Blackjack is a difficult game to master and even experienced players can encounter their share of pitfalls. Learning the perfect strategy and card counting can increase your success, but there is still a chance that you will lose focus or have bad luck.
Most players assume the dealer is the biggest obstacle at the table, but that's not true. In fact, you are your own worst enemy when it comes to playing 21.
If you don't believe me, ask yourself the questions from this list. Those who consistently answer "no" are well on their way to becoming professional blackjack players, while everyone else still has work to do.
Have You Ever Split 10s In Blackjack?
Assuming you are familiar with basic arithmetic, it should be obvious that a pair of 10s equals 20 in total. This should be good enough to beat most of the dealer's hands, so there's no need to separate them. If you do this, the result is now two hands that are not equal to 20, and you had to double your bet in the process. Sharing is a great tactic under the right circumstances, but it's not.
Have You Ever Taken Money On Your Blackjack?
When you get blackjack and the dealer shows an ace, you often have the option of taking even money. Never accept this option. When the dealer shows an ace, the probability of the hand ending in a push is 30.74%. This means there is a 69.26% chance that your blackjack will hold and give you a win of 3 to 2. Go with the percentages and turn down the casino's not so generous offer.
Do You Ever Deviate From The Basic Strategy?
If this is the case, you are depriving yourself of the best chance of winning regularly. Basic strategy is a proven method of play designed to give the player the best chance of winning, regardless of the cards on the table.
The usual house edge in blackjack is around 2%, although this can vary depending on the rules of the game. However, if you use basic strategy, the house odds are reduced to 0.5%. That's a 1.5% difference, which is bigger than it looks when applied to hundreds or thousands of hands.
Do You Even Know What A Basic Strategy Is?
Basic strategy is a guide that tells you about the best play for each type of hand. While this doesn't guarantee success every time, it does improve your overall chances. If you've never heard of basic strategy, you're almost guaranteed to be a bad blackjack player (or at least a beginner).
How Many Times Do You Split A Pair Of Fives?
A hand consisting of a five isn't ideal, so why would you want two hands that start like this? If you have a couple of fives, the best tactic is to always see it as a 10 and go from there. After all, an ace will get you to 21, while any 10 card will give you a respectable 20.
If you want to be particularly smart, I suggest you double down on a pair of fives if the dealer is showing two to nine. As I explained in the previous paragraph, an ace or a 10 puts you in a tough position to beat.
How Often Do You Chase Losses?
If you suffer a big loss at the blackjack table, you should take a deep breath, calm down, and stick to your overall game plan. This advice applies whether the loss is due to player error or simply bad luck.
When you start chasing losses, your mind darkens with emotions and the desire to get your money back. This prevents you from thinking clearly and makes you more likely to keep losing (but with more money at stake). No matter what casino game you play, you should never let emotions get in the way. Otherwise, you will soon return home empty-handed.
There is nothing wrong with being bad at blackjack. Everyone has to start from the bottom, even experts like Don Schlesinger and Tommy Hyland.
The real difference between a good and a bad blackjack player is the willingness to learn and adapt. A good player analyzes his mistakes and does his best to avoid repetition, while a bad player always resorts to the same imperfect behavior.
By answering the questions above, I hope that any serious flaws in your game will come to light. Once that's done, you can embark on the tedious - but ultimately rewarding - task of improving your game.
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