for any player. You need to establish your own strategy to win the game. A dealer will use a strategy that helps the casino, which has a house edge. Players will act on their hands before the dealer. This provides an advantage to the casino. Copying the dealer throws the advantage into the casino’s favour. A player mimicking the dealer can go through their bankroll quickly. The dealer will hit and stand at specific times, which benefits the casino’s desire to lose less and win more. Casinos do not care about your short-term wins, because they know they can win it back later.

Myth #10: You Must Be a Risk-Taker to Succeed in Blackjack

Taking risks in blackjack can result in you losing your entire bankroll in a matter of seconds. You need to manage your risks when playing. Discipline is vital to long-term blackjack success. One of the conservative approaches is to use the Reverse Martingale System. In this method, you double your bet after every win, anticipating the next hand will win too. With each loss, you go back to the original bet and build up once more. Another conservative system is to set an amount to win during a blackjack session. Once you hit the figure, end your session. This can be a slow process but a rewarding one.

Myth #11: Card Shuffle Machines Can Be Exploited

Casinos are using card shuffling machines more and more. A card shuffling machine can deter card counting, as the random shuffling makes it difficult for players to follow cards. Some casinos will have their dealers shuffle cards at random times to also prevent players from following the deck. The machines shuffle the cards so quickly, it is impossible to follow them. Players cannot manipulate the shuffling machines or predict the cards coming out next in the deck.

Myth #12: You Can't Win Without a Lucky Charm

You are bound to see a few blackjack players holding or wearing a lucky charm while blackjack at a casino. Lucky charms are important to people due to the psychological effect they provide. A person may feel an object is lucky and it mentally helps them play blackjack. If a player wins while holding or wearing their lucky charm, then their belief in the item becomes greater. Some players will focus more on their lucky charms than on learning the strategies of blackjack. While a quick win can provide some short-term success, lucky charms do not provide long-term wins. The only way to have long-term blackjack success is to have a strategy and stick with it.

Myth #13: The Dealer Always Has a 10 in the Hole

Blackjack features more ranked cards than other table games. Players are taught to assume the dealer has a 10 in the hole. Therefore, players should play accordingly. In a 52 deck of cards, 16 have a value of 10. The dealer will have a 10 in the hole just 31% of the time. Assuming the dealer has a 10 in the hole will affect your decision-making. You shouldn’t let the belief that the dealer has a 10 in the hole change your usual playing strategy. You can get caught between two minds.

Myth #14: Frequent Table Changes Improve Your Chances

Some players will leave a table after a few losses, believing their luck will change by moving. The table doesn’t change your luck and there is a good chance that the same results will occur at another table if you lack a good strategy. The table should have no impact on wins or losses. What could affect the amount of money you win or lose is a table’s bet minimum. Some tables will have a low minimum and some will have high minimums. For example, a table with a $10 minimum could see you blow through your bankroll in an hour. If you make 100 bets in that hour, you are wagering $1,000. The table minimum can influence your bankroll, but routinely changing tables shouldn’t improve wins and losses.

Myth #15: Progressive Betting Systems are Foolproof

Books and websites try to teach blackjack players that progressive betting systems will work in all situations, but this isn’t always the case. There is an assumption that progressive systems will make the most of winning streaks and limit losses during losing streaks. The simple truth is that based on the math, progressive betting systems do not give you an advantage over the house. Indeed, you can blow through your bankroll more quickly when using a progressive betting system.

Myth #16: Blackjack is Purely a Game of Luck

Many players believe blackjack is a game of luck like playing the lottery or winning a scratch-off ticket. Blackjack is a game of skill and strategy. Like all casino games, there is some form of luck, but there isn’t as much as most people think. You need to make decisions on the hands dealt by the dealer. You must think quickly about whether to hit or stay. A player with strong decision-making skills will have an edge over the casino. Skill is the key area that separates the pro players from the casual players.

Myth #17: The More Players at the Table, the Worse Your Odds

The odds of winning a hand of blackjack do not change if more players are at the table. Blackjack depends on one thing and that is a player’s strategy.

All blackjack tables have eight decks of cards featuring 52 cards each. More players at a table can make it more difficult for you to count cards. Your concentration levels need to be high with more players around.

Regardless of how many people are at the table, you should play a low number of hands per hour. The more hands you play, the more likely the casino will win. If you win a few hands, don’t rush to play the next. Whether you are alone at the blackjack table or with three additional players, your odds of winning won’t change.

Learn more about blackjack in our blog articles: