By Alex Tester
In blackjack, a lot of players make some pretty significant mistakes. What might seem like a “common sense” play is actually a pretty serious misplay if you consider the odds.
Here are four commonly misplayed blackjack hands that you should avoid.
While you might feel tempted to take an insurance offer when the dealer reveals an ace, you should resist the temptation. The logic behind this play is that there are four cards (10, J, Q, K) that will give the dealer blackjack. If the face-down card is one of these, you will be able to regain your original bet.
So why exactly is this a bad play? Well, the odds are actually in the dealer’s favor by a significant margin. If you choose this option, there is a much bigger chance that the dealer actually doesn’t have blackjack.
In this situation, you are much better off turning down the even money insurance bet. Instead, you should try for the 1.5x win.
Not doubling on 11 vs 10
If your dealer is showing they have a 10, there is a good chance they will also have another one in the face-down position. If you have an 11, the chances of getting a 20 or a 21 are significantly higher than the chance the dealer has a second face-down 10.
While you might think that doubling down when the dealer has 10 is a counter-intuitive strategy, according to comparison site CasinoGuide, you are actually playing to the odds. Let’s say you bet £10 and hit your 11. In this situation, you will win 56% of your hands according to the statistics. If you doubled your bet amount for £20, you will win this bet 54% of the time (remember that doubling means you only receive one more card, and then automatically stand).
Since there’s a small difference in these bets, it wouldn’t hurt to double your bet, as you’d get a significantly higher return for just 2% less of a chance of winning.
Standing on a 16 vs 7
In this situation, drawing a small number such as a 2 or a 3 can significantly increase your chances of winning. You should always hit on a 16 when you are playing against a dealer with 7. You might get lucky and hit a low enough card to get you the win. This will improve your odds to the point that it should mitigate your losses over time.
The following is a good rule of thumb to follow: An 18 against a dealer’s 10 is somewhat better than a 16, whereas an 18 vs a dealer’s 7 is significantly stronger.
Standing on a soft 18 vs 10
While you might feel like an 18 is a hand you can’t improve on, this is not always the case. While an 18 may bring you a win more often than not, the odds are not necessarily in your favor.
For example, against a dealer’s 10, the odds are not on your side. If you were to stand on a soft 18 in this situation, over time, you would lose more hands than you would ever win.
This is also true if you were to hit, but you wouldn’t lose quite as much. This means you should be brave and give yourself the best chance of winning: always hit on that soft 18.
Practice, practice, practice
Being good at blackjack can take time. You need to have an acute understanding of the rules and you need to be able to estimate the odds on the fly. Or just use a blackjack strategy card.
A great way to practice and refine your strategy is to play online blackjack games at live dealer casinos that allow you to experience the fun atmosphere and face-to-face interaction of the game, within you own home. Away from the pressure of being in a real casino surrounded by experienced gamblers and impatient dealers, you can take the time to get comfortable with your own blackjack strategy.