Blackjack is one of the most popular casino games around. Movies like 21 and Rainman highlight this game and show people just how much can be won at a table. While the game is indeed easy enough to understand and learn to play, winning at it is a different story.
Some people who are good at math and have great memory try card reading to up their stakes at winning. While this is a good strategy to follow, sometimes people can get carried away, get discovered, and are banned from playing the game because of it. Sure, card counting is not illegal but then again, it isn’t something casinos want you to do.
Others who don’t really have what it takes to become a card counter try their luck at blackjack and do end up winning a good amount until they make the usual mistakes newbie players make with this game. If you want to increase your chances of winning at blackjack when you play, here are some of the mistakes you need to avoid:
Trusting purely on your instinct – While some degree of luck is needed when you play blackjack, there is still something to be said about relying entirely on luck or gut feel when playing this game. If you feel that the banker is going to bust or the next card you ask for will take you to 21, even if you already have a 16, then you are more than likely to lose. Thinking that gut feeling can help you win is a surefire way to lose a lot of money on the blackjack table.
Not choosing your table wisely – Most newbies make the mistake of sitting at any random blackjack table without taking into consideration the dealer’s playing style. Observe how a dealer plays before you decide to play. One thing to look out for is if a dealer stands on any hand that is a soft seventeen. Also, take note if a dealer allows a player to split a second pair of cards that are identical. If you find a dealer doing this, then you have a good table to join in.
Being afraid of going bust – If you are scared of going over 21, even though your cards are only a 12, then you might find yourself losing more than winning. It’s a good idea to stand on a 15 or 16 but never be too scared to risk a 12 when playing blackjack. Taking a risk on cards that total 12 or even 13 will help increase your chances of winning instead of your chances of losing.
Playing like a dealer – You are not the dealer therefore you should not play like them. Standing only when you hit 17 is a huge risk. Standing at 15 or 16 is safer and will often give you a higher chance of winning. Always keep in mind that dealers actually have nothing to lose since they are not playing with their own money. You, however, are playing with your own money. So always keep in mind that dealers will always stand on 17 but will risk it when cards are lower than that. They can risk it but you can’t.
Not trying to learn how to count cards – As mentioned earlier, reading cards helps increase your chances of winning. If you have a knack for math and are willing to learn, you might do well to learn how to count cards. You should also learn how to hide such a skill so as to prevent getting kicked out and banned from any casino. All you have to do is to find tutorials and books on how to count cards and you will be able to learn how to do it. If you really can’t swing it, at least you tried.
Taking insurance on a hand – The option of insurance only emerges when the dealer’s hand has an ace. Insurance is when you pay an additional 50 percent of your bet. Most of the time, this doesn’t work out well for the player since the odds of your dealer having a blackjack is pretty slim. The house edge for this is higher which means you will lose more than will win.
Splitting two tens – When you have 2 tens after the cards are dealt, it is tempting to split this for a chance of winning twice what you’re expecting to win. The only way your dealer will beat this hand is if they get 21 or blackjack. If you split two tens, you stand a chance of getting lower cards to complete each hand, which increases your chances of losing to the dealer.
Trying to get to 21 as much as possible – Some people have this weird compulsion to get to 21 even when they already have a 16 or 17. This however is dependent on what card the dealer has face up. If they have a 5 card face up, you can hold your cards, even when you only have a hand that is as low as 12.
Playing at a table with a CSM (Continuous Shuffle Machine) – This mistake is difficult to avoid if the casino you’re visiting is one that uses such a device on all their tables. The reason why it’s a mistake to play on tables that have this is because you end up playing more hands per hour than if the dealer hand shuffles the cards. With a CSM, shuffling takes but a few seconds and ups your per-hour number of hands to 100 instead of the usual 80 hands that regular tables deal.
These are a few of the things most newbie blackjack players make. There are a few other mistakes that other players make that are not that common but are still somewhat prevalent among blackjack aficionados. These include playing without learning what the table’s rules are, not having a basic playing strategy, and playing when you’re lost more than your loss limit. These are mistakes you should avoid not only with blackjack but with other table games as well.