If you have been playing blackjack for a while then you probably understand the concept of basic strategy. But according to blackjack expert John Grochowski, there are some common mistakes that most blackjack players are making every day. In a blackjack article for Atlantic City Weekly, Grochowski details how these misplayed hands can cost the player a lot of money at the blackjack tables.
Do Not Hit 8-8 Vs. A Dealer 7
Even though basic strategy says that you should always split aces and eights, some players will hit an 8-8 vs. a dealer’s 7. This makes no sense on the surface because any opportunity to ditch a sixteen in favor of two possible 18’s sounds pretty good. The author states that hitting the 16 against the 7 when you hold 8-8 will result in a longterm loss of almost $0.50 on the dollar. Splitting will yield a substantial win in the long run.
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Hitting a 10-4 Vs. A Dealer 6
Again, this seems like it should be common sense to the blackjack player but many will hit this hand. If you do, Grochowski says you can expect to lose about $0.30 on the dollar. You should stand pat with the hand and let the dealer take a hit if he/she holds a 16.
Other mistakes Grochowski says are common are these:
- Stand on A-2-4 Vs. Dealer 7
- Double Down on 7-5 Vs. Dealer 6
- Doubling Down with any hard total of 12 or higher
- Double Down with 5-4 Vs. Dealer 7
Why Do Players Make Basic Blackjack Mistakes?
Something very interesting about these mistakes is that they are made by players who have experience with basic blackjack strategy. You would expect a rookie to make these errors but not someone who has a passing understanding of the game. So, why would the experienced player commit these errors?
One reason is the failure to pay adequate attention to the game in progress. This is more likely to happen in a live casino than it is when playing blackjack online. Those who play blackjack from home are less likely to experience the same distractions that players in a live casino will.
It is also possible that players making these mistakes are deviating from basic strategy when they fall behind and lose some of their bankroll. It is never a good idea to abandon basic blackjack strategy, especially when losing. But sometimes players will bend what they know is sound decision making in an effort to win more money quickly.
Cockiness can also come into play. It is possible that a blackjack player will become too confident in their skill set and start tampering with the basic strategy formula. The result is sure to be eventual disaster. Basic strategy has worked in blackjack for many years. Do not try to reinvent the wheel.
How to Avoid These Common Blackjack Mistakes
One thing you can do to avoid common blackjack mistakes is to think about playing online for a while. You will find that the selection of online blackjack games is the same as it is in your local casino, and you can often play for less money than is required to play live.
The advantage of playing blackjack online is that you are not under pressure to act on your hand. You can act as you see fit. If it takes you five minutes to decide what to do with your hand, no one is going to complain about it. When you play online you set the tempo of the game.
Another way you can avoid these mistakes is to perhaps take a break from playing blackjack live for a while. You may have become burnt out and need a refresher. If you have an account with an online casino, give blackjack a rest and try a game like baccarat or craps just to change things up. When you go back to blackjack you may feel like the game is new to you again.
Reading good blackjack books is another way you can avoid mistakes. The best blackjack authors will reinforce basic strategy in a way that is entertaining and educational. Another advantage that comes from reading blackjack books is that they can inspire you to sharpen your game again.
In the end, nothing beats old fashioned practice. You need to be playing lots of blackjack hands so that all of these plays is firmly fixed in your mind. You need to be able to act on your hand intuitively. The play should be so routine that your action almost becomes one of muscle memory when you see the situation before you on the table.
The Effect of Blackjack Mistakes on Your Game
As Grochowski pointed out in his article, making mistakes at the blackjack table is very detrimental to your bankroll over time. It can eat away at the money you have stashed to play blackjack. The sinister thing is that it eats it away slowly so that you cannot tell you are being drained.
Losing $0.40 for every $1 you spend at the blackjack table might not seem like a big deal, but it’s huge. Online you can play blackjack for as little as $1 per hand. In a live casino you might be spending as much as $10 per hand just to play. In an hour you could easily play 100 hands if you have the bankroll. So, to expand the idea of losing $0.40 for every $1 invested, you would lose $400 if you spent $1,000. That’s money that most of us simply cannot afford to lose.
The other effect of making blackjack mistakes is one of morale. It beats you down and makes you think you are not a good player. You will begin to question your own skills and this is the beginning of the end for any gambler. When you play blackjack you need to do so with the confidence that you will be a winner.
The ultimate result is making too many blackjack mistakes is that you will simply go broke and no longer be able to play the game that you love. None of us have an endless supply of money. If you want to keep playing blackjack, you have to win at some point. Otherwise, the whole act of playing is an exercise in futility.
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