I love blackjack: the thrill of winning well, the sense of trepidation and excitement as the dealer turns over second card, the feeling of victory when the dealer busts and I ve bet right. Because I ve been in the game more years than I can remember, I ve learnt a little about good strategy andŽ well.. boneheaded mistakes. Here are the seven most common error I see new players making. The list isn t exhaustive by any means. But take care to avoid these common pitfalls. It can only improve your chances of beating the house.
1. Betting high to compensate for losses
Never do this. A good blackjack strategy will always bet high when the shoe is in their favour (full of high value cards) and low when the it weighs in the casino s favor (low value cards in the shoe). Don t let emotion dictate how you bet. Use careful and consistent strategy based on the state of the current hand. If you try bet on a whim hoping you ll make your cash back, you could set for the poorhouse.
2. Using intuition instead of solid strategy
This overlaps with point number one, somewhat. But it s to emphasize the importance of using careful strategy to play blackjack and not some belief that the gods of chance are smiling down at you. If I had a dollar for every time a player played because he had a feeling I d be wealthier than most casinos by now.
3. Never doubling down
Sometimes it s good to be prudent in a game of blackjack. But other times it s absolutely better to take a risk and double your bet. If your card values are high and the dealer s upcard is a low number, it makes sense to take the risk in the hope that the dealer will bust.
4. Blackjack is blackjack
Not entirely true. The game has the same general rules, and the object of course is to get as high a value as possible without busting, but high enough to beat the dealer. But there are many variations of blackjack, all of which will affect your chances of success. The more decks in play, for instance, the longer it will take to card count. The lower the deck penetration the less accurate your running count will be. Does the dealer have to hit or stand on soft 17? This affects your odds slightly. If a dealer must hit on hard 17, it tends to advantage the house by about 0.5 , for instance.
5. Surrender is for wimps
Surrendering in a hand of blackjack doesn t mean you re giving up. Quite the opposite, in fact. A good blackjack player knows when to cut his losses and surrender and when to stay in the game and fight. As much as blackjack is a strategic game, there s obviously an enormous chance element that is beyond your control that s why it s called gambling! Play smart.
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