Though games like poker, baccarat, and craps can be considered confusing by inexperienced players making their way to live and online casinos, blackjack is widely considered easy to pick up. While most players understand blackjack basics (getting closer to 21 than the dealer without going over), misplaced confidence may lead to blackjack mistakes. Fortunately for you, however, we here at Titan Casino are here to help. What follows is a list of the worst blackjack mistakes you can make, and (hopefully) how to avoid them.
Playing By Feel
Gambling for real money can be quite the rush, and that adrenaline can inspire players to make some otherwise questionable decisions. Oftentimes, these players will attribute their iffy calls to a “feeling” they have about what the outcome of the blackjack hand will be. Even the most seasoned professionals cannot predict the outcome of a deal with 100 percent certainty, so believing that you can sense how a hand will play out is one of the worst mistakes you could make.
Always Buying Insurance
At many casinos, players can opt to purchase insurance against a blackjack if the dealer’s top card is an ace. While some insurance can be a wise decision if the dealer has a 10-valued card (a 10 or higher), this outcome only happens one third of the time, reducing the efficacy of the insurance and making it an increasingly poor decision for the average player. Requesting insurance each and every time it’s available will effectively cancel out your initial bets and limit any traction you may gain by winning either bet.
Not Obeying the Casino’s Table Rules
If you’re playing blackjack online then you likely won’t have to worry about any strict table restrictions, as the process will be automated. Taking a seat in a live casino, however, subjects players to a bevy of rules and regulations that they may otherwise be unaware of. For example, if you’re playing a face-up blackjack you should not touch your cards, as some cheaters have been known to mark aces and other 10-valued cards once they’ve seen them.
Never handle your Online Casino chips once the hand has been played, as the dealer cannot be certain that you haven’t altered your bet based on the outcome of the hand. Likewise, it’s best to keep your chips in neat and orderly stacks, as sloppy piles of chips will cause similar issues with payouts and flow of play. While most of these tips may seem to deal with etiquette more than actual rules, remember that should a dealer experience enough issues with a player, they may call a pit boss to escort you from the table – and possibly from the casino altogether.
Failing to Consider the Type of Game You Are Playing
While the basics of blackjack are typically the same, many casinos alter the rules to improve their house advantage or draw in new players. Though most casinos instruct all dealers to stand on a soft 17, others allow them to play at their discretion. Other tables may draw from multiple decks of cards to throw off card counters or other statistically-minded players. Small shifts in the rules like this can alter your understanding of the game and result in some serious blackjack strategy mistakes.
Being Afraid to Make Bold Plays
Like many games of chance, players hitting the tables with reckless abandon may have success in the short term, only to see their stacks shrivel over time. Just because the game favors conservative play, however, doesn’t mean that players should be afraid to bet big when the odds are in their favor. When your cards are mid-level, such as ace-two (a hand known as a soft 13), and the dealer’s face up card is weak (say a 6 or lower), you will be in a strong position to make a winning hand. As such, doubling your bet in this scenario is a strong move, and will likely net you good money in the long run.
Similarly, some players might be nervous about the concept of splitting pairs. Aces and eights in particular should be split every time they are played, as they offer the best chance for a victory and a hefty payout.
Refusing to Surrender
In blackjack, as in war, there is no shame in surrendering. In fact, sometimes it is the only way to reduce one’s losses and live to fight another day. Hands like 15 and 16, which are too high to comfortably hit, but too low to comfortably stand, are an ideal time to surrender, as there is a high chance you will lose should you hit, but an equally high chance that a dealer will bust if they do.
Can you think of another blackjack mistake you’ve made before? Share it with us in the comments section below.