Blackjack is one of the table games in casinos that everyone should learn to play. It’s among the most popular card games and can be enjoyed by anyone.
Due to the low-entry barriers, blackjack tables are often full of players with varying skill levels. Some players might be professionals, while others could be playing for the very first time.
While casinos should never ward off beginners, there are a few bad habits that are common amongst bad blackjack players. These are far too prevalent in the gambling community. And once they’re picked up, they can be nearly impossible to break.
If you’re still at the early stages of your gambling experience and notice yourself forming bad habits, it’s time to make a change. Here are seven bad habits that real money blackjack players should break immediately.
Failing to Learn Strategy and Casino Etiquette
In casino culture, there is a hierarchy of the types of casino games that gamblers play. For example, fringe gamblers and beginners often lean towards playing slots. While more accomplished ones gravitate towards games that place more of an emphasis on skill.
One of these skill-based games is blackjack. The game is slightly more complicated than others but not tricky enough to scare off new players.
Luckily for anyone who is somewhat new to the game, you can follow an infallible set of rules while learning to play. This is commonly known as the basic strategy of blackjack.
Committing this strategy to memory is the simplest way to succeed at the tables. But if you refuse to consult it, you will risk losing money at an alarming rate.
Similar to basic strategy, standard casino etiquette should be displayed by every single player. Failure to do so can land you in hot water with other players, dealers, and most importantly, the house.
Putting Their Own Spin on Basic Strategy
Gamblers who are incapable of winning money at blackjack often commit the same type of careless mistakes.
As I said, anyone who refuses to play by basic blackjack strategy is essentially thumbing their nose at an institution that is proven to be effective. While you can’t shift the odds in your favor by using basic strategy, you can limit the house edge to less than a percent.
Some people think the best way to gain the upper hand on the house is by taking a few creative liberties. These tactics often involve:
- Splitting face cards and tens to “increase” the likelihood of blackjack
- Standing on 12 when the dealer is showing a 2
- Abiding by the “only split aces and eights” ploy
- Standing on 15 and 16 when a dealer is showing a strong card
These types of misplayed hands play out at casinos all the time and are one of the main reasons gamblers lose money. Deviating from basic strategy isn’t going to improve your chances. In fact, the opposite is often true.
The more blackjack you play, the more evident this will become.
Playing With the Wrong Crowd
It’s safe to say that most players have a friend or a group of friends that first introduced them to blackjack. It might have been at a party, a casual get-together, or even when you were a kid at summer camp.
It’s always a good idea to cross-check every piece of gambling advice you hear, especially when your hard-earned money is on the line. New gamblers are impressionable, and the lessons they learn early on can stick with them for a long time.
Another common problem I hear about is some gamblers being unable to separate themselves from the pack. They might find it hard to gamble by themselves.
It’s a luxury to be able to gamble with people you enjoy. But you shouldn’t feel locked into a certain group of people. By limiting your gambling experience, you can easily put severe limitations on future earnings.
Not Being Open to Constructive Criticism
Blackjack is a social game. If you choose to play it at a casino, there’s virtually no way you can avoid conversing with other players.
For some of the more extroverted players out there, that probably sounds like a good thing. But if you don’t consider yourself to be a social butterfly, that might seem like a deal-breaker.
Most other gamblers are a joy to be around. The gambling community, at its core, is mostly good. And other players want you to succeed. In games like blackjack, a rising tide lifts all boats.
One of the things rookie players can’t seem to wrap their heads around is the blackjack culture. Unfortunately, many gamblers believe that the way other players play cards can affect their results as well.
While this is not the case, it means other players can be vocal when you make mistakes. One clear sign of a terrible blackjack player is being unable to handle any form of criticism.
Look, no one likes to be told they’re wrong. But if someone is offering you free advice, you should probably consider taking it.
In these types of in-game situations, it’s always best to verify everything with the dealer. Someone’s heart might be in the right place. But as I said earlier, misinformation is commonplace in casinos.
Letting Other Players’ Prosperity Ruin Their Mood
One of the cardinal rules of casinos is to leave your emotions at the front door. Unpredictable mood swings are a gambler’s worst enemy because they result in losing play.
To make matters worse, oftentimes, someone at your table will win consecutive hands and grow their chip stack. Newer gamblers—younger ones, in particular—tend to hold feelings of animosity towards players who are succeeding. However, under no circumstance is this acceptable.
Being a buzzkill by resenting other players for playing well is petulant and has no place at the table. You wouldn’t want someone putting a damper on your success, so it’s important to keep a calm mind when gambling for real money.
Drawing the Ire of Other Gamblers
There are far too many different types of blackjack players at the average casino. The diversity makes the gambling experience enjoyable and interesting, but occasionally individual gamblers will stick out. Typically, new gamblers are either shy and unsure of themselves or raucous and braggadocious.
For example, the casino I commonly frequent is next to several colleges. Trust me when I say that one is more confident in their ability than a drunk college student who is gambling for the first time.
It can be irritating to play at a table with someone who is over the top and obnoxious. But if they can back up their excessive noise levels with quality play, there isn’t much to say.
However, new gamblers who are both cocky and terrible at gambling will make few friends and several enemies at the tables. One of the best pieces of advice I’ve heard when gambling is to act like you’ve been there before. Whether you’re up big or losing your bankroll, carry yourself like a veteran instead of a rookie.
Using Gambling as an Excuse to Drink
One of the biggest gambling mistakes to avoid at the blackjack tables is giving in to the temptation of free alcohol.
I can honestly say I’ve never seen a severely inebriated gambler be successful at blackjack tables. Instead, they often make foolish mistakes and ruin any chances they had of walking away with money.
Gamblers are all too susceptible to forming bad habits that decrease their chances of winning money.
When playing games that are more demanding than others, like blackjack, frequent mistakes are common. That can certainly be the case when analyzing the playing habits of subpar blackjack players.
One of the most common bad habits is an inability to learn and follow basic strategy. Instead, gamblers often choose to play by their own rules, fully expecting to flip the house edge.
Bad blackjack players often refuse to take constructive criticism and choose to get defensive.
While these unfortunate practices are mildly irritating, the most damaging is the tendency to resent other players for winning. Any player who is unable to celebrate the successes of other players is typically reviled.
Hopefully, none of these points are relevant to you. But if you’re like the slew of bad blackjack players who succumb to unfortunate habits, it’s important to recognize your mistakes and move past them.