As with many other popular casino games, players can make many common blackjack mistakes. One would think that with all these books, along with the wide array of learning resources and abundance of various kinds of tips and advice out there, people should already be able to play this game better that they already do. Not least because blackjack is not a very complicated game; it’s not one that somehow requires you to invest years of learning and practice! But still, we’re all very far from being perfect at this game.
Maybe this game is not as simple as it seems, or maybe our innate human ability to make mistakes is simply boundless! Anyway, it is a good idea to provide a systematic discussion of common slips and blunders made in blackjack in order to help players, especially beginners, to avoid them.
Ignoring Basic Blackjack Strategies
Whether you take blackjack played online or around a blackjack table in land-based casinos – ignoring the basic strategies really does seem to be the order of the day. However, in a live casino, you could still try to base your game decisions on the card counting technique – which is not at all possible when you’re playing blackjack online. In the latter case, the cards are ‘shuffled’ automatically and fall out fully randomly. So this makes the basic blackjack strategy the only thing you should rely on when you’re playing blackjack online.
Using basic strategies while playing blackjack online is pretty convenient. By contrast, in a live casino, you may not be allowed to lay the strategy chart out besides you, on the table. Or you may not even want to, as many players are afraid of ‘looking stupid’ by referring to the chart all the time. Or, you might simply have no time to go through the chart for the tip you may need at the moment, because the game is pretty fast-paced. But playing at home from your computer or tablet, you can make the best of using your strategy chart. This advantage is especially important for beginners!
People could ignore any recommended strategies because they prefer to follow their feelings and intuition. But practice does show that, in the long run, intuitive decisions lead to losses. As blackjack is a game that’s all about the long run, your intuition is not going to be of much help. The strategies are. So play like a robot: always follow the correct strategy for every hand!
Not Having Enough Money for Playing Blackjack
One of the greatest advantages of playing blackjack online for real money is that the minimum bet allowed is $1, so you can play it for 1$ per hand. In a live casino, the minimum bet starts with 5$. This makes online blackjack a good low-risk and low-stress choice for newcomers. But you still need some money to deposit. And it’s not only about buying into the game – no, the game of blackjack is known for its naturally occurring up- and downswings. And you do need a bankroll to cushion your possible (inevitable) losing streaks. The variance is strong and unpredictable. You can lose five, six, or sometimes even more hands, before you finally win! What is the minimum amount recommended to start playing the game?
You should have a minimum of 50X the bet size. So if it’s a 1$/hand game, start with $50. If it’s a 5$/hand, begin with $250. This will give you some flexibility and a chance to survive any losing streak that may arise, so you can still end up with a positive balance.
Another plus of having a good bankroll is that most online casinos generously reward deposits with match bonuses. Having deposited $500, you can get an additional $500 of free money. If you have some money and want to try playing blackjack online, choose the casino with the best bonuses on offer for the deposit you’re about to make.
Trying to Use Betting Progressions
Many players have the strange idea that using betting progression can help them to beat the dealer. But the very concept of progression in blackjack is wrong, as it is based on the assumption that the results of the previous hand can have an influence on the next one and therefore should be taken into account. Every new hand is a new hand, and the game has no ‘memory’ to help it somehow ‘refer’ to the outcome of the previous hand.
You can increase your bet after a lost hand; hoping that if you win, you will recover the previous loss. And this can be quite adrenaline-pumping! But if you want to play for real money and not for adrenaline, it’s actually better to avoid this approach. In the short run, it can work sometimes; but statistically, house edge does not depend on your betting strategy – not one bit!
Playing Blackjack at the Wrong Time
This one’s most about playing when you are tired. The game is fast, decisions are made quickly, many hands played, and fatigue can quickly build up; and as a result, the quality of the game decisions you make is going to be compromised.
Properly timing your game session is very important. You may choose to play at the end of a long and stressful day to relax and entertain yourself, but this can be a pretty bad choice. The game itself is entertaining and even fascinating; but you need to have a fresh, flexible and quick mind to fully enjoy it. Keep the latter point in mind whenever you feel like playing blackjack after having an extra beer or two.
So here’s the downside of online blackjack availability 365/24/7. You can play it anytime! But don’t play it just anytime – because you actually need to pick the moment you play it very carefully. Neither is it a good idea for you to have long playing sessions late at night – and not only because it lowers your chances of winning, but also because it’s bad for your health.
Playing Without Having Checked the Rules
Different casinos apply different rules. Sometimes they are player-friendly – such as those cases where blackjack players can double down after splitting the pair, the dealer stands on soft 17, or the payout is 3-2 or even 2-1 (unfortunately, the latter case is rarely found these days). But some other casinos out there have terrible rules – 6/5 payout, doubling down restricted to 10 or 11 only, etc. All these ‘minor’ adjustments substantially lower your chances of winning, if you haven’t paid attention to the rules before deciding to play.
Wrong Psychological Attitude
Online blackjack is a game you have to play against the machine in a virtual, computer-generated reality. However, you’re depositing real and not virtual money. And it is real money that you’re going to be winning or losing. This virtual vs real dilemma could be related to different psychological problems. Some players adopt a flippant and carefree attitude towards the game, and in the end they’ll probably be prepared to gamble away much more than they can afford – just because they don’t feel it’s a ‘real’ game if they show some restraint! Others just take the game too seriously, and so they end up finding it too stressful.Another trap, of course, is addiction and compulsive playing. So watch out for this pitfall too! Indeed, it’s always pretty difficult to draw the line separating what we call “just enjoying the game” from “being addicted to the game.” Here we enter the area of responsible gambling and all the problems related to this, which have been studied by numerous specialists. Just remember, however, that playing blackjack online requires the right psychological attitude and mindset. So be mindful and just enjoy the game!