The blackjack card game is a very popular online casino choice. In general terms, the aim of the game (also known as twenty one) is to challenge the dealer by securing a hand which scores higher than the dealer’s own cards, but without exceeding the maximum score of 21. Of course, luck plays a part in your efforts to succeed, but so does skill, knowledge and experience. Because it has a simple objective, many novices tend to underestimate some of the more complex or subtle aspects of the game. So here are some common mistakes beginner blackjack players make in casino games, which you should try to avoid if you want to increase your winning percentage.
Please, have a look to our online blackjack beginners guide to avoid these mistakes!
Failing to track the layout of the cards
Too many players treat blackjack as one diversion during a memorable evening, and thus pay little real attention to the cards already laid upon the table. And it’s precisely this kind of inattention which lies behind most of the common mistakes. Unless you notice the proportion of high or low cards already drawn, which changes after every shuffle, you will not be in a position to place strategic bets which reflect your real chances of winning. For instance, the early appearance of faces and aces should warn you that the odds are then stacked against bigger bets succeeding as the game progresses.
Not remembering to confirm the rules
Casino operators set the rules, but it’s mostly down to you to check them out carefully and note how they limit plays. For instance: Are you granted a surrender option? Just when are you allowed to double after a split? And will the dealer hit up until 17, or is it higher?
There will be table variations, and some will favour players more than others. So take time to analyse what’s really going on. And if you’re unsure about basic blackjack rules, put that right or you’re setting yourself up to learn the hard way.
Choosing tables using continuous shuffle machines
A continuous shuffle machine (CSM) generally contains four or so card decks ready to supply a newly shuffled deck of cards for the next round. But the routine is not the same as with traditional shufflers. A CSM will collect the discarded cards resulting from one or more previous rounds and collate them entirely at random. In effect, this is an ultra-efficient way to maintain the house edge throughout successive rounds. However, this also significantly increases the number of hands dealt and played per hour. Upping the speed of the session also reduces the time you have to observe the card layouts, as well as taxing your powers of concentration. Ultimately, this benefits the house by increasing your chances of losing. So find a table using automatic shuffling to increase the odds in your favour.
Becoming distracted by side bets
When playing online blackjack, side bets are varied and cheap, which is why novices find them so appealing. After a win or two they may be even harder to resist. The house edge is always high but small losses can seem to matter little compared to what’s at stake in a game. But all losses accumulate and casinos find side bets a consistently profitable option.
Thinking there’s a team play about to happen
Sooner or later, someone at the table will suggest all players should operate as a team to outplay the dealer. It’s usually that moment when everyone has been dealt a stiff hand that the self-appointed coach suggests someone will have to take a hit. Just ignore this and stick to your strategy – such false camaraderie is misplaced at best.
Aces: high or low?
Blackjack’s dual value aces (worth one or 11) can be awkward because you have to adjust your thinking accordingly. So an ace-6 hand can be 17, or just 7. Collecting another ace makes it 18, or 8. And then getting another 3 gives you 21 – or just 11!
But if you’re uncertain, just check with your dealer. A ‘hard’ ace scores as one: ace-6-10 = 17. But with a ‘soft’ ace, an ace-6 = 17. As regards strategy, you should always hit with a soft 17 or less.
Paid 6-5 or 3-2?
Choosing your casino table involves several considerations, but 6-5 or 3-2 payouts is a fundamental. This refers to what each particular house table will pay if you turn up a ‘natural’ (a two-card 21 or ‘blackjack’ = an ace plus 10 or a face card). Somewhere on or around the table, you will see a notice about blackjack payouts. For a £10 bet, a 3-2 payout nets £15, but a 6-5 payout returns only £12. So if your first choice table gives only 6-5 payouts, then find another table.
Understand sign language
Casinos expect players to use hand signals to show their intentions. This provides camera evidence which avoids misunderstandings and disputes. For instance, scratch your index finger on the table surface for a hit; to indicate a stay, wave your hand above your cards; flash a No.1 sign behind your cards to put out extra money; or precisely match your original bet and indicate a V using your first two fingers if you want to split a pair. Be aware that the signs will change according to the type of game you are playing.
Thinking what if …
Looking at blackjack plays with the benefit of hindsight is frustrating in the extreme. Most players are not professionals, but are still entitled to play as they please. So conducting a post-game analysis which starts: ‘If he had played this, but she had stayed on Soft 17 …’ will only make you mad. If you’re unhappy with a game, find another table – though no one can guarantee it will play any better.
It’s common to see certain amateur players getting carried away in a casino atmosphere. Intoxicated by the environment and perhaps buoyed by an initial win, they start to bet money they can’t afford to lose, or begin to make impossibly optimistic assumptions about perilous game situations.
Just remember: online blackjack can be an enjoyable and often rewarding game, but only if your expectations remain realistic. So for a comfortable and pleasant online blackjack experience, why not visit our JackpotCity casino. You just never know your luck!