Blackjack: 5 Mistakes Winners Don’t Make
Blackjack is a game where the player can gain a significant advantage by making the right plays. Consequently, by making the incorrect plays, can negatively effect the house advantage as well.
Find out the top five mistakes made on the blackjack table…and remember them on your next casino visit!
I’ve been playing blackjack in casinos for some 35 years, and that includes many casinos in the South. During this time, I have seen many players who are doomed to lose because they exhibit one or more of the following characteristics when they play:
1. Playing by the Seat of Their Pants
You would think in this day and age all blackjack players would know that to win at blackjack they must learn, and use correctly, the basic playing strategy. The basic strategy has been around for a long time and is readily available in books, magazines and on the Internet. For a couple of bucks you can even purchase a plastic strategy card and bring it with you when you play. How easy is that? Nevertheless, I would venture a guess that at best, 20% of the playing public knows basic strategy perfectly. Even the experienced players who tell me “sure I know basic strategy” rarely know all the plays. It is not good enough to know half the strategy and guess at the rest or worse, deviate from the right play because you get a “feeling.” When you play blackjack, you need to play like a robot. This means every time the dealer gives you a 16 and he shows a 10, you must hit, regardless if you lost the last time or last ten times you made this play. The same goes for the pair of 8s against a dealer 10. You shove out more money and split. Why? Because these are the correct plays to make, the ones that in the long run will either save you money or make you more money. Don’t believe me? I have billions of computer-generated hands to back me up.
2. Trying to Beat the House with a Betting Progression
I see this all the time. It seems players have a fascination with betting progressions because they mistakenly believe that what happens on previous hands will somehow affect their chances of winning future hands. Well it won’t and it can’t. In the history of blackjack, there has never been a study that proves your chances of winning the next hand increase based upon whether previous hands won (or lost). Using betting progression in blackjack might be fun because in the short run you might get to make some adrenalin-pumping, big bets that you will win. However, in the long run, guess what? The house edge doesn’t change one iota. And what’s worse, you will lose more using a betting progression in the long haul then just betting the same on every hand because your average bet increases when you use a progression. Betting progressions don’t work in the long run, so forget about it.
3. Not Knowing When to Quit
Player gets ahead by $100. The tide turns and he starts losing. What do you think the player does? Do you think he will quit with some of his profit intact, or keep playing to win back what he just lost? I would venture a guess that 90% of players would keep playing because of greed and the desire for action. I ask you this: Is it better to play three hours and wind up losing your profits back to the house or quit with a $100 profit after playing one hour? I know what I would do.
4. Playing Blackjack Games with Terrible Rules
Nowadays, there are some terrible blackjack games in casinos. For example, single-deck games that pay only 6-5 for a blackjack are terrible games. An eight-deck game where the dealer hits soft 17, and the player’s only option is to double down after pair splitting is a terrible game. Playing on a table that uses a continuous shuffling machine is a terrible blackjack game. There are so many good blackjack games with good rules that there is no excuse to play a bad game with terrible rules.
5. Believing the Game of Blackjack is All Luck
These players put blackjack in the same category as slots. It’s all luck, so why bother? You can say that about slots, roulette and most other casino games but you’d be dead wrong to say it about blackjack. Why? For the simple reason that blackjack is a game of skill and the odds can be changed in your favor if you know how to play the game skillfully.
Being a winner at blackjack is not rocket science. Take some time and learn the basic playing strategy. Bring along a strategy card with you when you play. Scout the tables and play only games with good rules. Watch the cards as they are played from one round to the next and only increase your bets after you’ve seen a disproportionate number of small cards in previous rounds (leaving a higher percentage of big cards in the unplayed decks). Just doing these simple things will help you become a winner.
Note: If you are still not convinced that an ‘average Joe’ can’t win at blackjack on a part-time basis, then do this: read the new book, The Blackjack Life by Nathaniel Tilton, or read his articles in my Blackjack Insider newsletter (www.bjinsider.com).
For more free blackjack tips, visit southerngaming.com/blackjack
Henry Tamburin is a blackjack and video poker expert. For a free copy of his Casino Gambling Catalog containing books, strategy cards, DVDs, and software for blackjack, video poker, and other casino games, call toll free 1-888-353-3234 (or view the catalog online at www.smartgaming.com). For a free three-month subscription to his monthly Blackjack Insider newsletter, go to www.bjinsider.com/freetrial. Tamburin’s websites are www.smartgaming.com and www.bjinsider.com. He is available as a guest speaker at conventions. Contact him at HTamburin@aol.com.
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