Blackjack is one of the most common casino games on the planet. And as such, it’s also one of the games with an unbelievable amount of myths and misconceptions. Because the game is so easy to learn and play, lots of people think they’re pros. And with that professional feeling comes knowledge. Unfortunately, a lot of this so-called knowledge is simply passed down from other casino players who learned the same information from other so-called professionals.
Bottom line? There’s a lot of hogwash. Fortunately, you’ve got us by your side—Blackjack experts who know the truth. And today, we’re settling the debate once and for all.
Myth #1: It’s illegal to count cards
If you’ve watched a lot of Hollywood movies or any TV series involving casino games, chances are you’re familiar with the Blackjack scene where someone is caught counting cards. You know how it goes. A player is sitting on a giant stack of chips. He’s got thousands in front of him. He seems to be winning big when it counts and losing small when it likely won’t hurt. The eye in the sky notices this, as does the dealer. And in a matter of minutes, a couple of guys in dark suits and darker sunglasses emerge out of nowhere and say, “Step away from the table and come with me sir.” The next thing you know, the Blackjack player is sitting in a dark room, being threatened with having his knees broken, and told that he broke the law.
If he’s lucky, the player emerges from the room without broken kneecaps. And the best case scenario, he’s banned from the casino for life. So after watching this play out, you might assume that counting cards is totally against the law. Except the thing is, it isn’t.
Casinos frown upon counting cards. They’ll kick you out if they catch you doing so. And they’ll ban you from the casino and tell their casino-owning friends about you. But no court in Nevada will convict you for using your brain.
Myth #2: You can use a computer to count cards
Remember how 45 seconds ago we told you that it’s totally legal to count cards and that the whole illegal angle was a myth? Well, that’s not entirely true. It turns out that counting cards is only legal if you’re using your brain.
Using some sort of computer, whether it’s a smart watch, your phone, or an old-fashioned toe-tapping device connected to a counting device strapped to your chest, is against the law. Yup, it won’t just get you kicked out, but it could lead to you being charged with cheating using a device. So if you’re going to count cards, you’ll need to use your brain and nothing but your brain.
Myth #3: Insurance is a great bet
Most casinos will tell you to take insurance. It’s a great bet, or so they say. And you know why they say it? Because it’s a sucker’s bet and it’s how they make money. But we’re not most casinos. So we’re going to be totally honest here and tell you that insurance is actually a horrible move. You’re better off taking the risk and assuming that the dealer doesn’t have a 10 or face card under that Ace.
Myth #4: The anchor position is the worst
Have you ever walked over to a Blackjack table only to find that the only empty seat is the anchor position? That’s the spot right at the end—the last guy to make a decision before the dealer flips over his card and either destroys the table or busts.
If you’re like a lot of other online casino players, you avoid this position like the plague. Except that’s not the right move. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with the anchor position. In fact, by taking that position, you actually have more control than the rest of the players at the table since you get to make the final call on what happens.
So where does the anchor position being the worst position thought come from? Well, at a full table, the anchor position forces you to watch a lot of cards hit the felt. And many of the cards that hit the felt could end up being cards you needed to win. You might assume, “If I only I had been in an earlier position” as many players do. However, this thought process is completely illogical.
Myth #5: Mid-shoe entry ruins everything
It’s common courtesy to ask Blackjack players if they mind if you jump in, particularly when a shoe is already in play. In fact, the courtesy is so common that some casinos won’t even allow mid-shoe entry so that players don’t have to do the denying.
But disrupting a shoe doesn’t mean anything for your game. The common belief is that if you’re winning a lot of hands, disrupting the shoe will change the cards and you’ll start losing. However, this just isn’t the case. The game is determined by the cards dealt and what you decide to do with those cards.
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