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Myths of Blackjack
Blackjack Professor
by Lance Humble

Now that you know what Blackjack is you should know what Blackjack is not; myths that have clouded the thinking of many a potential winner.

Myth #1: You need luck to win at casino Blackjack. This is completely false. Blackjack is the only casino game in which the player can actually get a permanent, long-term, mathematical advantage over the house using his or her own skill. The long-term player who knows how to play the game will realize exactly the percentage of profit that is associated with whatever strategy he chooses to use.

Myth #2: You have to be a mathematical genius in order to learn how to win at Blackjack. This idea started after mathematics professor Edward Thorpe published his best-selling Beat the Dealer in 1962. The press focused on his being a professor and came to the conclusion that only an extremely intelligent person with a mathematical mind could win at Blackjack. This is now totally erroneous.

Myth #3: You have to have a photographic memory in order to learn how to win. No photographic memory or anything approaching such a memory is needed. The most difficult part is memorizing the Basic Strategy for playing the various possible hands. If you can remember a single number then you can track the cards.

Myth #4: Dealers deal too fast for player to keep track of the cards. While some dealers do deal extremely fast they can never deal faster than you can play. That’s because no dealer can deal past you until you give the signal that you wish to stand. Some dealers will try to get you into their rhythm of play by starting slowly and gradually speed- ing up, but you control the way your want to play your hand. He can never deal too fast for you to keep track of the cards.

Myth #5: It is impossible to win playing against four or six decks because there are too many cards to keep track of. Four or more decks do seem formidable to play against but they are not more complex. It only takes longer to keep track of 208 cards rather than 52. The complexity of tracking cards is the same. You can still track the cards with a simple plus-1, or minus-1 count, the same as in a single deck game.

Myth #6: You need a bankroll of thousands of dollars in order to win appreciable amounts of money at Blackjack. All you need is a bankroll of two hundred dollars. With such a small start, you can win thousands! Of course it will take you much longer if you start small because you will only be able to make small bets at first. But you will win at the same rate as someone betting a thousand dollars per hand. The more hours you play the more money you will accumulate.

Myth #7: There is no cheating in large Las Vegas casinos. It has been my experience that the larger the casino the more expert the cheating dealers. Dealers in the largest casinos in the world have cheated me out of thousands and thousands of dollars. However, it is very unlikely that a cheating dealer in a major casino is sanctioned by the house.

Myth #8: They only cheat high rollers. A cheating dealer will cheat anybody he wants to, whether the person is betting fifty cents or five hundred dollars. Cheating dealers do not discriminate because it is easier to deal themselves a good hand (hurting everybody), than it is to deal a particular player a bad hand.

Myth #9: Bad players hurt a good player’s game. It has been proven that bad players at the table help a good player as often as they hinder him. A winning player never blames another player for his losses. Instead a winner thanks the bad player when the latter helps by playing badly.

Myth #10: The player sitting at third base can have a greater effect on whether the dealer busts or not than any other player at the table. This appears to be true because he is the last player to draw; yet he has no more effect on the dealer than other player. It doesn’t matter who goes last. What matters is how many, and what types of cards are drawn by all the players together.

Myth #11: Casinos use shills in order to cheat players. A shill is an employee of the casino who plays with house money to attract players to the table. I have never seen a shill used to cheat me in all my years of play. He has absolutely no long-term effect on a winning player’s advantage or disadvantage.

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