When you take up Blackjack, learning curves are a given. The strategic potential of the game provides the player with an extremely high edge, but also makes it a risky endeavour if you do not know what you are doing. Beginners are usually the most susceptible to making hasty decisions and being suckered into side bets. Fortunately, not everything has to be learned the hard way and if anything good can come out of making a terrible mistake, it is a lesson to be learned and a cautionary tale for the new generation of players, who have the privilege of reading about the most common Blackjack mistakes instead of making them.
The dangers of not learning and employing strategy to your gameplay
There is absolutely no point in joining a live Blackjack table if you do not know the basic Blackjack strategy. Learning and understanding the strategic rules of playing the game does not have to be a painstaking process, especially due to the fact that the basics are quite sufficient to eliminate the house edge. If you are under the impression that counting cards is the only way to be successful in Blackjack, rest assured that this notion couldn’t be further from the truth; although every new skill comes in handy, using only the optimal strategy without taking the time to count cards is all you need to beat the house.
Blackjack strategy charts and lessons can be easily found online and many software developers have integrated the strategy gameplay feature in their Blackjack releases, making the entire process quite effortless, especially if you are a Blackjack beginner.
Taking insurance when the dealer has an Ace
This may seem like a good idea, but in reality, if the dealer has an Ace, the chances of his hand being Blackjack are around 9:4 – against.
So, what may appear as a good deal is in fact a scheme designed to increase the house edge. If you take a closer look, you will notice that veteran players never use this option – for a reason.
The bad decision of splitting a pair of 10s and 5s
Although splitting is a great opportunity to double your chances, some cards should never be split. A pair that consists of two 5s is considered to be among the most valuable Blackjack hands. Splitting them may result in two weaker hands that can easily lead to a bust if you decide to hit them.
Splitting 10s should not be done for obvious reasons. It is unlikely that the hand of 20 will lose and, unless you were counting cards all along, this is one hand that you should definitely play as a whole.
Knowing when to Double Down
Doubling Down can be a very smart move, when, of course, there are reasonable chances that the next card will bring you close to 21, without resulting in a bust. The exception to this “rule” is when the dealer’s hole card is an Ace. Assuming that you play a Blackjack variant that employs the S17 rule, where the dealer stands on soft 17 hand, Doubling Down on 11s is not recommended and the player should simply Hit. In online casinos where the dealer can still Hit on soft 17 hand, the players are advised to use the Double Down option when the hand total is 11.
Basically, Doubling Down is always a good choice if the dealer does not have an Ace. For example, most players opt for this move if their hand total is 10 or 9 and the dealer’s card is 5 or 6.