Take Your Blackjack Medicine for Long-Run Success

I have a buddy who hates to hit 3+ card 15s & 16s in almost any situation.  His theory is that he’d rather give the dealer a chance to bust rather than taking a card that has a better than 50% chance of busting him.  I get the psychological aspect of it, but I continue to tell him that in the long run he’s losing money.

I’m not a high-level math blackjack player, my system runs by the book with a few adjustments that increase my advantage over time, so I’m not going into great detail on the odds.  I do know that if you flaunt some of the basic rules too often you are digging yourself a hole that you will never get out of.

At the moment you stay with a 3+ card 15 against a 10 it feels fairly good, you ‘give yourself a chance’ by staying in the hand.  Sometimes it even works out – dealer busts every once in a while and you win a hand.  The trouble with that one win is that you’ve now done a couple of things 1) made yourself feel good about a play that works less than it doesn’t and 2) set the shoe off course for future cards.

I’m not compulsive about the integrity of a shoe as I know some are, but I do think that when people play consistently poorly the cards tend to run colder.  I’ll definitely walk away from a table if I see someone who is not willing to take a card and try to make a hand on a regular basis.

My guidance is that even if you win a couple of times playing it ‘safe’ the odds and the gambling gods will make sure that it will more than even out in the long run.  So unless you have counted cards or you need to shake things up in a very cold run, take your medicine, hit that hand (caveat this is for 3+ cards and I love surrender rules) and look for your opportunities on future hands.

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