source: freepick
Avoid These Common Blackjack Mistakes (Source: freepik)

Blackjack is something of a rarity in casino gaming – if you apply some skill, you can improve your results. Unlike roulette, baccarat, or slots, which are all subject to pure luck, blackjack does have a  strategy for the thinking gamer. 

That’s not to say you can go on and make a consistent profit. The casino will still have a house edge over even the best blackjack players; the game is devised that way. If it didn’t have that house edge,  casinos would lose cash and close very soon after that. 

However, the house edge can come down to as low as a wafer-thin 0.5% for experienced players.  While that means, technically, that you are expected to lose 50 cents from every $100 you wager,  the margin is tiny. It’s so small that you are likely to make a little money in some of your sessions. 

So, what then are the common blackjack mistakes to avoid, which will improve your skill set and bring that house edge down? Whether you intend to play at a brick-and-mortar casino, or at one of the growing number of live dealer platforms online, we’ve all the details you need. 

To Take Another Card or Not

The biggest thing you need to grasp in blackjack is the value of ten. All the picture cards in blackjack  have that value, meaning that there are 16 tens in every 52-card deck (tens, jacks, queens, and  kings.) That makes it more likely that the next card to be dealt will be a ten over any other card. 

Now, you can use that knowledge to make assumptions about what might happen next at any stage of a blackjack hand. And you can use the dealer’s upcard as a guide. If the dealer has a poor upcard, like a 3, 4, 5, or 6, you might now reasonably assume his facedown card is value 10, giving him a  poor total of 13, 14, 15, or 16. He must now draw another card and is likely to go bust. 

With this in mind, you can sensibly stand on any poor total of your own – even 12 or 13! Why risk-taking another card and busting when the dealer is starting from such a weak position? Of course,  you may stand on 13, and the dealer could go on to win the hand, but the longer-term strategy is sound. 

You can flip this on its head: if the dealer has a strong upcard like 8, 9, or 10, then you must now assume their facedown card is value 10, giving them a strong total of between 18 and 20. Now, you need to be more ambitious with your own starting hand. If it’s 16 or even 17, you should consider taking another card because you must, in this instance, get as close to 21 as possible to be in with a chance of winning the hand. 

One way to become more confident in your strategy is to join a live dealer table online, like those produced by Evolution or Pragmatic Play. That way, you get to watch other players at the table.  You’ll soon notice that the ones who tend to do well follow this basic blackjack strategy. 

Getting More Money onto the Table 

Blackjack is a game of even payouts – you win a hand, you get your stake back, matched by the house. However, to improve your profits over time, you want to be able to get more money onto the table during those hands where you believe you have a distinct advantage. 

One way to do this is by doubling down. Here, after receiving your first two cards, you can double your initial bet and play the hand with twice as much at stake. Clearly, there is a risk attached to this move since you could lose twice as much in the hand than you might otherwise have done. To make the strategy work, you should restrict the number of times you double down. Always double down  when your starting total is 11 (since it’s likely the next card is a 10, making you 21), and also when  you have ten (unless the dealer also shows a ten, otherwise you are doubling down when at risk of  getting the same score and therefore pushing).

The second way to add more money to the table is by splitting when you are dealt two of the same cards. However, a common mistake is to split when you are dealt two tens. While it might look like a  good idea, you will likely already have a winning hand, so why not only risk it but risk losing twice over? 

Download a Blackjack Hand Chart 

All the best blackjack guides will suggest that you download a blackjack hand chart from the internet. This will advise you of the best move to make in any situation, no matter what two cards you have and what card the dealer is showing. 

Following the advice will absolutely help your chances of returning a profit, at least in the short term. But remember, blackjack is still a game of luck, and the house edge, no matter how small you make it, is designed to cost your money in the long run. 

Published: 20 October 2021 04:00