Golden Touch Craps


By Henry Tamburin


It amazes me how many blackjack players believe the misinformation dispensed by fellow players, and even dealers, about the game of blackjack. Here are a just a few nuggets of misinformation.

"Picture Cards Always Follow Picture Cards."

Some players will refuse to hit their stiff hands if they just saw a picture card come out of the shoe. The reason: they believe that "a picture card always follows a picture card." Clearly that can’t be the case and, in fact, the opposite is true, namely that once you see a picture card the chance that the next card will be a picture card has decreased. The reason? If you just saw a picture card there must be less of them in the unplayed deck of cards meaning your chances of drawing another has decreased (not increased).

"Always Figure the Dealer Has a 10 in the Hole."

Really? In a standard deck of 52 cards there are 16 ten-valued cards (the four tens, jacks, queens, and kings). That leaves 36 non-ten valued cards left in a deck. So roughly only 31% of the cards in a deck are "tens" and 69% are non-tens. Based there are roughly twice as many non-tens as tens, it is more likely that the dealer will have a non-ten in the hole rather than a ten. Got it?

"The Objective of Blackjack is to Get as Close to 21 as Possible."

I really believe a casino manager made this one up and it has perpetuated for umpteen numbers of years amongst player. The objective of blackjack is not to get as close to 21 as possible. Rather, the objective is to beat the dealer in one of two ways: either having your hand total higher than her hand, or having a total of 21 or less when the dealer busts. This is the objective of blackjack.

"That Third Baseman is Killing Me."

Many players believe the play of the third base player can "bring down" the entire table. Some honestly believe that the third base player should ‘sacrifice has hand" for the good of his fellow players. The reality is this: it really doesn’t make any difference how your fellow players, including the third baseman, play their hands on your chances of winning (or losing). No question the outcome of the round could be different if the third baseman takes a card when he shouldn’t but his lack of skills could result in everyone winning their hand as well as losing. In the long run it’s wash, and your chances of winning and losing isn’t going to change. You may not like to hear this but you could play with six chimpanzees and your chance of ultimately winning and losing will not be affected.

"Always Insure the Good Hands."

Most players will insure a 10-10 but never a 5-3. Guess what? Insuring the 20 is a worst play than insuring an 8. Why? Because when you make the insurance bet you are betting that the dealer has a ten in the hole (for a blackjack). The fact that you are holding two ten-value cards (with your 20) means the chance that the dealer’s hole is a ten is less than if you held a 5-3. Insurance is a bad bet but it’s an even worse bet when you hold a "good hand."

"A Deuce is the Same as a Dealer’s Ace."

I’ve heard dealers spout this logic at players many times when they have a deuce upcard and a player is trying to decide whether or not to hit. The point the dealer is making to the player is that when he holds a deuces, he is just as likely to make a pat hand as when he holds has an ace upcard. This is simply not true. The dealer’s strongest card is an ace with only about a 12 percent chance of busting. With a deuce, the dealer is more likely to bust (about 35 percent). Sorry dealers but a deuce is no way the same as an ace.

"Don’t Mess with the Order of the Cards."

Many players cringe when a new player enters a game in mid-shoe. Why? Because the order of the cards that will be dealt to players changes and they believe that this works against the players. This of course is nonsense. You don’t know what the order of the cards is in the shoe and if a new player changes the order, it could help you as much as hurt you. The order of the cards is not sacred!

"Press your Luck."

Many players who win two or three hands in a row will start pressing (or increasing) their bets to take advantage of their luck. I hate to be the bearer of bad news but just because you won the previous two or three hands, this has no bearing on your chances of winning the next hand. The odds of winning any hand at blackjack is roughly 42 percent regardless of how many hands you just won. So "pressing your luck" might be a fun thing to do but it isn’t going to win you more money in the long run (in fact, by betting more money you expose more of your bankroll to the house edge).

If a dealer or a fellow player offers you a piece of strategy advice that sounds intriguing email it to me and I’ll analyze what was said in a future column.


Henry Tamburin is the author of the best-selling book, Blackjack: Take The Money and Run,

editor of the Blackjack Insider e-Newsletter, and Lead Instructor for the Golden Touch Blackjack course. For a free 3-month subscription to his blackjack newsletter with full membership privileges, visit For details on the Golden Touch Blackjack course visit or call 866/WIN-BJ21. For a free copy of his casino gambling catalog call 888/353-3234 or visit the Internet store at