If you want to become a winning blackjack player, you need to understand the psychology of blackjack and its importance, which is very often under estimated.
Rational Disciplined Play Will Yield Profits Longer Term
A winning blackjack player using basic strategy and card counting can gain an edge over the casino and emerge a winner over time.
While this is an accepted fact and many players know this, they deviate from what is rational and make irrational plays.
Why would they do this? The answer lies in human nature and the psychology that comes into play when money is on the line.
Lets look at some examples of blackjack psychology in action and two common mistakes players make:
1. The Fear of Going Bust
The fear of busting (going over 21) is a common error among blackjack players.
Going bust means you are out of the game.
Many players find it hard to draw an additional card even though it is the right play to make.
Standing on 16 when you should take a hit stops a player going bust. However, thinking logically the dealer has to stand on 17 and above, so the perceived advantage of not going bust is offset by the fact that you cannot win unless the dealer goes bust.
Losing by busting is psychologically worse for many players than losing to the dealer.
If you hit and bust it's your fault. If you stand and lose, you can say the dealer was lucky and you have no responsibility for the loss.
Players get so preoccupied in trying to avoid going bust, that they fail to focus on the probabilities of winning and losing, when neither player nor the dealer goes bust.
The Gamblers Fallacy and Luck
Many players increase their bet after a loss and decrease it after a win. Called "the gambler's fallacy," the idea is that if you lose a hand, the odds go up that you will win the next hand, and vice versa.
This of course is irrational, but players fear losing and go to protect the winnings they have.
Other players do the reverse, increasing the bet size after a win and decreasing it after a loss. The logic here is that luck comes in streaks; so if you're hot, increase your bets!
Why Do Players Act Irrationally When They Should Act Rationally?
There are players who don't know basic strategy and fall into the above psychological traps. Experienced players do so as well. The reasons for this are normally associated with the following:
1. Players cannot detach themselves from the fact that winning blackjack requires losing periods, they get frustrated and try to get their losses back.
2. They fall into the trap that we all do, in that once "wont make a difference" and try another way of playing.
3. A player may have other things on his mind and is not focusing on the game and these blur his judgement and make him mentally lazy.
If You Have a Plan, You need to follow it!
This can be psychologically difficult for many players because it requires mental discipline to focus over the long term, take losses on the chin and remain mentally focused.
Winning at blackjack requires the discipline to execute a plan; if you don't have discipline, you don't have a plan!
The psychology of blackjack is an important but underestimated trait in winning at blackjack over the long term.
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