10 Mistakes You Shouldn’t Make At the Blackjack Table

Our expert lists some common mistakes at the blackjack table that you should attempt to avoid. Whether you play blackjack at the casino or like online versions of the game, it is vital to remember the rules and stick to your strategy.

Blackjack has one of the lowest house edges in the casino when played properly. Take these tips and execute a winning plan!


When you sit down at a blackjack table, your main goal should be to have fun. Blackjack is a fast-paced game that lends itself to having a good time. However, you need to remember that when you are at a physical table, your play will impact others. And so will your vibe.

With that being said, there are a lot of mistakes you can make at the blackjack table. Some of them have to do with attitude and etiquette. Simply put, try not to be obnoxious, rude, or angry.

However, whether you play blackjack in-person or at one of your favorite online casinos, you should avoid making these 10 mistakes. Here are some things to remember when trying to win playing online blackjack.

Avoid Blackjack Mistakes & Familiarize Yourself With Table Rules

Every casino has different rules for blackjack. Typically, these rules are written on the table felt, but they may also be on a sign next to the card shoe. Make sure to know what you are playing and find favorable rules.

casino blackjack table

Notice the table rules written on the felt before you start betting!

First and foremost, don’t play at tables that offer less than 3 to 2 payouts on blackjack. Unless the table is offering some significant other rule change, a 6 to 5 blackjack payout increases the house edge significantly. The house edge is the long-term rate at which the casino expects to win.

You can lower the house edge by playing perfect strategy, card counting, and familiarizing yourself with the martingale system. However, you can increase the house edge by making mistakes like playing at a 6 to 5 blackjack table.

The table will also let you know such things as whether the dealer must hit or stay on soft 17 (an ace plus other cards equaling six) and the rules for insurance.

Playing Too Conservatively

Another mistake blackjack players tend to make is playing too conservatively. Hitting when you have 15 or 16 requires courage. You are likely to bust, and your money will simply go ‘poof!’

But winning at blackjack requires playing with a blackjack strategy — a great first step to ensure you get the most ‘bang for your buck’ is to sign up for blackjack VIP programs. And if the dealer is showing a face card, you need to pull the trigger and take another card. The feeling when you make a courageous hit and see that small card that gives your hand a total of 20 or 21 is quite the endorphin rush.

If you’re a cautious player (which is always a good idea) you should take advantage of casino bonus and no deposit bonus offers, as they often offer freebies like free turns, money on your bankroll, and more.

Living Too Dangerously

While playing too conservatively is one mistake you need to avoid, so is playing recklessly. Many people will act like they have x-ray vision and can predict what card is coming next.


Via GIPHY (his rival did have x-ray vision. We do not recommend trying this at your favorite casino)

However, the odds of improving your 17 are very low. Sometimes in blackjack, you make a good hand and lose. Seeing a 17 against a dealer showing a face card can make you sweat.

But getting wild and asking for another card does not help you win. Likewise, overly aggressive doubling down can quickly dwindle your bankroll.

Not Knowing When to Walk Away

Though every hand of blackjack is an individual event, with odds only shifting slightly based on the remaining cards in the decks, it is notorious for its runs of good or bad luck. For centuries, gamblers have been telling stories of that night they went on a heater at a blackjack table, but it’s essential to know when to surrender in blackjack.

Similarly, many players believe casinos have coolers or closers to come in and shut down the good times. Though the dealer makes no decisions, changing up who is dealing cards can throw off the entire table’s vibes.

Avoid chasing losses and try to walk away when you are ahead. Gambling is more fun when you know your limits.

Buying Insurance or Taking Even Money

There are sucker bets in every casino….and then there is insurance at the blackjack table. Few things incite more terror in a gambler than seeing a blackjack dealer flip an ace.

But pause! You do not have to sacrifice your good hand just because the dealer has an ace. There are nine possible under cards that prevent the dealer from having 21. Only four cards will turn that ace into a blackjack. Avoid insurance and let it ride.

Not Knowing When to Double Down

At a blackjack table, whether you play Blackjack Switch, Zappit blackjack, or quantum blackjack, there are typically only three ways to increase your winnings on an individual hand. First, you can have blackjack and get paid 3 to 2. Second, you can split an advantageous pair and play two hands.

The third way is to double down. By increasing your bet amount on a superior hand, you can shift the odds away from the house and towards you, the player. Whenever you are dealt a hand totaling eleven, you should double down, except when the dealer shows an ace and stays on soft 17. Simply hitting the 11 will end up costing you money in the long run.

Why Is Splitting Aces Frowned Upon in the Game of Blackjack?

You may have been at a table where someone chastised you for splitting aces. Everyone has their own strategy, method, or superstitions. But you should always try and maximize your expected value in every hand of blackjack you play.

via GIPHY (go ahead and split those aces)

If you are dealt two of the same card (a pair) at the blackjack table, you have the option of splitting them into two hands. Splitting cards requires you to pay double but also puts you in a position to win double if the cards break your way. Typically, whether you split depends on the card the dealer is showing face up.

But playing a good blackjack strategy requires that you split aces whenever you get them. Seeing that first ace only to have it accompanied by another can be a crushing blow. You were so close to blackjack!

Still, now you have a chance to make two blackjacks during a single hand. However, there is a downside. Unlike all other splits, when you split aces, you will only receive one card. You lose the option to hit again or stand pat.

Avoid the mistake of not splitting aces and maximize your chances of success.

In Blackjack, Should You Split a Pair of 9’s if the Dealer Has a 9?

Similar to splitting aces, you should almost always split a pair of 9s. The only exception when you do not split nines is when the dealer is showing a 7.

Think of it this way. A pair of 9s gives you 18 but with the dealer showing 9, you need to anticipate they have a face card and will make 19. Losing by one in blackjack is still losing and the dealer will take your money.

If you split the nines, you have no chance of busting either hand but do have a likelihood of improving each hand to at least 19. Splitting here gives you options and increases your expected value long term.

Standing Pat On 12 Against a 2

Conventional wisdom in blackjack says to avoid hitting on any instance where a ten will bust you unless the dealer is showing a strong hand. And a 2 is definitely not a strong hand.

However, with 12, there are only four cards in the deck that can hurt you. And the other nine cards either improve your hand or do not harm it. Take a hit and gamble that your next card isn’t a face.

What’s the 5-Card Rule in Blackjack?

A final tip again requires understanding the house and table rules. Many amateur or home blackjack players have heard of a 5-card Charlie in blackjack. But this rule variation rarely exists at a real money casino.

In games where a 5-card rule is in place, you win any hand where you collect five cards without busting. However, casinos rarely follow the 5-card Charlie rule because it reduces the house edge significantly.

These 10 mistakes to avoid at the blackjack table can help you end up with more money in your pocket. If blackjack is one of your favorite online casino games, check out our casino reviews of the best places to find fast-paced 21 action on the internet!

James Guill

James Guill is a former professional poker player who writes fro GambleOnline.co about poker, sports, casinos, gaming legislation and the online gambling industry in general. His past experience includes working with IveyPoker, PokerNews, PokerJunkie, Bwin, and the Ongame Network. From 2006-2009 he participated in multiple tournaments including the 37th and 38th World Series of Poker (WSOP). James lives in Virgina and he has a side business where he picks and sells vintage and antique items.

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