The Effects of the Perception of an Inexperienced Blackjack Player- Candice Day
Sponsored by Missouri Western State University Sponsored by a grant from the National Science Foundation DUE-97-51113
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DAY, C. (2004). The Effects of the Perception of an Inexperienced Blackjack Player- Candice Day. National Undergraduate Research Clearinghouse, 7. Available online at Retrieved April 30, 2017 .

The Effects of the Perception of an Inexperienced Blackjack Player- Candice Day

Sponsored by: Brian Cronk (
The purpose of my study is to find a correlation between the amount of money won by an inexperienced gambler and the opinion of the inexperienced gambler from an experienced gambler. My literature states that there is no true skill in gambling. There is no way to definitely beat the house. But there is a way to decrease the odds for the house and increase them for the gambler. Using basic blackjack strategy does this and an experienced blackjack player knows this. But does the glory of winning without using basic strategy cloud their better judgment? The research shows that it does not cloud their judgment. . The limitations of the project with sample size may have affected the results.

The Effects of the Perception of an Inexperienced Blackjack Player According to historical records and archeological evidence, gambling has existed throughout the ages and culture of most civilizations. Anthropologists agree that data collected in the 20th century provides solid implications that gambling took place within a large portion of the greatest societies to have ever existed. For example, gambling artifacts have been recovered from ancient China, India, Egypt and Rome. A set of ivory dice dating from before 1500 BC were retrieved from Thebes, while specific writings mentioning gambling were found on a tablet in the Pyramid of Cheops (Bergler, 1958). Lester (1979) says as early as the 14th century, we have some of the first findings of gambling becoming outlawed; King Henry VIII of England did so when he discovered that his soldiers were spending more time gambling than working on drills and marksmanship.The idea of blackjack and poker sprouted from the practice of shuffling paper money in China around 900 A.D. This evolved into card playing, which was consequently brought to Europe via the Mameluke Empire. Being followers of Islam, the Mameluke people did not have their playing cards decorated with human forms; instead, they were adorned with intricate designs, reminiscent of Muslim carpets. When the cards made their way to Italy and Spain, card makers began distinguishing cards with the royal ranks of men who held power in the Royal Court. The Queen of today`s decks did not appear on the scene until the 1500`s, when the French got a hold of them and replaced one of the male cards with a female figure representing a Queen. This pack of cards became known as the "French Pack", and served as the prototype of the 52-card deck we are so familiar with today (Fabian, 1990).Gambling rituals are sometimes very essential to the gambler. Gamblers tend to make false attributes of cause and effect and engage in a variety of rituals such as blowing on dice, stacking or tapping them, rubbing the table and bringing a lucky rabbit’s foot. With these rituals, the gambler thinks they have an illusion of control, which insinuates to gamblers’ that they can influence the outcomes of chance-determined activities (Delfabbro, 2004).There is no skill involved in true gambling. Skill is being defined as knowing how to play (Wohl, 2003). Skill could be defined as knowing how to increase one’s chances of winning above the objective odds. Skill could also be defined as being involved in the selection of the optimum strategy or the one with the highest expected return. In both of these cases, the gamblers’ have no control over the outcomes, but knowledge of the game could still improve performance (Delfabbro, 2004). There is no such thing as luck. In many situations good luck (winning sequence) or bad luck (losing sequence) is recognized, but the term ‘luck’ is nothing more than a image or a way of describing chance. When a gambler says that they are waiting their luck to change, this does imply a personal belief that he or she is personally lucky, but could imply the law, averages, or the gambler’s fallacy. In addition, if luck is just a metaphor for chance, telling a gambler that no one is luckier than another is or there is no such thing is luck is very unconvincing. Therefore, in theory, there is no reason why someone should be more successful than another is when the game is purely determined by chance. There is nothing preventing a particular gambler from continuing to win and make a profit. So gamblers wonder “why can’t that winner be me?’ Therefore, they strive to be a winner. To say that no gambler can win is untruthful, and some winners can become consistent winners just by chance, but the truth is that most gamblers will lose and winners are unlikely to stay winners (Delfabbro, 2004).Fabian (1990) states statisticians and mathematicians became interested in the game of blackjack in the 1950s and calculated a strategy for eliminating much of the casino house advantage. These theories were further developed in the 60s and 70s when computers became more available. Researchers were able to simulate millions of hands of blackjack and developed what is now known as blackjack basic strategy.The basic strategy is based on this statistical analysis and the fact that the player may choose to double down or split when favorable and gets paid 3to2 for blackjack. Whereas the dealer must follow the rules, which are hit soft 17 (Ace counts as an 11), stand on hard 17(Ace counts as a 1) and above.It is a statistical fact that the dealer has more than a 35% chance of busting if their face up card is a 3, 4, 5 or 6. So, in this case, if you have a total of 13 to 16, you should stand as the dealer has a good chance of busting, as do you, but you can choose not to hit whereas the dealer must hit.However if the dealer has a 7, 8, 9, 10 or Ace, you should take another card as there is a high probability that the dealer`s face down card is a 10, and their hand will beat you.

The Blackjack Basic Strategy Rules There are basic sets of rules that apply to all blackjack games using 6 or more decks: GeneralAlways stand on 17 or better.Always hit on 12-16 when dealer shows 7 or higher.Always hit on 8 or less.Doubling DownAlways double down on 11.Double down on 10 when dealer shows 9 or lower.Double down on 9 when dealer shows 6 or lower.Soft HandsAlways stand on soft 19 and 20.Always double down on soft 13-18 when dealer shows 4, 5, or 6.SplitsAlways split aces and 8`s.Never split 10-face cards and never split 5`s.Always split 3`s and 2`s when the dealer shows 4,5,6, or 7.Winning at blackjack is part skill and part luck. A player using a good blackjack basic strategy can reduce the online casinos advantage to a minimum and, under certain very favorable conditions, can gain an edge over the casino (Delfabbro, 2004).Although you can win by not following any rules at all and going by your gut, but rarely does this work to your advantage. By following basic blackjack strategy decreases the house edge by .5 percent. However, by not following basic blackjack strategy can double or even triple the house advantage.The purpose of this study is to find a correlation between the amount of money won by an inexperienced gambler and the opinion of the inexperienced gambler from an experienced gambler.


I surveyed 32 upper level –college students at Missouri Western State College.

The materials used in this study were a videotape, and a television. Then after the video, a 3-question survey was administered.

A videotape of a standard blackjack game was pre-recorded. On the video, there was a skilled player who played using basic blackjack strategy and loses their money, an inexperienced player who did not use basic strategy and wins money and a third average player who sometimes used basic strategy and this player broke even. The video was played. After the video, they were given a short survey to evaluate the players and asked of their personal knowledge of blackjack.

A chi-square test of independence was calculated comparing the results of the experience of blackjack players and the question of who was the better blackjack player. No significant relationship was found chi square (4) = .764, p=.943. See results in Figure 1. A chi- square test of independence was calculated for comparing the experience of the viewer of the blackjack video and the question of who deserved to win. A significant interaction was found chi-square (4) = 3.959, p= .412. These results are in Figure 2.

The results were that there was no difference if the very experienced blackjack players than the blackjack players with little or no experience after viewing the video. They very experienced blackjack players stated that the experienced player should have won just as much as the inexperienced player should have won. The scores were across the board for the viewers of the video with little or no experience. I found no significance with any groups correlating to my theory of the experienced blackjack players changing their mind after viewing the video of the inexperienced blackjack player using basic strategy and winning.The limitations of my study were sample size. The sample of upper-level college students at Missouri Western State College classes limits the number of participants that were 21 years or older, which limits the number of true experienced blackjack players. The experience of the participants should be further investigated. The question or quantity or how habitually does the player participate in blackjack games should considered als

Bergler, E. (1958). The psychology of gambling. London, England: International Universities Press, INC.Bernhard, B. J. (2003). From sin to sickness: A sociological history of the gambler. Dissertation Abstracts International Section A: Humanities & Social Sciences, 64, 1098.Delfabbro, P. (2004). The stubborn logic of regular gamblers: obstacles and dilemmas in cognitive gambling research. Journal of Gambling Studies, 20, 1-21. Dixon, M. R. (2000). Manipulating the illusion of control: Variations in gambling as a function of perceived control over change outcomes. Psychological Record, 4, 705-720.Engwall, D.& Hunter R., & Steinberg M. (2004). Gambling and other risk behavior on university campuses. Journal of American College Health, 6, 245-255.Fabian, A. (1990). Card sharps, dream books, & bucket shops: Gambling in 19th century america. Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press.Goodman, W. (1999). Come on baby, Fyodor needs a new shoes!. New York Times, 51517, 2.Lester, D. (1979). Gambling Today. Springfield, Illinois: Charles C Thomas.Raylu, N. & Oei, T. P. (2004). Role of culture in gabling and problem gambling. Clinical Psychology Review, 23, 1087-1114.Slutske, W. S., & Jackson, K. M., & Sher, K. J. (2003). The natural history of problem gambling from age 18 to 29. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 2, 263-274.Takushi, R. (2004). Indicated prevention of problem gambling among college students. Journal of Gambling Studies, 20, 83-93.Tavares, H. & Martins, S. S., 7 Lobo, D.S., Silveira, C. M. (2003). Factors at play in faster progression for female pathological gamblers: An exploratory analysis. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 64, 433-438. Wohl, M. J., 7 Enzle, M. E. (2003). The effects of near wins and near losses on losses self-perceived personal luck and subsequent gambling behavior. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 39, 184-191.

1. Who was the better blackjack player?One Two Three2. How experienced are you at blackjack?No experience A little experienced Very experienced3. Which player deserved to win?One Two Three

Figure 1. Results of question #2 compared with question #1 of who was the better blackjack player.

Figure 2. Results of question #2 compared with question #3 of who deserved to win.

Graph of Better Player

Graph of Who deserved to win

Submitted 12/9/2004 11:41:33 AM
Last Edited 7/28/2008 11:13:46 AM
Converted to New Site 03/09/2009

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