Common Mistakes That Cost New Blackjack Players Money

Serious Looking Gambler Playing Blackjack

Blackjack is one of the best casino games for people who have never gambled before. The game is entertaining, exciting, and fosters a sense of togetherness with other players at the table. It’s a perfect introduction to the world of gambling, and one of the optimal ways for aspiring gamblers to learn the ropes at the casino.

If you play the game correctly, blackjack has some of the best odds in the casino. That means you can play longer and gain more valuable experience betting, as long as you abide by the book. Some may argue that the game is more complicated than some others around the casino. This may be true, but you can learn how to play the game and maybe even win money with a little effort.

Like any other type of table game, mistakes are bound to happen. If you’re new to gambling and want to avoid losing money early, here are the seven most common mistakes that cost blackjack players money.

Playing Against the Book

One of the factors that makes real money blackjack enticing for beginners is the simplicity of the game’s strategy. If you follow specific rules and play with perfect strategy, you should win almost half of your hands over time. The manner you approach each hand of blackjack changes based on the cards you have and the card the dealer is showing.

Blackjack strategy is somewhat easy to learn, but it will require some time. However, in the interim, I recommend consulting a strategy card as you’re learning. Brand new players usually lose their money because they don’t understand basic strategy. If you’re ever confused about the correct move, it’s okay to ask your fellow players (if they’re competent players) or the dealer.

Closeup of a Spade Natural Blackjack

For some inexplicable reason, individual players think they can outsmart the game. I’ve seen newer gamblers ignore basic strategy, adamant that their style of play can beat the casino. There’s no way to outsmart the casino: the house always has an edge. The only way to beat the house is to learn to count cards.

Habitually Splitting Anything Besides Aces and Eights

The same types of players who ignore blackjack tips and strategies are the ones who split cards that should never be split. One of the easiest ways to frustrate other players and kill a hand is to split anything besides aces and eights consistently. A hard and fast rule in blackjack is to always split eights because 16 is a weak hand. Additionally, splitting aces gives you a chance to hit blackjack, and you can improve on a 12.

There are other cases you should split your hand based on the dealer’s up card. However, one of the most egregious errors at the blackjack table is to split 10s. You might think that splitting 10s gives you two chances to hit blackjack. The difference between splitting aces and 10s is that there are many more 10s in decks than aces.

By splitting 10s, gamblers are taking one of the best hands in blackjack and throwing it away. A 20 is going to beat the dealer a majority of the time. In my experience, gamblers who split 10s got lucky and hit a double blackjack several years ago. Now, they play foolishly in an attempt to recapture their past glory.

Checking Phones Between Hands

This might be controversial and polarizing, especially if you’re a fan of your smartphone. It’s a good idea to never look at your phone at a casino table. Dealers will ask you to put your phone away, and if you continue to check it, you may be asked to leave the table. A standard practice amongst gamblers is to step away from the table between hands to glance at their phones.

Person Checking Phone at a Casino Table

Checking your phone every so often isn’t going to cost you money. However, continually sliding back from the table to fire off texts and check Twitter takes your head out of the game. Blackjack isn’t complicated, but it rewards engaged gamblers. Not only is it bad casino etiquette, but I’ve found that gamblers who are frequently on their phone get distracted and are more prone to committing careless mistakes.

Playing Beyond Their Means

Always gamble at the table with the smallest minimum when you’re new to gambling. Unless money isn’t an issue for you, it’s a waste to play at a table with high rollers if you don’t know how to play. Every table at a casino designates the minimum and maximum somewhere on the table’s top.

Even if you question your skill level, it’s possible to spend hours at a table by betting the minimum and playing according to basic strategy. Inexperienced gamblers who insist on playing at tables with higher minimums typically do so for the wrong reasons. Either they convince themselves they can make money faster, or that their skills will speak for themselves.

If your bankroll is $100, you can lose every single hand and still play 20 hands of blackjack. If you take your bankroll to a $25 table, you can lose everything in four hands. The best way to hone your skills is to play. Sticking to tables with smaller minimums will give you more opportunities to improve at blackjack.

Chasing Casino Losses

Of all the mistakes that gamblers make, chasing losses is among the worst. The impulse is perfectly understandable: you lose a few hands and want to make your money back right away. To do so, you have to increase your bet. If you’re lucky enough to win, you’re out of the hole. But if you lose, the hole is suddenly much deeper.

Even gamblers with a lot of experience succumb to the temptation of chasing losses. But it’s unnecessary in a game like blackjack. I would argue that it’s inadvisable in almost every circumstance. As I said earlier, if you play with perfect strategy, you can lower the house edge to less than 1%. That means losses are to be expected, but over time, you should come close to breaking even.

Closeup of a Blackjack Hand on a Casino Table

When new gamblers chase losses, they expose themselves to the possibility of losing their entire bankroll. Sometimes, tables get cold, and you can go on a long losing streak. If you keep stacking losses and increasing your bet after each loss, you could be getting bounced from the table early. Never stack losses, especially for those of you who aren’t familiar with blackjack and gambling.

Failing to Stand up From the Table

The way to win money playing blackjack is to learn to count cards and slowly increase your stack of chips over long sessions. Gamblers who want to win money need to stay completely focused and block out distractions. Blackjack is somewhat fast-moving and calls for gamblers to flow from hand to hand. Casinos are full of distractions, and it can be challenging to lock in on the game at hand.

Some new gamblers take to the game quickly and can find themselves securing early wins. It’s next to impossible to take a break if you’re winning, but it’s crucial to sustained success. I suggest taking a hand off every 20 to 30 minutes to stretch your brain and give your mind a break.

Playing blackjack can be more mentally taxing than you’d anticipate. Regardless of how well you’re faring at the table, you need to stay as sharp as possible. New gamblers will hit a wall at some point, and their quality of play will rapidly decrease.

Playing With the Wrong Crowd

Most gamblers can recall who they were with their first time inside a casino. The person who brought you along or suggested a night out at the casino often becomes a gambling guide. If this person in question is a quality gambler, you’re in luck. But if the person is terrible at gambling, you could find yourself in trouble.

Anytime you’re new to an activity, it’s perfectly natural to accumulate as much knowledge as possible. New gamblers are impressionable and will take any advice thrown at them. One thing to know right off the bat is that the average player is not good at gambling. If you blindly follow the advice of someone who frequently loses money at the casino, you’ll develop bad habits.

Make sure to verify all information before you start spending money. New gamblers who ignore basic blackjack strategy do so because of bad advice. Always consider expanding your gambling circle to make sure you’re surrounding yourself with quality players.


Blackjack is one of the most popular table games at the casino and a good starting point for beginners. You might have heard that the game requires more skill than other types of games. That may be true, but it shouldn’t dissuade you from giving it a shot.

By avoiding the common mistakes listed above, you’ll put yourself in a position to start winning early. As long as you don’t deviate from basic strategy, you’ll have nearly a 50% chance of winning each hand. Mistakes will happen while gambling, so don’t beat yourself up if they cost you a few hands. Consider it a rite of passage into the world of blackjack.