Streaky Blackjack

There is a fallacy out there that casino games of chance are streaky and games of skill are not. Because you can use skill to affect the outcome, they reason, hot and cold streaks don’t come into play. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. Let me put it this way: streaks actually play more of a part in blackjack than in slots.

There, I said it. In slots, people will sometimes get on a hot or cold streak, but their odds stay exactly the same. The random number generator determines what happens on each spin and each spin is independent of the next. Because of that, your odds are exactly the same if you have won the last 5 spins or lost the last 5. Even with the odds not changing, though, there are streaks.

Now let’s look at blackjack. The odds aren’t the same each time a card is dealt. That’s because you’re dealing with a finite deck. No matter how many decks are used, unless it is shuffled after each card is drawn (as is sometimes the case online), the deck is finite. That means if you draw a card, there is zero chance that card is still in the deck. Therefore, every time someone at the table, including the dealer, draws a card, it alters the odds. In the long run, your odds are the same, but in the short run they vary drastically.

Because of that, streaks happen in blackjack and the game is more prone to them than slots are. If you are counting cards, that’s especially true. When that deck is rich in tens, you could very well get hot. That’s how people walk away from blackjack tables with big wins, such as the guy who took the Tropicana Casino for almost $6 million.

Blackjack is a game with a low house edge. If you stick to basic strategy, you can reduce the house advantage to only 0.5%. Even so, hot and cold streaks will happen. Knowing that will help you deal with them.

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