Don’t Make These Blackjack Mistakes

 Don’t Make These Blackjack Mistakes

When I learned blackjack basic strategy about 30 years ago, the plays others made were real eye-openers to me.

I don’t mean just in a sense of so many people made so many mistakes, but just how bad I had been up to that point. Take any list of mistakes blackjack players make, and I made it, until I finally saw the light.

Players today are better than they once were. I don’t see anywhere near as many mistakes at the table. But I do still see some doozies. Here are a few I’ve seen in the last few months, at six-deck games in which the dealer hits soft 17.

**Hit 10-4 vs. dealer’s 6: Even players who are a little fuzzy around the edges of basic strategy usually know that the better play against a dealer’s 6 is to stand if you have hard 12 through 16.

The play made a weak hand worse. If you stand on 10-4 vs. 6, your average loss is 12.1 cents per $1 wagered. If you hit, that rises to 30.9 cents.

**Hit 8-8 vs. dealer’s 7: Failing to split the 8s vs. a 7 is rare, but it’s costly. If you hit, you accept an average loss of 40.8 cents per $1 wagered. If you split, you turn that into an average profit of 31.8 cents of per $1 of the original bet.

The player turned a profitable hand into a loser, with a swing of 72.6 cents per $1 of the original bet. Ouch.

**Double down on 7-5 vs. dealer 6: You want to double down when your hand plus a one-card hit will win more than 50 percent of decisions against a given dealer up card. That’s hard to accomplish when a one-card hit will bust you more than 30 percent of the time, as any 10 value will do here.

Your average loss of 11.9 cents when standing zooms to 34.6 cents per $1 of the original bet if you double down.

A basic: Do not double down with hard totals of 12 or higher.

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