Blackjack – Don’t Let Other Players’ Mistakes Bother You

 Blackjack – Don’t Let Other Players’ Mistakes Bother You

A frustrated blackjack player e-mailed me with a familiar lament. “I can’t stand it when another player’s mistake costs me money,” he grumbled. “Why do people insist on taking the dealer’s bust card?”

With the dealer having a five face up, a player who had a two-card 12 made a basic strategy mistake and drew a 10, going bust with a 22. The dealer showed that her face-down card was a face card for a two-card 15. The 10 drawn by the player would have busted the dealer’s hand. Instead, the dealer drew a six, completed a 21 and beat everyone at the table.

A legitimate reason to be angry at the player who drew the 10? Not so fast.

There’s nothing magical or pre-ordained about card order. What if the cards drawn were reversed in the deck? What if the player drew the six, leaving the 10 for the dealer? Then the player’s mistake would have SAVED the hand for everyone.

Player mistakes help the rest of the table just as often as they hurt. Memories tend to be selective, and we get upset by the times the misplays by others cost us money. We don’t even notice when we win because of the mistake. In the long run, our bottom line winds up in just about the same place as if the others were playing perfect, basic strategy.

If the mistakes of others upset you, change tables. But the decisions are theirs to make, and in the long run the times they hurt you and the times they help will balance out.

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