The facts about blackjack – and the falsehoods

Blackjack is a game of enormous popularity that is one of the first things everyone thinks about when casinos come to mind. It’s almost laboratory-designed to be popular and prominent – the games are quick, the math is simple and the rules very brief. You can play it anywhere, as long as you have somewhere to sit and a pack of cards. And yet, it is often only partially understood, which leads to players not winning as often as they might. If you’re playing at one of the casinos on, then it is beneficial to know everything you can learn. That’s something this article will hopefully help with.

Just to be clear: the things you know about blackjack aren’t all false, and what you’ve heard about the game will have at least a grain of truth in it. But below, we want to disambiguate a few things which are considered “received wisdom” in the game of blackjack. Because knowing the facts at their most simple will ensure that you win more often, as it enables you to think more clearly about the game when you play it.

The “point” of blackjack is not to get as close to 21 as possible

If it were, then a hand of 17 would present a tough decision; there are four possible cards you could get which would get you closer to 21. But as often as not, 17 is where you should stay. Your actual priority is to beat the dealer, whatever hand they might have. If you keep making decisions with the intent of getting 21 or as close as possible, you’ll lose hands you could otherwise win. Put it this way – if you go bust, you’ll always lose. But you can win a hand with 16, so bear that in mind when deciding whether to hit or stand.

The dealer that keeps going bust is not a “friendly” dealer

When you’re playing in a brick and mortar casino, or an online live casino, you might come up against a dealer who keeps going bust and winning you money as a result. They haven’t taken a liking to you, and they aren’t bad at the game. They are following the strategy that is laid out for them to follow, which sometimes results in them going bust. Sometimes, that will happen on several hands in a row. Other times, it will be you who keeps busting out. That’s the way the cards are stacked – to win, you need to take a risk, and sometimes it won’t pay off.

You shouldn’t assume the dealer has a 10/Picture card in “the hole”

This is a tactical line repeated time and again in blackjack guides. When you have your cards, and you look at the dealer’s up card, a huge number of “experts” will tell you to assume the dealer has a ten as their “hidden” card, and play accordingly. In truth, only about 30% of the time will this be the case. There is a correct strategic way to play every possible combination of your hand/their up card, and cards detailing this strategy are freely available online and literally at the blackjack table in most casinos. Playing that way won’t guarantee you the win, but it will do so far more often than assuming the dealer is holding a 10.

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