In blackjack strategy circles we hear a lot about odds, percentages, averages, and associated terms like short haul, long run, and infinity. But maybe we should turn our focus to what kind of luck we are having in our sessions. Let’s kick it around a bit and see if lady luck should play a role in blackjack strategy.
Fallacy of Traditional Odds Thinking
Two scenarios will be used to explain the fallacy…one from video poker and one from blackjack.
1.) Video Poker – Assume we are playing Jacks or Better and the payout schedule will give us a return of 99.5%. This is based on getting a royal flush a certain percentage of hands, a full house another percentage, and so on. For the long term, we naturally think that we will lose 50 cents for every $100 we put through the machine. But this would be true only if the long term meant playing an infinite number of hands. In reality, we never play an infinite number of hands and our luck will determine what side of 99.5% we will fall. For example, if we are lucky and get more than our share of royal flushes and other high payouts, our return will be greater than 100% and we will make money. But if we get less than our share, our return will be much lower than the 99.5% average and we will lose a lot more than 50 cents for every $100 we bet.
2.) Blackjack – Let’s say we find that rare table where we can count cards accurately. And then we get to the ideal situation where the remaining deck is rich in high cards and we place a larger bet on the next hand since the odds are looking …