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Blackjack Mistakes

Top Ten Marginal Blackjack Mistakes

Casinos rake in millions from players’ mistakes at the blackjack tables. But which blackjack mistakes aren’t all that bad? The following rankings are quantitatively based on the expected loss resulting from making the second best decision.

The correct decisions are based on a standard 6 or 8 deck game, dealer stands on soft 17, and hands may be split to up to 3 times for a total of 4 hands. (Aces may only be split once.)

  • 10) Hitting 13 when Dealer shows 2

    Expected Loss vs. Standing: $1.26 for every $100 bet
    Hitting 13 will cost you money, but you might just catch a 7 or an 8 to boost your confidence.

  • 9) Splitting 3/3 when Dealer shows 8

    Expected Loss vs. Hitting: $1.23 for every $100 bet
    Interestingly, splitting 3/3 when the dealer shows an 8 is more of a marginal decision over hitting than splitting 2/2 when the dealer shows an 8. It will still cost you more than a dollar per hundred, though.

  • 8) Hitting 3/3 when Dealer shows 2

    Expected Loss vs. Splitting: $0.74 for every $100 bet
    Making two hands will do better for you in the long run, but if you don’t want to risk losing two hands, you can pay a bit extra, hit, and hope for the best.

  • 7) Standing on Soft 18 when Dealer shows Ace

    Expected Loss vs. Hitting: $0.55 for every $100 bet
    Hitting will help you beat that versatile dealer Ace, but if you’re scared of breaking your pretty 18, it won’t be too expensive to keep it together.

  • 6) Doubling Soft 17 when Dealer shows 2

    Expected Loss vs. Hitting: $0.51 for every $100 bet
    If you are feeling lucky, and you want a big win, you can give it a shot with a soft 17 against a dealer’s 2. It will cost you about a half dollar per hundred.

  • 5) Standing on 16 when Dealer shows Ten

    Expected Loss vs. Hitting: $0.41 for every $100 bet
    You’ll see plenty of people shaking their heads at the blackjack table when you do this, but you can take solace in the fact that it was a cheap mistake.

  • 4) Doubling on Soft 18 when Dealer shows 2

    Expected Loss vs. Standing: $0.28 for every $100 bet
    Need a big win to impress the crowd? Risk another bet on soft 18 against a dealer 2 and you might win double. The excitement might be worth the extra cash to you.

  • 3) Hitting 12 when Dealer shows 4

    Expected Loss vs. Standing: $0.26 for every $100 bet
    One quarter and a penny per hundred will give you another card. You might bust and regret it, or you might hit that 9 you were looking for.

  • 2) Hitting Soft 15 when Dealer shows 4

    Expected Loss vs. Doubling: $0.20 for every $100 bet
    Donít want to risk another bet on a mediocre hand. Shell out 20 cents per hundred, and you can keep your chips in your stack.

  • 1) Hitting Soft 13 when Dealer shows 5

    Expected Loss vs. Doubling: $0.003 for every $100 bet
    Wow. It will cost you less than a penny if you hit A / 2 against a dealer’s 5. The reduction in your variance might actually justify the reduction in expected value here. But if you can’t handle the ups and downs of blackjack, why are you even playing?! Recommendation: stick with basic strategy at all times, unless you know some advanced techniques, like card counting.