Does a Bad Blackjack Player At a Table Hurt Your Chances?

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There are certain things that aggravate many players at a casino. Button slappers and machine bangers are a great example for slot machine players.

One that can get many Blackjack players riled up is when a player is just playing poorly compared to basic strategy on a Blackjack table. Many believe a player taking a card they shouldn’t, or staying when they should draw, hurt their chances and drive down their own payback accordingly.

However, statistically, it’s a net neutral sort of thing. Over time, for every situation where they make your hand lose when it should have won, the opposite is also true – they create a situation where you won but would have lost if they played properly.

As players, we will tend to latch on to examples that support our worldview, so players will swear that a bad player drags them down consistently, but it will be selective memory, or just a statistical anomaly, vs. what plays out over time.

Now despite it being neutral, gambling is an emotional game, so it doesn’t make it any less frustrating to witness, especially when it then leads to a loss. So it’s still not the worst decision to get up from a table if you’re not feeling it, since at the end of the day it’s still real money on the line.

But you can sleep easier knowing that those bad Blackjack players, which seem to be everywhere, aren’t going to drag you down and hurt your overall gameplay. With that, you can make a personal decision if you want to keep playing at that table, but your decision won’t help or hurt your expected performance over time on the game, all else being equal. 

And if you’re really lucky, maybe these bad players opting for the games with the worst rules (like 6:5 Blackjack payouts vs. 3:2) so you can select the tables where the rules will give you better chances of winning.


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