Mistakes new players should avoid with basic strategy
Basic strategy helps you play smarter but its advice can sometimes jar with your intuition. Mr Blackjack reveals the most common mistakes players make when learning basic strategy.
When you first start playing blackjack, it's easy to develop bad habits or betting styles that negatively affect your gameplay. Some of these originate from a lack of experience in the game. Other times, it's advice from other players that are largely based on their own superstitions or experience.
Today, we're going to break down the three most common mistakes new players make in blackjack and teach you how to play smarter.
Coming in at third place: players that rely on 'trusting their gut' as a strategy.
They make decisions based on the crystal ball and try to predict that the next card will be the desired one, instead of making an informed decision based on probability and strategy. This approach is based entirely on luck. You'll never improve as a player or beat the casino by taking such a scattergun approach.
The second biggest mistake players make is being scared to hit. Some players sit at the table and don’t like going over 21, so they end up losing more money betting on marginal hands.
Have you ever heard the term 'scared money don’t make money’? It is definitely true in blackjack. You can’t be afraid of busting. Busting is a natural part of the game. You can’t and won’t win every hand. What you can do is hit when the math says, double or split when you are in a favorable position, and surrender when the math is completely on the dealer’s side. These are the basics of the beautiful game of blackjack.
The biggest mistake new players make is what I call 'The Hail Mary'. I have seen players make this mistake at the casino several times.
Remember the guy that went to Vegas and put his life savings on red? $164,000 or so? Good thing he won. What they don’t tell you is that the casino was in on it. The guy received so much publicity the casino planned to comp him if he lost. Luckily, he won.
You have to think of blackjack as a marathon, and not a sprint. Between basic strategy and card counting, you can take this game and flip the house edge in your favor. This edge does not happen over the course of two hands but rather over a long time, with varied betting amounts and on many many different days and weeks.
If you want to start playing smarter blackjack, check out our basic strategy and card counting playlists.
What this lesson covers
- Scenarios when inexperience makes you ignore basic strategy
- False tricks some blackjack players promote
- Bad betting habits players should avoid
Meet Mr Blackjack
With a career spanning two decades, Mathieu Blake knows his way around a blackjack table. He's taught and entertained over 100,000 subscribers on his YouTube channel NeverSplit10's . In this series he'll take you through basic strategy, card counting, and bankroll management. Take a seat with Mr Blackjack and become a winning player.
- Is blackjack based on luck or skill?
- I’ve heard strategy mistakes can upset other players at the blackjack table. Is this true?
Some players claim rookies’ strategy errors cause them to lose money in blackjack. In the long run it has little difference on a player’s expected value, plus their behavior goes against blackjack etiquette.
- Why do most people lose in blackjack?
Most people lose because they do not apply basic strategy and card counting to their gameplay. If you’re serious about becoming an advantage player, you need to learn these skills before you can progress to advanced topics, such as blackjack deviations.
- Why shouldn’t I trust my gut feeling in blackjack?
Part of a gut feeling is based on past experience. If you are a new player with limited experience using basic strategy in blackjack, then you can find yourself making decisions that are not based on the math.
- Is there any occasion when I should make a Hail Mary bet?
Some players will make Hail Mary-style wagers when they’re down to their last dollar. If you can afford to lose the money and are playing to have fun, then these bets can be exciting. However, we’d never recommend players use this approach as a serious strategy to win at blackjack.
- What if I never bust in blackjack?
If you avoid busting on any hand in blackjack, you will find yourself wagering on weak hands that are unlikely to win. Basic strategy highlights the opportune moments when busting is worth the risk.
- I’ve heard of ‘no bust’ blackjack strategy. Does it work?
Essentially, no bust strategy tells players to hit on hands under 11 and stand on hands worth 12 or more. That way, you never bust. It’s appeal lies with its simplicity for new players. We do not recommend players use this strategy, as it doesn’t take the dealer’s up-card into account.