A Blackjack Streak Too Crazy to be Real

 A Blackjack Streak Too Crazy to be Real

Players often send me tales of streaks at the tables, but they’re usually winning streaks. A reader named Mike sent me something a little different.

“I have a streak story for you,” he wrote. “ I was playing blackjack in Laughlin a few years ago, there were four players, and we all get pat 20s. The dealer has a 10 up and turns over a face card, so a push, with 10 10-values  in a row.

“The very next hand, we all four have pat 20s again and the dealer has a face card. I declared with confidence, ‘We have you this time’   But he turns over another 10!
Amazing! Twenty 10 cards in a row!”

I’ve been at tables where everyone had 20s only to let out a collective groan when the dealer turned up a second 10 for a push, but twice in a row for a whole table is painful. I checked back with Mike, who emailed the story, and it was a six-deck games, meaning 20 of the 96 10-value cards came out consecutively.

At most games, I just marvel at the streak stories players send me, but leave it with the comment that streaks grow out of the normal odds of the game, but don’t affect future outcomes.  If 17 comes up four times in a row on a roulette wheel, that’s a streak worth noting, but the odds are unchanged afterward. The chances 17 will come up on the next spin are the same 1 in 38 they always are on double-zero wheel.

Blackjack is different in that as cards are removed from play, the composition of the remaining deck is different, and the odds change.

With 20 consecutive 10-values played, that’s 20 fewer high cards remaining in the deck. The best situation for players is when there is a high concentration of high cards left to be played, so this streak shifted the balance dramatically in favor of the dealer.

For those who count cards, that’s a quick minus-20 and time for a breather.

Leave a comment