It is always important to look at the psychological aspect of blackjack, since there are not only betting but playing decisions to be made. Many players enjoy blackjack more than roulette, baccarat or craps in that they feel more of a sense of control and can exercise a variety of options during play. That indeed is a potential advantage to blackjack, since the house’s edge, or lack of it, is very much dependent on the player’s level of skill. The psychological pitfalls involved are what can really lower the skill level of a player, and also serve to put up a virtual “wall” that prevents the player from being able to learn a strategy that will yield the greatest chance for success.
Problems arise particularly when it comes to playing off hard totals of 12 through 16. Players often fail to hit their hand in accordance with the Basic Strategy for fear of busting before the dealer has an opportunity to play his hand out. Why? Well, there are two major reasons. One is that those players feel it is worse to bust out than to hold out and lose to the dealer’s better hand, since the dealer’s draw is out of the player’s control. Also, players have a tendency to want to “hang in there” and keep their winning hopes alive for as long as possible, and therefore they stand and wait for the dealer to make a move. The truth is that even with the worst upcards possible (5 or 6), the dealer will only bust a maximum of 42% of the time in the long run, so sitting back and waiting is not sound strategy at all.