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Which of These 21 Blackjack Statements Are True?

Which of These 21 Blackjack Statements Are True?

OK, blackjack aficionados. Here’s your chance to find out how much you really know about the game of blackjack. Give yourself one point for every statement that you get right. Then subtract the number of wrong answers from the number of right answers for your final score.

The object of blackjack is to get the point total of your hand as close as possible to 21. 

False. The objective is to beat the dealer’s hand by either of two ways: Having your hand total higher than the dealer’s hand or not busting (i.e., going over 21) when the dealer busts. 

You will win 50% of the hands when you play blackjack.

False. On average, you will 43% of the hands, lose 48%, and tie 9%. If you discount ties, you will on average 47% of your hands and lose 53%.

The casino has the edge in blackjack because players act on their hand first, and if they bust, they automatically lose.

True. This “double bust” rule is what creates the casino’s inherent edge in the game. 

Clueless players on your table will cause you to lose.

False. How your fellow players decide to play their hands has no effect on your chances of winning or losing at blackjack in the long run. In fact, you could get the same long-term results playing on a table with six professional blackjack players as you would playing with six chimpanzees.

There is a mathematically optimal playing strategy for blackjack.

True. This strategy is known is the basic playing strategy and it shows you how best to play every hand dealt to you.

The most important card in blackjack is the dealer’s upcard.

True. That’s because the dealer’s upcard and the cards you hold in your hand determine how you should play your hand using the basic playing strategy.

It’s possible to make a living playing blackjack.

True. In fact, many professional blackjack players, from all over the world, gather annually at a secret location in Las Vegas (this event is known as the “Blackjack Ball).

A player who enters a game in the middle of a shoe will change the flow of the subsequent cards that will be dealt, causing you to lose. 

False. Changing the order of the cards by creating another hand when a player jumps into a game in mid-shoe can help players as much as hurt them.

You should always split a pair of 8s.

True. Splitting a pair of 8s to play out two hands, each starting with an 8, is always the better play than hitting or standing on 16, regardless of what the dealer’s upcard happens to be.

Card counting is illegal.

False. Using your brains when you play blackjack is not illegal; therefore, card counting is not “illegal.”

You will be dealt a blackjack hand about once in every 30 hands.

False. It’s once in about every 21 hands. 

Progressive betting systems don’t work.

True. Progressive betting systems will not alter your long-term expectations; however, what they do in the short-term is increase the swings in your bankroll one way or the other compared to betting the same on every hand.

A basic strategy player will bust about 12% of the time.

False. A basic strategy player will bust about 16% on average. A clueless player who uses a seat-of-the-pants playing strategy will often bust more often.

Bringing a strategy card with when you play blackjack is perfectly legal.

True. There is nothing illegal about using a strategy card when you play. However, most casinos (for security reasons) prefer that you not place the card on the table. Therefore, you should hold the card in your hand.

The dealer busts about 2 out of every 7 hands.

True. On average the dealer will bust about 28% of the time (or about 2 out of every 7 hands).

Always stand with soft 18.

False. Most players mistakenly believe 18 is good enough to beat the dealer. Actually it’s not. When you are dealt a soft 18, the best strategy is to double down if the dealer shows a 3 through 6 upcard, hit if the dealer shows a 9, 10 or ace, and stand against a dealer’s 2, 7 and 8. (Note: Depending on the mix of playing rules and number of decks of cards, the above strategy may be slightly different; consult the strategy charts in the Ultimate Blackjack Strategy Guide for details.)

A single-deck game in which a blackjack pays 6-5 is one of the worst blackjack games.

True. The house edge increases by 1.4% when a blackjack pays 6-5 instead of the traditional 3-2. Avoid playing all 6-5 blackjack games.

The house edge decreases slightly when a casino uses a continuous shuffling machine (or CSM).

True. With a CSM, the discards from each round are randomly shuffled with the remaining unplayed decks of cards. The reason that the house edge decreases slightly with a CSM is because on average more tens and aces are dealt compared to a normally shuffled shoe with a fixed shuffle point. More large-value cards favor the player, which slightly decreases the house edge. However, with a CSM, casinos can deal roughly 20% more hands per hour, which results in a higher expected theoretical loss for players. The latter more than compensates for the slightly lower house edge. Bottom line: Avoid playing on any table that uses a CSM.

Because blackjack side-bets have high-payoff odds, they are a good bet.

False. Most blackjack side bets (e.g., 21 + 3, Royal Match, Pair Square, and others) have high house edges (greater than 2%). An enticing high payoff on a side bet does not make it a good bet. Bottom line: Avoid making side bets. (Note: Some, however, can be beaten by card counting. See Ultimate Blackjack Strategy Guide for details.)

You should always hit a hard 16 when the dealer’s upcard is a 10.

False. If your 16 comprises three or more cards, you are slightly better off standing.

Blackjack is the best casino game to play.

True. By selecting a blackjack game that has a good mix of player-favorable rules and using the basic blackjack playing strategy, it’s possible to reduce the house edge to about half a percent (even less, rule dependent). By learning a simple card-counting system, you can eliminate the house edge completely and swing the odds in your favor.

If you scored 17 or less, I would suggest you bone-up on your blackjack by reading my Ultimate Blackjack Strategy Guide before risking any more money in a casino.





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