By nature, blackjack players love a challenge. So here’s a challenge for you. Open another browser (don’t leave this page, that would just be silly), go to Google and search the term ‘blackjack strategy’. If you’re results are anything like mine, you’ll find there are approximately 30,700,000 results.
Unfortunately, so many people divulging their opinions on what makes a good blackjack player is contributing to the vast number of misconceptions associated with the game.
Yes, there are some great blackjack strategists out there who are sharing their knowledge with the world, and should be commended for their efforts. But the sad fact is, the majority of them are just posting crap they know nothing about to increase their volume of visitors.
With that in mind, I’d like to share some of the most common misconceptions that blackjack players are erroneously taking hold of.
Misconceptions about Blackjack Books
Since Edward Thorpe authored his best-selling novel Beat the Dealer in 1962, blackjack guides have been published by the hundreds. I’m not saying you shouldn’t read them—you should!—but be selective in your purchases.
Blackjack books can be a phenomenal learning tool and should be employed by every serious player of the game. Reading an outdated guide, however, can be disastrous.
Take for example renowned blackjack writer Arnold Snyder. He’s published multiple books detailing how to win at winning blackjack, but the most famous among them is The Blackjack Formula (1980). The book is no longer in print, and will run you $90+ on Amazon for an old copy.
Should you buy it? Absolutely not!
Arnold himself called it “obsolete” material. “They’re not obsolete because they’re inaccurate,” said Snyder, “but because casino blackjack games have changed radically in the thirty-plus years since these books were written…”
Instead, serious players should be seeking out more current publications like Snyder’s ‘The Big Book of Blackjack’, or for online players, ‘How to Beat Internet Casino and Poker Rooms’.
History Does Not Repeat Itself
In the game of poker, players have been known to fall in love with specific hands, even if they’re not good ones. Doyle Brunson, for example, won two consecutive WSOP Championships (1976-77) with a measly hand of 10-2. Obviously, he’s loved the hand ever since. But every proper blackjack strategy is ruled by probabilities, not favorite hands.
Too many players get stuck on a past situation being profitable, and continually make mistakes in hopes that history will repeat itself. If you want consistent results, stick to your blackjack strategy chart, period.
Bad Bets: Insurance & Surrender
There are blackjack strategies that will tell you Insurance is a side bet worth making in the right situation. However, the only time a “right” situation will come along is when you have a solid count of the cards and can predict that a dealer blackjack is the likely outcome.
There’s a similar theory about surrendering to fold your hand and reclaim half your bet. Many blackjack players simply refuse to surrender, no matter what, because to surrender is a guaranteed loss. However, depending on the rules of the game and visible cards on the table, surrendering can be the most appropriate option. Again, stick to the strategy chart for the game you’re playing, and if it says to surrender the hand, swallow your pride and do it.