Most blackjack players are usually under the impression that the poor play of a clueless player will cause them to lose. This belief is especially the case for the last player position to act before the dealer known as third base. But is this really the case? Contrary to proper belief, this is a myth. Because of observer bias, players tend to overvalue situations that favor them and resent the ones that do not. Let’s go a bit in depth and explore where this myth comes from and how to dispel it.
When players learn to play blackjack, one of the first things they are commonly led to believe is that their chances at winning can be severely altered by a player who doesn’t know what they are doing. This is simply not the case. Actually, the lack of skill of any other players on the table will not affect your chances of winning. However, there are many scenarios in which players tend to believe the opposite. We’re going to go over one of the most common and popular situations where people get angry about a fellow player’s strategy.
Say the cards are dealt and the dealer has a 5 upcard. Here, if all the players are playing by the book, they should sit on their hands and wait for the dealer to draw and hopefully break. So all players do just that and stand except for that third base player. When it comes to them, they are asking to hit and they proceed to get a picture card, seeming to take the dealers bust card. And surely after that the dealer has a downcard of 10 for a 15 and then draws a 6 for 21, beating the entire table. Now everyone blames the clueless player for for not knowing how to play blackjack and ruining it for everyone. This is always a case of ineffectiveness and a waste of energy.
The smart player in this instance would realize that this had no effect on anyone’s chances of winning or losing. The fact is, this person playing as such could just as much help your chances as it could lose the game for everyone. If this type of play made you get a good hand and win, you would be thanking the third base player. If this myth was true, a casino with say, 20 blackjack tables would have employees at every single table with the instructions to misplay their hands to give the dealer a better chance at beating the table.
Conclusion, when you play blackjack it is silly to worry about how poorly other people play or their lack of skill. Any adverse effects brought on by a bad player will eventually even out in the long run. Instead, you should be concentrating on playing your hand correctly and avoiding mistakes on your own part. If you still find yourself obsessing over a bad player, it may be wise to just get up and move to another table.