blackjack-mistakes-030714Blackjack mistakes

A look at ten of the most commonly made errors at the blackjack table and why they’re mistakes to avoid

Whilst blackjack card counting training can improve the odds at which you’re gambling at the tables there will always be moments where the knowledge and wisdom you’ve so carefully accumulated completely escapes you and errors creep into your game.

Typically these errors aren’t very large but they can both throw you off your strategy and cause a decline in your winnings that whilst not significant can nevertheless be mitigated. A summary of these errors would be complex so instead we’ll run through some of the more common mistakes.

We’ll take a look at these hand by hand and try to explain why it is the intuitive response isn’t always the right one and how remembering these 10 common mistakes can help you on your way to winning at blackjack.

Please note this won’t be an exhaustive study but we will tell you enough so you know what not to do and why you shouldn’t do it. So let’s start with the basics and move on from there.

Easy mistakes to make

Blackjack tricks for the table:

• When to stand when to hit

• Surrender or not?

• Double down all the way

Don’t take the even money

You’ve got blackjack and the dealer is showing an ace. It is tempting to take the even money bet because it seems like a sensible precaution but given the dealer will only have blackjack 31% of the time you’re far more likely to win 1.5 times your wager than not. Average it out and it’s 1.04 times your bet which is better than the 1.0 the casino is offering. So, don’t take the even money bet, it’s not worth it.

Standing on soft 18 against a 10

Strange as it may seem you will lose more money than you win by standing on this soft 18 against a 10 so hit, especially when your hand consists of three or more cards.

A lot of players will balk at this advice but statistics are on the side of these blackjack tips.

Standing on 12 against a 3

This is just daft. You can only bust 4 of 13 times hitting on 12, so that’s 9 of 13 when you’ll not. There are more cards that can help than hinder you whilst the dealer will bust 37% of the time anyway so despite it being marginal standing will lose you more money in the long run.

Not splitting 8s against 9, 10, or an Ace

The dreaded 16 tends to send players into a tizzy but with a pair of eights why worry, just split them into two hands that start with an 8. In the long run you will not lose as much splitting them into two hands as you would betting on that 16 as a single hand.
Short term this can be disheartening but long term is just the sensible way to play.

Not doubling 11 against a dealer’s 10

You’d think that the dealer’s odds of getting 20 when he’s got an 10 showing are quite high, they are, but not as high as yours of getting 20 or 21. Bet 10 quid and hit on your 11 and you have 56% chance of winning, if you double you’ll have only 54% chance, but on twice as much money. Long term this makes massive sense.

Playing 16 against a dealer’s 10.

Occurring once every 30 hands or so it’s best, if offered to take the surrender, Surrender loses you 50% playing on 53.5% so in the long run it’s best to take it.

If the casino doesn’t offer surrender then hit. Only stand if your hand is made up of small cards the dealer would find useful.

Standing on 16 against a dealer’s 7

Just don’t do it. Hit it just as you would against 10, don’t be intimidated, your chances are the same regardless.

Doubling for less

Again, don’t do it. This is short term safety measure simply doesn’t pay off, if you’re doubling down do it properly,

Playing a soft hand containing three or more cards

Casinos won’t let you double down when you’ve three or more cards in your hand so what is to be done? One of the simplest blackjack tricks. Follow these two rules and you’ll be fine.
a) If you have soft 17 or less, hit.
b) If you have soft 18-21 stand.

Doubling on small soft hands

With the dealer showing a small card some players can ruin this opportunity for themselves. There are 18 possible times when doubling a small hand is a good idea. Just remember the three simple rules.
a) Never soft double against a 2
b) Always soft double against a 5 or 6
c) When the dealer shows a 3 or a 4 play by the rule of 9

The rule of nine is simple. Merely add your kicker to the dealer’s upcard and see if it is more or less than 9. If it’s over nine, double down, if it’s less, hit.