Of course you feel more confident with a hand value of 17 or more before the dealer starts drawing his or her own cards. The number 17 is itself a crucial fault line in the game, as it’s the point upon which many table rules insist the dealer must either stand or hit. We should point out here that those tables that command the dealer to always hit on soft 17 will statistically disadvantage the player by a few fractional percentage points. The reasoning? Even though, for the house, hitting on a soft 17 means a greater chance of busting, those occasions where the house doesn’t bust will mean a total that in all likelihood will be higher than yours.
That being said, it is often a prudent course of action to stand down on a lower-than-expected hand value and hope that the dealer will bust. Remember, once your hand busts you’ve lost around already, and the dealer won’t even need to draw any cards at all.
Card Counting When You Don’t Really Know What You’re Doing
Card counting is neither brain surgery nor is it kindergarten fundamentals. Although Edward Thorpe designed card counting to be accessible to the “average” player, this doesn’t mean the technique doesn’t require practice and studious application. Casinos love bad card counters – they’re like a bumbling Pink Panther scratching around in the dark. We can guarantee that you will lose more money counting cards badly than if you applied other statistical/rational – based methods.
Remember, even if you did know how to count cards effectively and accurately, you’d need to wear something of a poker face while at the table in order to disguise what would otherwise be a very concentrated expression on your face. The key is to appear disinterested, amateurish, and even bored… but in a way that’s casual, natural and not contrived in anyway.
Taking Insurance Every Time
Although a 10 value card is the single most common card value in the game (comprising tens and all face cards), it is a mistake to assume that the dealer’s second hole card on an ace opener will of necessity lead him to a blackjack. If you’re card counting, then your running count will advise you whether or not to take insurance. But if you’re not counting cards, then don’t assume that hedging your bets and taking insurance is necessarily the best strategy. If we were to talk cold hard mathematics, with need to point out that the “assume a ten” principle actually gives the house a statistical edge of just over 10%. That’s fairly astronomical for a game of blackjack, and it’s completely unnecessary to play the game at those odds. Always revert to pre-determined odds calculations, and make your bets according to that rather than according to your intuition or feeling.