Blackjack is an exciting card game that’s easy to pick up and play, but if you want to learn how to win at blackjack games more often, you’ll need to make sure you minimise the number of bad moves that you make. Here are the mistakes you should avoid when you play online blackjack.
Wagering on side bets
While side bets may seem like a good idea, looks can be deceiving. Side bets offer great payouts (with some paying 1,000:1), but that’s because the chances of winning them are much lower than regular betting in a game of blackjack. Side bets are also not as good as regular bets because you have no influence over them. In a typical game, you can make certain choices that will affect the outcome of the play, even if it’s just as simple as deciding whether you want to hit or stay. With side bets, you place your wager before the cards are dealt and then it’s purely up to luck whether you land them or not. If you are trying to optimise your wins when you play blackjack, side bets should be avoided.
We’re not referring to some kind of general gambling insurance but rather a popular blackjack side bet. Many people like to try their luck with this wager, which is why we’ve chosen to discuss it on its own. Insurance is also slightly different from other blackjack side bets in that you don’t have to place it at the start of the game. You can place the wager after a dealer’s first upcard is dealt and is revealed to be an ace. Under these circumstances, you can choose to place an insurance bet for half of your wager. If the dealer’s second upcard is revealed to be a 10 – giving the dealer 21 or blackjack – you’ll receive a payout of 2:1; in other words, you’ll get your money back on the wager.
But when you think about it, an insurance bet offers really poor odds. First, there are only four 10s in a single deck of cards, making the odds of the dealer landing a 10 to get blackjack relatively high. Second, the already low chances of winning an insurance bet rapidly decrease depending on the number of 10s that are already in play. Even if your gut tells you a 10 is coming and you’re right in the short run, the maths for placing regular insurance bets just doesn’t add up in the long run.
Sometimes it can be a good idea to split certain pairs. However, it’s never a good idea to split 10s. Even though you think you might be able to boost your odds of winning by creating two separate blackjack hands, you are in fact throwing away a perfectly good hand that has an extremely high chance of winning. The only way a dealer could beat your 20 is with 21, which is a rare outcome in blackjack.
Trying to count cards in games with continuous shuffle machines
Counting in blackjack has a bit of a mixed reputation, with some trying to paint the practice as bad and against blackjack rules, even if it’s not. That said, even if it isn’t cheating, some casinos may ask you to stop playing and possibly even ban you if they find out you’re good at counting cards.
To avoid having to do this, casinos make use of continuous shuffle machines (CSMs) to make it impossible for players to count cards in real-world blackjack games, with virtual representations of the devices present in online blackjack as well. A CSM has an opening where the dealer can place the cards, with space inside the machine to hold the cards themselves. The cards, once shuffled, can be drawn out one at a time by the dealer. Cards that are discarded are eventually fed back into the machine. This process makes it extremely difficult to count cards, and even if you did, you still wouldn’t have the advantage you would at a table without a CSM.
Not managing your bankroll
Managing the money you gamble with is very important for all players who have a budget to ensure you have the most opportunities to play (and possibly win). But in online blackjack, the hands come thick and fast. This makes it easy to get caught up in all the excitement if you are on a winning streak or to bet a bit more than you’d normally care to if you’re having a bad run. This characteristic of online play makes it even more important to keep an eye on your bankroll, as it’s much easier to accidentally overblow your budget than in an offline game and go bust before you plan to.
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