Blackjack FAQ

April 7, 2014 Posted in Casino Games by No Comments

There’s always something new to learn in blackjack. The game is complicated and that’s where much of the appeal comes from. It just wouldn’t be the same if blackjack was as simple as slots or casino war. It’s supposed to be complicated.

So in other words, don’t feel bad if you feel like you’re always asking questions. The odds are good that every question you ask about blackjack has been asked by someone before you. Again, don’t feel bad. Repeat questions are expected in a game that attracts a million new players every year.

Here are a few frequently asked questions related to blackjack.

1. Why do some casinos not allow me to enter games in the middle of a shoe?

There are a couple of reasons for this rule. First, casinos don’t want people standing around counting cards and then jumping in with big bets when the deck is rich in Aces and Faces. Not only is this bad for the casino, but it’s annoying for the other players.

A second reason is that some blackjack players get annoyed when players come and go in the middle of a shoe. Some of these people need to focus on the game and some are just overly superstitious. In any case, casinos do what they can do accommodate their patrons.

2. Can bad players hurt the odds of good players?

No. This is the most annoying blackjack myth of them all. Bad players cannot screw up the game for all the other players at the table.

The only time you know if a bad player has helped or hurt you is after the fact, when it doesn’t matter. Before the player makes a bad play, it is just as likely that he will help you as it is that he will hurt you.

You probably remember all the times the idiot at third base draws the one card that would have busted the dealer, but you forget all the times that same idiot draws the one card that would have given the dealer a 21. That’s just how the human mind works – we remember poor outcomes in an attempt to avoid them in the future.

There’s a more in-depth article here that explains this concept.

3. What is one simple piece of strategy that I can use right away with little memorization?

Blackjack strategy is notoriously complicated. It takes a while to learn the correct play for every situation. You can use strategy cards at most blackjack tables but it’s good to start learning the basics right now so you don’t always have to rely on a crutch.

Here’s a quick piece of strategy that will get you off on the right foot. This is a basic hit and stand strategy that works pretty well. It’s not perfect in all blackjack situations, but it will serve you well until you can take the time to memorize more detailed strategy.

  1. Your hand totals less than 12: Hit
  2. Your hand totals 17 or higher: Stand
  3. Your hand totals 12-16 and dealer’s card is 6 or lower: Stand
  4. Your hand totals 12-16 and dealer’s card is 7 or higher: Hit

For memorization purposes, you can put the above strategy into a slightly simpler form:

  • Less than 12: Hit
  • More than 16: Stand
  • 12-16 and dealer has less than 7: Stand
  • 12-16 and dealer has 7+: Hit

I find the second set of rules to be a little easier to memorize because it puts more emphasis on the totals. The first set of rules has more explanation, but the second set is easier to memorize. Well, at least it is for me.

4. Is it possible to count cards in online blackjack?

No. Online blackjack games automatically shuffle the cards between every hand. Live dealer blackjack games are usually use too many decks and shuffle too often for you to gain any real advantage over the casino.

5. Is card counting illegal?

Card counting is legal in the United States as long as you don’t use any devices to help you keep track of the count. However, casinos in some states do have the right to kick you out of the casino if they suspect you are card counting.

6. Is card counting still feasible?

Card counting can still be done, but it’s not easy. Casinos are always on the lookout for card counters and will do everything they can to make your life more difficult. Some casinos will simply kick you out. Others will send people over to distract you, order the dealer to shuffle the deck more frequently and use other tactics to stop you from making a big profit.

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