Guest Blogger: Brandon Hayward, Table Games & Poker Manager

Play #1. Never Take Even Money

We have all been there. You have a Blackjack and the dealer is showing an Ace. The dealer asks you if you want even money and you say yes. This is probably the most prevalent misplay for blackjack players everywhere. Why do players take even money instead of the 3 to 2 payout? Most likely because they don’t understand the math behind the hands being played and they want the sure thing payout. When you have a blackjack and the dealer is showing an Ace there is a 31% chance that the dealer will have a blackjack as well. However, that also means that you have a 69% chance that the dealer won’t have a blackjack and you will win 1.5 times your bet. If you average these two possibilities out your average gain will be 1.04 times your bet. Wining 1.04 units is better than 1 unit.

Play #2. Standing on Soft 18 against the Dealer’s 10

This is a mistake that I see take place on a daily basis. It is also one of the hardest mistakes to explain to a player. They simply do not believe me when I tell them. You should always hit your soft 18 against a dealer 10. If you have a soft 18 and stand against a dealer 10 you will lose more than you win. However, if you have a soft 18 and hit against a dealers 10 you will lose less than you would by standing. This makes hitting a soft 18 against a dealer 10 the correct play even if your soft 18 consists of multiple cards.

Play #3. Standing on 12 Against the Dealer’s 2 or3

Many blackjack players do not want to hit a 12 when the dealer is showing a 2 or 3. The reasoning behind this is because they want to put the action on the dealer and force him or her to try and bust. However, when you think about how many cards can help you versus the number of cards that can help you the correct play is to hit your hand. What are the chances of you busting? Only 4 out of 13 times on average, which means that 9 out of 13 times you will survive and not bust by hitting your 12 against a 2 or 3. If you want to get more in depth, the dealer doesn’t really have a high bust rate when showing a 2 or 3. The dealer will bust 37% of the time with a 3 showing and less with a 2.

Play #4. Not Splitting 8s Against a Dealer’s 9, 10, or Ace.

Some players reason that it isn’t wise to risk more money when facing a dealer 9, 10, or Ace. However, splitting 8s against these hands is the correct play. Instead of starting the game with one very bad hand you can split that hand into 2 better starting hands. Even though 16 will lose more than you win against 9, 10, or Ace, by splitting your 16 you will lose less in the long run even if you are risking more money on that specific hand.

Play #5. Not Doubling 11 Against a Dealer’s 10

There are blackjack players out there that swear that you should never double against a dealer 10. Why would you want to risk more money against a dealer potential 20? The math actually works in your favor on this one. You have a higher chance of making a 20 starting with 11 than the dealer does with a 10 showing. If you bet $10 and hit your 11 you will win 56% of the time. If you bet $10 and double down against a 10 you will win 54% of the time, but for $20. Why wouldn’t you take the extra money? You give up way too much by not doubling down.

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