Blackjack Tips: Clear Your Game of Mistakes

By  //  June 18, 2021

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The iconic game of Blackjack is certainly one of the most popular card games in the world, played by billions of people over the four corners of the planet, and present in every brick-and-mortar and online casino.

Due to its lower house edge, usually around 1 percent, Blackjack is the game of choice for both beginners and high-rollers. Its rules are also simple and straightforward, making it one of the easiest games to learn.

However, unlike many casino games, Blackjack isn’t just a game of luck, since there are strategies and a lot of skills involved, and many players end up making several mistakes that could be easily avoided by studying the game and its strategies, which leads to reduced chances of winning.

Any deviation from the optimal strategy that presents a poor mathematical expectation is considered a blackjack mistake, like hitting a hard 20 or splitting 10s. In this guide, we’ll show how to avoid some of these mistakes, and significantly improve winnings.

Game selection and optimal bets

The first thing to notice is which tables to play and the best payouts. Today, most land-based and online casinos offer blackjack tables with two different payouts for natural blackjacks (ace, plus 10): 6-to-5 and 3-to-2.

It might seem that a 6:5 payout is higher, and a better deal than a 3:2 payout. But it’s just the other way around. A 3-to-2 ratio means that a US$100 wager would get a US$150 payout in case of a natural blackjack. The same bet on a 6:5 table, would result in a US$120 payout. 

Additionally, in a 6:5 table, players only get this payout on amounts divisible by 5; any overage is paid off at even money. The house edge is also affected by the different payouts, and 6:5 tables usually have a 2.5 percent house edge, meaning for every US$100 wagered, players lose US$2.50 on average over time.

As for the optimal bets, punters should stay away from insurance and other side bets. They might seem attractive and safe bets, but in reality they significantly raise the house edge, to around 7 percent, and have the worst odds.

For instance, with the insurance bet, bettors get paid 2:1 in case the dealer has a natural blackjack after showing an ace as the upcard. But the dealer’s odds for hitting it are pretty low, and they won’t hit blackjack enough times to make this bet profitable.

Bonuses and promotions

A common mistake made by novice players is not claiming bonuses and special promotions that are provided by casino operators. These offers usually grant many useful advantages, special deposit conditions, and extra funds, like the Tropicana Casino promotional code, which gives players US$25 free at signup and up to US$100 in cashback.

Most online casinos offer different types of promotions, including welcome, loyalty and referral bonuses, so it’s important to always check for new offers.

However, to prevent malicious use of these bonuses, the operators require punters to meet certain conditions before claiming the advantages, such as minimum deposits and wagering or play-through requirements.

Basic strategies

Before deciding which approach or strategy to apply, players must identify the dealer’s upcard, which is the dealer’s card that is facing up. If the dealer is showing a card from 7 to an ace, then it is a strong upcard. If the card’s value is lower than 7, then the dealer is showing a weak card. Against strong upcards, punters should play more aggressively, and hit until 17 or higher.

However, against weak upcards, since the dealer’s odds of hitting a high total are lower, it’s better to avoid hitting when there is a chance of busting.

These are general guidelines, though, and there are many other scenarios in which the best course of action is to double down, stand or even surrender.

To help players choose the correct action, there is a great tool that many novice players disregard: a blackjack strategy chart. This chart is a color-coded guide that shows when to hit, stand, split, double down or surrender, based on the player’s hand and the dealer’s upcard. 

When playing online blackjack, it’s okay to check the strategy chart before each round. But when playing at a land-based casino, the dealer must keep the game going in a timely manner, so it’s important to study the game’s strategies and the chart, to be able to quickly choose the best approach.