Common Blackjack Mistakes

In Blackjack, having good strategy for blackjack players is vital if you want to maximize your chance of winning. Without a solid understanding of basic strategy, you are essentially throwing your money away. Although it’s not always easy to remember exactly how to act in every situation, there are a number of repeated blackjack players’ mistakes which we see on almost a daily basis. Most of these errors are committed by amateurs, but even the most seasoned pro can make mental blunders in Blackjack. In this article, we wish to highlight some of these critical errors, not only in strategy of blackjack players but other areas as well. If you keep these suggestions in mind when you sit down to play, you will give yourself more opportunities to walk away happy, and more importantly, with something in your pocket.

Strategic Mistakes

Doubling for less. When a blackjack player has the option of doubling-down, he is essentially making a trade-off with the house. In exchange for the chance to double your wager when you are the clear favorite to win the hand, you sacrifice the option of taking multiple hits. Of course, this lowers your chances of winning by several percentage points, but you also gain the chance of winning a lot more money. Often we see people who are in a great position to double-down, but for varying reasons, they only continue with a fraction of the initial bet. Recently we observed a player who, while playing on a $100 table, was dealt an Ace to the dealer’s 8. He decided – for reasons unbeknownst to us, but we assume because the thought of putting down another $100 was too risky – to throw in an additional $10. Typically, he caught a deuce and was forced to stand on 13, after which he remarked, “Good thing I didn’t double the whole thing”. Granted, in this instance he was fortunate, but over the long run he loses money. Basic blackjack strategy tells you to double-down on 11, and half-stepping with a reduced double is contrary to the whole point of doubling-down. Furthermore, if the thought of putting another $100 even when you are sitting on an Ace is too daunting then you shouldn’t be at a $100 table in the first place.

Standing on a 12 against a dealer’s 2 or 3. Most blackjack players who do this cite the chance of busting as the reason for this. Why, they think, should I take the chance when the dealer is in a poor position also? The reason is that your position is worse. Although you will lose more hands than you’ll win regardless of what you do, the negative expectation is higher for you. Since you will only bust when you draw a 10, you have a 9 out of 13 chance that you will actually survive the hit. However you choose to look at it, it’s a losing hand, but if you hit you will end up saving somewhere around 2 – 5% of the money wagered, compared to when you stand.

Standing on a pair of 9’s against a dealer’s 9. I see this one all the time and it still baffles me. I know it seems risky to split your 9’s in this case but, believe it or not, you will save money in the long run. When you stand on 18 and the dealer holds a 9, you will often lose when the dealer catches a 10. If you split you will often push, and sometimes do better. Of course, you will occasionally lose both hands when you split those 9’s, but in the long run – again with the long run! – you will save approximately 8% of the money wagered, as opposed to when you stand.

Those were a few of the mistakes which we see again and again, all of which can be corrected to improve your game in the long run. Check back often for more articles on this subject. We hope you found these suggestions useful.


Next Big Thing: Multiplayer Blackjack Tournaments

As most casual observers have probably noticed, poker tournaments, both online and land-based varieties, have surged in popularity over the last few years. Whether daily events in online poker rooms, weekly televised tournaments with celebrities, or the mega-famous WSOP, poker tournaments and the attraction to them has become a virtual mainstay in the gambling community. Now, some people are trying to replicate the success of these tournaments by expanding the tournament structure to Blackjack.