By Paul Blinken
Blackjack is one of the most popular online casino games. Having easy rules, it’s a wonderful choice for both beginners and pros. But blackjack winnings depend not only on your luck but also on your strategy and card counting is an essential part of it. The odds in blackjack are very well known and all players should understand how they affect your chances of winning.
The dealer’s offer of blackjack insurance can almost always be ignored. Basic strategy for this bet is to never take it as the house advantage is over 5%. If the dealer has an ace in his hand, novices often respond to such an offer. Insurance is disadvantageous for the casino customer, but there are situations where the offer can actually be used.
Mainly, insurance is used by players who can keep an accurate account of the cards. In particular, it does not apply to beginners, as this technique requires considerable practice. Taking the insurance offer, assessing the situation “by eye” or trusting the casino, is not worth it.
The offering of even money when the dealer has an Ace up and the player has a natural blackjack is the same as being offered insurance on the hand. Don’t take it unless you are a card counter and the count indicates it. You are better off winning 3 to 2 most of the time than winning even money for sure.
Copying the Dealer
The player, unfamiliar with game principles, often takes a very logical, in his opinion, decision – to act the way the dealer does. Such copying can lead to nothing good, since the casino customer and the dealer, an employee of the casino, have slightly different objectives.
The casino profits from a basic mathematical advantage in the game. Statistics tell us that there is a percentage ratio of losses and winning bets. The profit of a gambling establishment is the difference between successful client bets, when the casino pays, and unsuccessful bets when the client loses money. In other words, the establishment does not seek to win every game at all. It is enough that the statistical indicators are on the side of the casino. Compared to the player, the casino has virtually unlimited money potential and can afford to lose bets (within statistics) in peace.
To ensure the statistical advantage, the dealer has a number of instructions that have not changed over the years.1)This is not entirely true. House rules have changed over the years and different casinos may have differing rules. For example, some casinos stand on all 17s including soft-17, while others hit soft-17. It is better for the player if the dealer stands on all 17s. For example, the dealer always stops at seventeen even when all boxes have 18 points or more, does not make a split, or double. The dealer does not get paid for beating the customer, but for simply following the instructions without fail.
So, what is the answer to the big mistake of players attempting to mimic the dealer? The answer is to simply learn what is called blackjack basic strategy.
Attempting to Count Cards in Bad Games
Card counting is an advanced blackjack strategy. But the biggest mistake novice card counters make is thinking they have an advantage in games that are inherently bad. These games can be bad because they have bad rules or the dealer doesn’t deal enough of the cards.
In an online casino or in games with an automatic shuffler, it often makes no sense to count cards. Not all games are beatable with card counting.
Often, beginners make the mistake of trying to take advantage of a method they have not yet fully mastered, and it is only natural that poor decisions are made.
Mistakes in Splitting
The biggest mistake you can make is to split tens.2)Actually, splitting tens against a 5 or 6 is one of the top most profitable plays that a card counter can make when the count is high enough. Of course, it is also one of the few plays that can tip off the casino that you are counting cards. There is an old saying: “Only idiots and card counters split tens.“ This falls under the category of “temporary insanity.” With 20 in hand, your odds of winning are very good. If you decide to split, however, your odds of winning go down to 45%. Even if the dealer’s card is a 6, which shows the possibility of an overcall, splitting a 10 will cost you about 20% of your failures.
Another incredibly bad move is to split two fives. By splitting them, you have a high chance of getting a 15 in one of the two hands. The right move would be, depending on the dealer’s card, to ask for another card or double the bet. But the worst play you can make is to stand on a pair of eights versus a dealer’s 7, rather than splitting them. Stick to basic strategy to avoid all these mistakes.
Photo Credit: Pixels
|↑1||This is not entirely true. House rules have changed over the years and different casinos may have differing rules. For example, some casinos stand on all 17s including soft-17, while others hit soft-17. It is better for the player if the dealer stands on all 17s.|
|↑2||Actually, splitting tens against a 5 or 6 is one of the top most profitable plays that a card counter can make when the count is high enough. Of course, it is also one of the few plays that can tip off the casino that you are counting cards. There is an old saying: “Only idiots and card counters split tens.“|
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Another big mistake beginners make is playing in games that only pay 6 to 5 on a blackjack. The industry has moved to this very bad rule change in many jurisdictions. Check out The Numbers of 21 section for more information.