woman with piles of casino chips in front of her

What are the Most Misunderstood Strategies in Blackjack?

We have all learned quite a bit during the coronavirus scare.  We have learned about the importance of washing our hands thoroughly and often, about avoiding touching our face, about staying a safe distance from others, and about the health aspect of wearing a face mask when outdoors.

Even Online Casinos Have Had Their Eyes Opened

In terms of online casino gaming, we at Jackpot Capital online casino have learned that a large number of the players who came to our casino because the land based casinos they liked to play at were closed liked playing blackjack and other games of skill at least as much as they like to play progressive jackpots slots.

We have always felt that the vast majority of our gamers liked slots far more than the other games but the refugees from land based casinos have opened our eyes.

Sign Up Now!

Welcome to Jackpot Capital Casino

The pandemic has brought many new gamers every day to our doors.  We hope that most will stay with Jackpot Capital even when the doors of land based casinos reopen.  There are many advantages to gaming at an online casino.  We speak about these advantages quite often so a single paragraph here will suffice.

Online casinos have the following advantages over land based casinos:

  • Convenience.  Instead of going to the casino, you can take it with you anywhere you go by playing on the mobile platform.  You can also play at home, so why travel?
  • You never have to give up your seat to play another game.
  • You don’t have up front travel costs.  That leaves a lot of money for other fun activities including real vacations.
  • The return to player rate at online casinos is higher because our operating costs are so much lower.
  • Online casinos offer better bonuses and other promotions.

The Most Under-rated Strategy in Blackjack is the Push!

This is a very odd thing to say since no one can really strategize for a push.  However, when gamers look at the really counter-intuitive strategies, they often look just at winning and losing and forget to take the push into account.

Let’s look at one commonly misplayed hand to see why this is so.

A Pair of Nines versus a Dealer Nine

Blackjack players are easily intimidated by high cards in the dealer’s hand.  Many players will simply pal out the pair of nines hoping that they can win with 18 points rather than split the nines.

The great blackjack instructor, Henry Tamburin, explains why we should split the nines in this case.  If you play the pair, you’ll win 8 out of 20 hands.  If you split the pair, you will win 9.5 out of every twenty hands.  The math is simple.  Let’s use a $10 bet per hand because the calculation will be easiest.

If you play 20 hands at $10 per hand, you are betting $200 and you win 8 times so you win $80 and lose $120. If you split the nines, you win $95 and lose $105.

So, on the surface, you lose less by splitting the nines.  Here is where the idea of the push comes in.  There are two aspects to the importance of a push in this single example.

The Easily Overlooked Push

We have to add the pushes into the analysis.  Pushes occur about 9% of the time.

Now look.  If you don’t split the nines, you win 8 hands, you push 2 hands, and the dealer wins 10 hands.  If you do split the nines, you will win 9.5 hands, you and the dealer will push 2 hands, and the dealer will win 8.5 hands.

So, splitting the nines is clearly the best strategy.

The Real Misunderstanding around Surrender

Nevertheless, some gamers will surrender this hand.  This is because they are overlooking the possibility of a push.

Given the statistics of the two possibilities in this hand, before considering the likelihood of a push, you will still lose more than you’ll win even if you split.  So some gamers will simply surrender, thinking that they are saving money by doing so. 

By adding the number of pushes you can see that surrender is not the best strategy in this case.  In fact, surrender is a very straightforward strategy.  It is correct only in those hands in which the dealer clearly has an overwhelming advantage!

What is a Hand in which the Dealer Has an Overwhelming Advantage?

A hard 16 against a dealer 10 is the classic situation where you should surrender.  You stand to lose this hand if you stand or if you hit.  The odds of winning improve just enough if you have a hard 15 against a dealer 10 so that with this hand, you should hit.

It is one of the biggest anomalies of blackjack in that even experienced blackjack players tend to not like to surrender.  There is some kind of strange macho environment surrounding the idea of surrender.

This applies a lot more to blackjack at land based casinos where many players are intimidated by the other players at the table.  In some cases, a player will be intimidated by the dealer even though the dealer in blackjack at a land based casino is supposed to be as stoic as humanly possible.

In any event, it is a lot easier for many blackjack players to surrender when they play at an online casino such as Jackpot Capital.

A Pair of Eights is also a Confusing Hand

A pair of eights against a dealer low card is an easy hand: you split the eights.  But if the dealer has a 9 or a 10, most players will stand with the hard 16.  It is statistically better to split the eights. 

By doing so, you have the chance to get a hand that you can double down with or you can get to a higher point count before you stand.  The statistical difference is small but it is real.

When is it Better to Hit than to Stand?

Most blackjack players follow a simple rule: since players go first, they can bust and lose automatically if they have 12 or more points.  So, the strategy that most blackjack players use is to stand with 12 points no matter what.

However, if the dealer has a 3 showing, it is slightly better statistically to hit your hard 12.

The reason for this is…

Misreading the Dealer’s Hole Card

Blackjack players have a very easy time visualizing the dealer with a high card .  However, surprisingly enough, many blackjack players cannot see the possibility that the dealer might have a low card.

If the dealer is showing a three, every card up to a 9 will keep the dealer in her safe zone.  That is simply too many cards that can keep the dealer in her safe zone so, when you have 12 points and the dealer is showing a 3, the best strategy is to hit.

It is more likely that the dealer will have a hole card that keeps her in the safe zone than that she’ll have a 10 in the hole and then draw a 10 to bust.

Continue to Enjoy Blackjack at Jackpot Capital

We continue to hear that the curve is flattening in the fight against the corona virus.  That means that land based casinos will reopen soon.  We hope that many of the gamers who found us during the crisis and have enjoyed playing here at Jackpot Capital will continue to do so even when the land based casinos finally open.

In the meantime, stay safe, stay healthy, and wear a mask when out and about.

Sign Up Now!

Share this with your friends via…