Common Mistakes in Blackjack


Blackjack is a card game where luck plays an important role, but strategy has its place as well. Players are aiming to get cards that total as close to 21 as possible without going over. The cards 2 through 10 have their face value, the jacks, queens and kings are worth 10, and an ace may be counted as 1 or 11. The game of blackjack began in the 18th century, and was loved by Madame Du Barry, Napoleon and others. The game later became popular in America where bonus schemes were invented to keep people playing.

The basic rules of blackjack are that you play against the dealer and the game is played using one to eight 52-card decks. When a player is dealt two cards, she can decide to stand (stop drawing cards), hit (request more cards) or double down (increase the amount of the initial bet). If a player’s hand total is closer to 21 than that of the dealer, the player wins. If the dealer has a higher hand, it is a push and both players’ bets are returned.

Among the most common mistakes made by novice blackjack players is not understanding how the game works. This often leads to a conservative approach and a failure to maximize the opportunities available to them. For example, a novice might hesitate to hit a 16 against the dealer’s 7, or split a pair of 2s against a dealer’s 4. The result is that they give the house an advantage and lose money. Expert players, on the other hand, understand the game’s nuances and know how to take advantage of them.

Another mistake that many blackjack players make is not counting cards. A simple card-counting strategy can dramatically improve a player’s winning chances. The higher the number of high cards on the table, the more favorable the game is for players. There are four major betting strategies that use card counting in blackjack, including the Thorp strategy (named after Edward O. Thorp, an American mathematics professor and author of the book Beat the Dealer).

Some of the other mistakes that blackjack players make include playing a soft hand when they should not and misjudging when to hit or stand. Also, some players do not understand that a push in blackjack isn’t the same as a win. A push in blackjack means that the dealer has a blackjack, which happens less than one-third of the time.

Finally, some players misunderstand what a Blackjack is. Some believe that a Blackjack is any card total that sums to 21, but in reality, it’s only when you have an Ace and a card worth 10 in your first two cards. Then it’s known as a Natural or ‘Blackjack’. The payoff for this is one and a half to one. If you have a Blackjack and the dealer has an Ace in the hole, the round is a push, and everyone’s bets are returned.