The next time you’re at the casino, make sure to pay close attention to what you hear at the blackjack table. Now, it’s well-known that gamblers can be superstitious. Additionally, it seems like most have their takes on one of the most popular casino games on the planet. Because of this, there are several different schools of thought when it comes to playing blackjack.
It’s worth noting that there’s only one way to play blackjack correctly. But that doesn’t stop players from experimenting and trying to implement their strategic moves. There’s no way of knowing how certain players came to break from the norm and gain a leg up on the competition.
Whatever the reason may be, you’ll most likely come across several players who are more than willing to share their knowledge with you. You might consider heeding their wisdom, but it should be avoided if you have any intention to win at the tables. Here are seven common pieces of advice you should ignore when playing blackjack for real money.
Split 10s to Increase Chances of a Blackjack
The name of the game is blackjack, so you should always try to increase your odds of hitting 21, right? Wrong. The way you win at blackjack is by playing according to perfect strategy and grinding out wins. If you are lucky enough to be dealt a 20, there is absolutely no reason you should split up your 10s.
But that doesn’t stop some gamblers from trying to take advantage of their luck. The only hand that can beat a 20 is a 21, obviously. If you play blackjack long enough, that is going to happen to you at some point. Speaking from experience, it’s one of the worst breaks in blackjack, but you have to shake it off.
A common practice among bad blackjack players is to split face cards in hopes of hitting two 21s. By doing this, you’ll frustrate fellow players and decrease your chances of winning. If you are sitting next to someone who routinely splits 10s, find a different table. If you’re someone who commonly does this, you need to change your approach to the game.
Increase Your Bet After a Loss
This tactic is far too common in all varieties of casino games. It’s a natural tendency to want to win your money back after losses, but it’s something that should rarely be done. Experienced gamblers might be able to chase losses effectively. If you’re new to the game, you should ignore people who advise you to increase your bets after a tough loss.
If you think about the logic behind increasing bets after a loss, it’s somewhat nonsensical. The outcome in blackjack is random; you have no way of knowing what you’ll be dealt. If you count cards, you might make an educated guess, but you can’t know for sure. Your odds of winning a hand simply aren’t any better than previous hands.
Only Split Eights and Aces
One of the first things you’ll learn about playing blackjack is always to split eights and aces. The logic in both cases is airtight. If you’re dealt two aces, you either have a two or a soft 12, which are both terrible. Not only do you have an excellent chance of improving your hand, but splitting aces gives you a chance of catching two 21s.
There’s a multitude of possible card combinations in blackjack. Frequently blackjack players must make decisions based on the cards they are dealt, compared to the cards the dealer is dealt. In fact, that’s how you win the game in the first place. Because there’s a wide variety of combinations, occasionally, basic strategy calls for players to split cards based on what the dealer draws.
You Can Occasionally Deviate From Basic Strategy
If you want to minimize the house edge, you need to stick to basic blackjack strategy 100% of the time. You might have gotten lucky by breaking from the norm a few times, but an erratic play style rarely rewards the player. This strategy can be challenging to learn, but over time, it is possible to master. When you first start playing, I highly recommend studying basic strategy and cheat sheets.
While playing blackjack, I routinely see players purposefully play against the book. I usually give the benefit of the doubt the first time, as should you. However, you might find that certain players make a point of playing according to their own set of rules. They might think they are being innovative or outsmarting the game. It’s impossible to improve your chances, unless you learn to count cards.
Some players might convince you to try some piece of strategy that has led to wins in the past. Whether that is splitting face cards, doubling a hard 12, or any other variety of misplay, ignore these pieces of advice. It’s always preferable to defer to basic strategy if you have any interest in winning money.
You Should Always Take Insurance
This rule will not apply to you if you’re able to count cards. For those who don’t know, you can take insurance anytime a dealer’s upcard is an ace. If you’re counting cards and are sure the dealer has a face card, insurance is a smart and profitable bet.
It’s always unfortunate to see the dealer get dealt an ace and subsequently hit a blackjack. But the odds a dealer has a 10 under the ace aren’t high enough to take out insurance.
Learning to Count Cards at Casinos Isn’t Worth It
Learning how to count cards is not nearly as challenging as you would think. With a fair amount of diligent, repetitive practice, you can master the art of counting cards. The methods that go into counting cards are complex, admittedly, and should be saved for another post. For the sake of simplicity, card counters assign values to each type of card. They then take that information to understand what types of cards are left in the deck.
When counting cards, it’s essential to understand how many decks the casino uses at blackjack tables. It’s always easiest to count cards when only one deck is in play. However, very few casinos use one deck. Before you learn to count cards, you should have a solid grasp of the basic strategy of blackjack.
As I said earlier, learning to count cards is the only way to swing the odds into your favor. If you play blackjack perfectly, you still only have around a 49% chance to win every hand. Those are still great odds compared to other table games. If you can count cards effectively, you can increase your odds by a few percentage points. So, next time someone tells you that counting cards is a waste of time, make sure to ignore them.
It’s Just Money, You Can’t Take It With You
Winning money at casinos is incredibly challenging. Walking away from the casino with a profit as someone who isn’t a professional gambler is nearly impossible. It’s essential to be aware of both of these facts before you start gamabling. Being conservative with your bankroll in order to extend your stay at the tables is crucial to successful gambling.
Adopting a mindset that leads you to throw caution to the wind can lead to disaster. If you ever feel like you just can’t catch a break and it’s not your night, don’t keep shelling out money. Sometimes, the cards aren’t in your favor. Instead of listening to bad influences and putting yourself in financial turmoil, live to gamble another day.
Blackjack tables can be home to some of the worst gambling advice in the casino. The game appeals to a variety of gamblers, all with different opinions about the popular card game. Regardless of what you hear at the tables, try your best to block out incorrect information.
Lousy blackjack players commonly commit similar mistakes and always seem to want to ruin other players’ chances. If you’re ever advised to split 10s or increase bets after a loss, stick to your game plan. Never go against the grain; instead, always play according to basic strategy. Finally, counting cards is definitely worth looking into and is the only way to gain a slight edge on the house.