Mistakes to Avoid in Blackjack if You Want to Win

By Mia Chapman Updated
Online blackjack mistakes to avoid

It’s common knowledge that blackjack is one of the best and most preferred table games in gambling. Players can enjoy it regardless of where they play it – whether it’s at an online casino or at a brick-and-mortar one.

While it’s a popular game among avid punters, it’s vital to remember the rules and stick to your strategy in order to win. If played properly, blackjack has one of the lowest house edges in casinos compared to other games. Follow these tips to help you avoid common blackjack mistakes and win instead!

Before Playing a Game of Blackjack

First and most importantly, when you sit down to play a game of blackjack, your main goal should be to have fun. It’s a fast-paced game in which luck is involved, so it’s all about having a good time and enjoying yourself.

Having said that, if you’re playing in a live casino with other players, keep in mind that your actions can have an impact on the other players and vice versa. It can really affect the vibe when a player is being obnoxious, rude or angry.

But whether you choose to play at an online casino or at a land-based casino, there are some mistakes that many gamblers can avoid when playing blackjack.

1. Not Understanding the Blackjack Table Rules

First thing first, every casino has different rules for blackjack. Normally, these rules are written on the table felt, but they might also be on a sign next to the card shoe. This should be the first thing you look out for when picking a blackjack table.

A common blackjack table layout usually pays 3 to 2, but in recent years this has changed to 6 to 5. What does this mean? Well, with a 6 to 5 payout ratio, it means a greater house edge for the casino. To break it down, if you bet $100 at a 3 to 2 ratio, you would get a payout worth $150. However, with a 6 to 5 ratio, you would get $120.

Technically, you can reduce the house edge if you play like a pro or know how to card count. But it’s best to pick a table with a lower house edge first instead of taking the risk of trying to lower it, so always go for a blackjack table with 6:5.

2. Playing Too Safely

Another mistake that blackjack players tend to make is holding back. It might seem smart not to hit when you’re on 15 or 16 points, because you might lose your money. But to succeed at blackjack means to have a very good strategy.

If the dealer shows a face card, then you need to pull the trigger and take another card. It’s an amazing feeling when you make a brave hit and see that small card that gives your hand a total of 20 or 21.

3. Playing Not Safely Enough

On one end of the scale are players who play too conservatively, but on the other end are the players who play a little to dangerously. It’s true that blackjack is a game of luck as well as skill, but hitting when you’re on a 17 might not be smart choice.

Trying to predict the next card and getting a good feeling about it, is sometimes not enough to help you win. Likewise, playing overly aggressively can quickly see your bankroll go down.

4. Not Knowing When to Stop

Blackjack is known for its streaks of good and bad luck, as already mentioned. While every hand is a unique event, it’s important to know when to walk away and avoid chasing your losses. Gambling is way more fun and exciting when you know your limits.

5. Opting for Insurance

One of the most common mistakes in blackjack is considering insurance. This option comes up when the dealer’s face up card is an Ace. You have the option to pay half the amount of your bet for the insurance and if you lose it will cover your losses 2:1.

But wait! The odds for the dealer to have a blackjack are statistically proven to be 9:4 against. That means that a player will actually lose more from taking the insurance, than letting it ride out without it.

6. Not Knowing When to Double Down

Doubling down refers to the process of doubling your first bet, which means that you will receive one more card for your hand. A general rule is to always double down on an 11, because there’s a high chance that you will get a 10 from the deck and get a blackjack.

The only time when you really shouldn’t double down is when the dealer shows an ace and stays on soft 17.

7. Choosing to Not Split Aces

Splitting Aces might be frowned upon in a game of blackjack, but at the end of the day you need to be looking out for yourself. You should always try and maximise your expected value in every hand of blackjack you play.

If you get a pair of Aces, it can be a pretty weak hand and quite useless. However, if you split them into two separate hands, there’s great potential to get some really good hands. There is a 31% chance that you will get a 10 from a deck, in which case it would instantly turn your hand into a blackjack. But even if you don’t there are still plenty of other options that could still turn your hand into a powerful one.

8. Not Splitting a 9

Apart from when the dealer shows a 7, you should always split a pair of 9s. The reason is that a pair of 9s gives you 18, but if the dealer shows a 9, you need to imagine that they might have a face card and will make 19. In this case, you will lose by a very close 1 and lose your money.

Whereas if you split the 9s, you have less chance of busting either hand and have more chance of improving each hand. This way gets you more options.

9. Choosing to Stand on 12 Against 2

If a player stands on a 12, most people might say that it was the wise choice. The smart choice, however, would be to hit, instead of standing. By standing, the player is avoiding the possibility to bust before the dealer does.

While that’s fair enough, the risk actually outweighs it. With 12, there are only four cards in the deck that can hurt you. But there are also nine cards in the deck that can improve your hand or not harm it. What choice are you going to make? With that logic, it’s worth taking a hit and gamble on your odds.

10. Choosing to Split the 10s

This is a major mistake that any blackjack player can make. Similar to splitting the Aces, many players think that if they split the 10s, especially when the dealer has a face-up card in the 2 to 6 range, it will provide them with more rewards due to having more hands at play.

While it’s understandable why a punter might think that way, there is, however, a small difference. A pair of 10s is already a 20 out of the 21 needed for blackjack. The chances of drawing another ten are not so high, so instead of two high hands and double prizes, it’s more likely that you will end up with low and losing hands.

11. Choosing to Hit a Pair of 4s

When the dealer shows a 5 or 6, it’s actually a mistake not to choose to split the 4s. It’s a common belief that the chances of busting are non-existent if a player were to hit. But when the dealer has a 5 or 6 against you, it’s actually them who is more likely to bust.

It’s best to play as many hands as possible before the dealer does, as it helps increase your chances to profit and get more money into the action.

12. Choosing to Stand on 16

Sometimes it may seem like the odds are in the favour of the dealer, which might make some players reluctant to hit. Doing some simple math though, you soon realise that sometimes odds might be slightly better if you hit.

If you’re dealt with a 16 and the dealer shows an Ace, it’s better to hit. Why? It’s all part of the long game strategy. Let’s face it, you’re very likely to bust because if you get anything higher than a 5, you lose. However, the aim is to lose less in the long term instead of more in the short term.

So, you’ll most likely bust, but in the great scheme of things, you will lose less. Some casinos offer a “surrender” option, where you’re allowed to give up your hand and restore half your bet after the first cards are dealt. In this case, it’s better to take advantage of this if you have a 16 going against a 9, 10 or an Ace.

13. Choosing to Stand on 17

Don’t make the mistake of not going ahead with the golden rule of blackjack – not choosing to stand on a soft 17. Players who choose to stand on 17 will lose more money by standing than hitting. Getting 17 is when there’s an Ace valued at 11 and a 6.

It feels more comfortable to stand, but a dealer will always hit on a 17 because it increases the house edge. But if it’s more profitable for the casino to bet on hitting a soft 17, then why wouldn’t be the same for the player? That’s why it’s the golden rule to never stand on a soft 17.

14. Making Side Wagers

Apart from money insurance, there are different side wagers that can be offered at blackjack tables. There’s plenty of information online that players can find if they want to do their own research. Although, we don’t recommend it because most blackjack side wages aren’t great and should be ignored.

Side wagers aren’t there to help you regardless of how appealing some can look. They are always added to get punters to risk more and to help make more money for the casinos.

15. Ignoring VIP Clubs

Most online casinos offer some sort of VIP club or loyalty program. Some players think that the purpose of the programs is to get them to gamble more. While that may be true, if played correctly, it can benefit you.

The program tracks how much you bet and play and gives a small percentage of the money back. Sometimes these are free spins or other rewards and can be quite advantageous to any player.

Follow These Tips and Become a Pro

Blackjack may seem like a game of luck and a simple one to play. The truth is that it’s an absolute must for every type of player to become acquainted with the rules and style of the gameplay. The mistakes mentioned above are just some that gamblers can avoid if they follow our tips. It will surely help improve and streamline your strategy.

It’s even beneficial for the most talented and experienced players to never stop learning and reading, because you never know what small mistake could be holding you back from winning more. If you’re feeling confident and ready to play, then pick one of the best online blackjack for real money sites in Australia and test your skills.

To summarise, the worst blackjack sin you can commit is playing on a table that pays 6 to 5 for a blackjack and the second is taking on money insurance. Both of these will cost you unnecessary money and they’re the types of mistakes that are easily avoidable.

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