Every gambler makes mistakes, and some of them are more embarrassing than others. Blackjack players are no exception. But all you need to know are a few simple things and you can avoid making embarrassing mistakes at the blackjack table.
Here are seven ways to avoid making embarrassing mistakes when you’re playing blackjack. And some of these simple steps are also going to help you increase your odds of winning.
And if you do make a mistake, simply learn from it so you don’t make the same mistake again. It’s also a good idea to explain to the dealer that it’s your first time playing blackjack for real money. The dealer can help you avoid making a big mistake.
1 – Know How to Stand
When you don’t want to be dealt any more cards you want to stand. You can stand after receiving your first two cards at the blackjack table, or after receiving any number of other cards.
You can signal to the dealer that you want to stand a couple different ways. The most important thing to do is say out loud the word stand.
You can also place the flat of your hand over your cards and move it from side to side. This is a signal that you want to stand. Another way to stand is to slide your cards under your wager. But make sure this is used in the casino where you’re playing, because not every casino uses this hand signal.
The most important thing you need to do when you’re playing a blackjack hand is to always say what you intend. You can use hand signals as well, but I never recommend only using hand signals. When you say what you’re doing and use hand signals, the dealer can hear what you want to do and the dealer and the cameras recording the game action both can see your hand signal.
This is true when you stand and when you make any of the other common playing decisions explained on this page.
2 – Know How to Hit
When you hit it means getting another card from the dealer. When you want another card, say hit and point to your cards. Some players tap their cards, but the proper signal is to point.
When you point at your cards and say hit, there’s no room for error. The dealer will clearly understand what you want to do.
The dealer then moves to the next player in the hand and you sit back and wait for the dealer hand to be revealed.
You used the proper hand signals while also speaking what you intended to do. This is how you can guarantee you’re not making mistakes playing blackjack.
3 – Know How to Double Down
When you have a total of 9 to 11 against certain dealer cards you want to double down. You can learn more about knowing when this is the best play in the final section on this page.
Doubling down means that you double your original wager amount and you receive exactly one more card and then stand. Here’s how to properly double down.
Slide an extra wager, the same amount as your original wager, out to where you placed your original bet and say double or double down. The dealer then gives you one card and moves to the next player at the table.
The ability to double down on key hands is one of the ways that you can keep the casino edge low and improves your chance to win. You won’t double down often, but when you do it in the right situation it can be profitable.
Make sure that you understand how to double down properly so the dealer doesn’t make a mistake.
4 – Know How to Split Pairs
Sometimes when you’re playing blackjack you get two cards of the same rank. When you have a pair of the same cards you have the option of splitting the two cards into two hands, and playing each hand separately. Here’s how to split a pair into two hands.
Turn both cards face up on the table, and then place them side by side so they’re not touching each other. Then slide a wager the same size as your original wager forward behind the card to the right and say split.
Some pairs you always split and some pairs you never split. And some pairs you split sometimes and don’t split other time.
For example, you always split aces when you have a pair and also when you have a pair of 8’s. And you never split a pair of 5’s. You can learn more about when to split and not split in the last section on this page.
5 – Understand Insurance
Blackjack insurance is a special side wager the dealer offers the players when the dealer has an ace showing. You have the opportunity to place a second wager of half your original wager. When you take insurance and the dealer has a blackjack you lose your first wager and win 2 to 1 on your insurance wager. When this happens you break even on the hand.
But when the dealer doesn’t have a blackjack you lose the insurance wager and play your first wager and hand as normal. This looks like a decent wager to many blackjack players, but it’s not a good risk.
If you want to take insurance you say yes when the dealer asks and slide a wager forward half the size of your first wager. But the best play is to always say no when the dealer asks if you want insurance.
6 – Understand the Casino’s Rules
Blackjack dealers follow a simple set of rules. The dealer rules are always posted on the table and the dealer either hits or stands on a soft 17. A soft 17 is a hand that totals 17 including an ace that counts as 11.
The dealer follows these rules and you don’t have to do anything, but it’s good to know what the dealer has to do. If you have a hard 16 and the dealer is showing a six, you know you should probably stand and hope the dealer busts.
If the dealer has a high down card he or she has a high chance of busting. But if you hit your 16 you have a high chance to bust, and if you bust before the dealer busts you lose.
7 – Use Blackjack Strategy
In the example in the last section about standing on a 16 against a dealer 6, it probably makes sense to play this way. But other situations make it harder to figure out the best play. But if you want t have the best chance to win you need to use the best blackjack strategy on all of your hands.
You don’t have to figure out the best strategy on your own. You can use a blackjack card or chart that includes all of the best strategy plays.
Don’t play any more blackjack without a strategy card or chart. You can use them at the table when you play, and it won’t take long before you know most of the correct plays.
Now you know all of the common plays you have to make when you play blackjack and the hand signals that some players use. Remember to state what you want to do loud enough for the dealer to hear it, even if you use hand signals. This way there’s no chance of your action being misinterpreted.
It helps you make proper playing decisions at the blackjack table when you understand how the dealer rules work. You should never follow the rules the dealer uses, because it’s going to cost you money.
Instead, use proper blackjack strategy every time you play. This gives you the best chance to win.