What Are The Most Common Blackjack Mistakes?
Written by Julie
Published date · Aug. 16, 2019 | Last Updated · July 6, 2022 | Read Time: 6 mins
Even the best blackjack players make a mistake from time to time. It’s not possible to win every hand in a game of blackjack. But some mistakes are unbearable. So, let us come to your rescue and alarm you about some of the most common blackjack mistakes.
Some are specific mistakes, and some are generalised mistakes. For example, sitting on a blackjack table without knowing the basics of the game is one of the most expensive mistakes you can make.
So, let’s get into some of the most common but costly blackjack mistakes you might make. The blackjack rules entice players to try not to make any mistakes and win some money.
Mistake 1: Agreeing to Insurance
It’s a classic blackjack mistake that beginners make, and it’s also a classic move by the dealers. You should already know that insurance is a side bet in blackjack (click the link to read more). We highly discourage taking any side bets for the sake of the transparency of the game, that in itself can be a mistake to begin with.
The basic idea of insurance is straightforward. If the dealer’s upcard is an Ace, you have the liberty to place a bet that the dealer will have a blackjack. It means you will lose your initial deposit, but the insurance bet will pay on a ratio of 2:1. But the chances of the dealer’s hole card being high-value is around 30%, so your chance of winning go down as well.
Despite knowing this, you are most likely to make this mistake. Because the dealer will ask if you would like to take an even-money bet, by even money, he/she means an insurance bet and most beginners don’t understand the gesture.
The Insurance bet is always less profitable than it might seem. The urge to win some money should always be resisted. Don’t make this common blackjack mistake the next time you sit on a blackjack table.
Mistake 2: Not Knowing the Conditions
Whether you like to play in a brick and mortar casino or an online casino, it’s always wise to learn the conditions first. Finding out the basic rules of the specific casino is crucial for a smooth blackjack card game.
For starters, knowing the payout rate is very important. Look for the fine print on the table or wherever the instructions are written. Payout rate indicates the rate you might get rewarded during the game.
The two most common payout rates are 6-to-5 and 3-to-2. If you find the payout rate to be 3-to-2, it’s a fair table. But if you see anything like 6-to-5 or worse, stay miles away from that table. The latter case is becoming more prominent in recent years, so it’s essential to be careful.
Let’s explain the payout rate. If it says 3-to-2, it means you will get $30 on a $20 bet. But if the bet says 6-to-5, it means you will only get $24 for a $20 bet. Its always better to know the rules before you start playing.
Also, look for the minimum bets at the table. As a beginner, start with the lowest ones. If you search thoroughly, you might find tables that take $2-$3 as a minimum bet. Start with those. Looking out for particular restrictions on doubling down or hitting is also a good practice before making the first bet.
Mistake 3: Taking the Team Approach for Granted
This is a typical blackjack mistake than a lot of people would like to admit. It happens in every casino. You might be in the impression that all the players play together to beat the dealer. But the concept is wrong. Yes, you need to beat the dealers, but not collectively. Each player is playing for their sake, and there is no team effort in blackjack.
Someone at your table might start shouting, “Someone double down, we can beat him”. Don’t listen to them and use your better judgment. Play with what you’ve learned so far and apply the basic blackjack strategy. You are your best friend, and only you can stop yourself from making a horrible blackjack mistake.
Let’s point out the primary strategies for your convenience:
- Always split 8s and Aces;
- If your hand is a hard 17 or more, stand
- If your hand sums up to an 11, double down if the dealer’s showing card is anything but an Ace;
- Draw till you get a 17 if the dealer has an Ace or anything more than a 7.
Mistake 4: Splitting Wrong Cards
Splitting the wrong cards is one of the most common blackjack mistakes.
In some cases, it is crucial to split, and the other instances require other actions. For example, splitting 10s. The logic behind splitting a 10s is that we find it better to play with two 20s rather than one.
The problem is frequency. Yes, 10s and picture cards are more than available in a deck of cards, but they don’t make the deck. There are plenty of other cards and splitting 10s will increase the possibility of a less valued card to be paired with your 10.
The result might be devastating. If you do the math correctly, it will become evident that the chances of winning with a single 20 are much higher than splitting the 10s. So, always stand on a 20 rather than splitting it.
Mistake 5: Being Ignorant to Sign Language
It’s unlikely that you will see the players saying their actions out loud. It mostly happens in movies. In real life, blackjack is a game of gestures. Not knowing the proper gestures is indeed a big blackjack mistake.
The goal of using hand signals rather than verbal communication is to avoid any misunderstandings. The surveillance cameras will pick up whatever signal you give and will be used against you if the house finds proper reasons. Let’s take a look at some of the commonly used hand signals.
- You cannot touch the cards that are facing up
- If you want to hit, scratch the table using your index finger
- Wave your hands over the cards to indicate a stand
- Put extra money on the table and show No. 1 behind the cards
- Make a V with your index and middle finger after matching your original bet to indicate a split
These rules are applicable for multi-deck blackjack game. For a single deck or a double-deck blackjack game, the rules are different. Hence, blackjack mistakes become different.
- You can use one hand to hold the cards
- Brush the edge of the cards on the table for a hit
- Slide the top edges of your cards under your betting money or chips for a stay
- Always put the extra cash or chip on the left side of your original bet if you want to split or double
Mistake 6: The Calculation Mistake of Aces
We get it, Aces are the trickiest part of a blackjack game because they possess two different values. Aces can be counted as 1 or 11 at the same time. It depends on your next move. Whether your hand is a soft hand or a hard hand will decide if you are going to make a blackjack mistake or not.
Let’s look at some examples. If your hand consists an Ace and a 7, it’s an 8 and an 18 at the same time. If you hit and get another Ace, it becomes 9 and 19. Adding any more cards might get you busted. So, it is wise to ask the dealer if you are not sure what your exact total is.
Combinations of Ace-2 through Ace-6 are not suitable for a stand. With a soft 17, you will only win if the dealer busts. So, hit anything less or equal to a soft 17.
Mistake 7: Get Close to 21 As Soon As Possible
According to basic blackjack strategies, you should get as close to 21 as possible to win. But many beginners take this the wrong way. They make getting to a 21 or close their only goal in the blackjack game. It is one of the biggest blackjacks mistakes one can make.
For example, if you have a 12 and the dealer is showing a 6 as his upcard, the temptation of hitting is justified. But professional players never make this blackjack mistake. It has a high chance of getting you busted.
The only logical move is to stand. The dealer needs a hard 17 or more before they can stand. The likelihood of the dealer getting to a hard 17 is less than you would imagine. Play the man rather than playing the game. Keeping this in mind will take you farther in the world of competitive gambling.
Avoiding petty blackjack mistakes should be your goal from now on. We’ve tried to compile the most common blackjack mistakes novice players might make. Know the decks of cards and the basic blackjack strategy before you consider yourself a blackjack player.