Blackjack Errors that Cost Players

Blackjack Attack: Playing the Pros’ Way” is a remarkable yet informative book written by Donald Schlesinger. It discusses the costliest errors that players get involved in when they neglect the basic playing strategy of the game. In every hand of the game, a basic strategy is used in order to increase the odds in your favor. It is a technique that involves knowledge in mathematics and prescribes the optimal method to play against the dealer’s up-card. The purpose of this strategy is for players to determine the right time for them to hit, stand, double down, split, or surrender on every hand.

Professional gambler and author Arnold Snyder has concisely stated in his book entitled “The Big Book of Blackjack” that blackjack is not a guessing game unlike most casino and online casino games. Any blackjack hand possesses correct and incorrect strategies. He had emphasized that the correct strategy in blackjack is the mathematically optimal strategy. This strategy maximizes your win and minimizes your losses. 

Basic Strategy Proximity

Before computers were introduced to society, professional gamblers discovered a good approximation of basic strategy by dealing hands to themselves. These gamblers often kept the information private to prevent other people from learning the technique. However, when the invention of computers came into the picture, mathematicians were able to come up with the optimal playing strategy by analyzing every possible hand a player can hold against all possible dealer up-cards. 

The basic strategy is readily available in books and on the Internet, however, many players still do not use and understand the importance of the basic strategy. Many players continue to believe that the game of blackjack is merely a guessing game and most often ignore the costs when they disregard the basic strategy.  

Blackjack is not a Guessing game

Experts have expressed multiple times that the game of blackjack is not merely a game of chance. The best way to win the game is by utilizing the basic strategy when playing a few hands.

Ask a player to randomly pick a card from a standard deck of shuffled cards. Before he gets to see his card, he would guess whether he picked a red or black one. The game, therefore, becomes a guessing game since the odds of drawing either of the options are 50-50.

For instance, let’s assume he guessed a red card then randomly picked a red card from the deck. Set aside the red card and reshuffle the remaining cards before asking him to make a guess and pick a card again. The odds are slightly in his favor if he assumes he picked a black card since there are more black cards than red cards in the deck. He may still lose if he picks black but the odds are in his favor if he picks that color over the other. At this point, the game is not purely a guessing game anymore because you have the odds in your favor if you pick black.

That is how the basic strategy works. In a given situation wherein you always hit 16 against a dealer’s 10 up-card, chances are you will lose. However, if you decide to stand, the odds are a little worse and you are most likely to lose more in the long run. The basic strategy prescribes the best and optimal way to play every hand in order to increase the odds in your favor wherein your expectation is to win more and lose less. 


The Cost of Basic Strategy Deviation

It costs in dollars and cents when a player decides to deviate from the basic strategy. Implementing basic strategy errors are highly expensive but not all of them. In the book written by Schlesinger, a table shows a summary of the hourly cost when a player decides to digress from the basic strategy. The table displays information regarding the frequency of occurrence of each hand, the bet size, and the number of hands per hour to arrive at the real costs.  


Split 10s against 7-A: $246

Stand on 12 against 7-A: $111

Split 10s against 2-6: $73

Hit 16 against 2-6: $68

Stand on 14 against 7-A: $71

Stand on 16 against 7-A: $29

No double on 10 against 2-6: $38

Insure every hand: $28

Hit 13 against 2-6: $23

Stand on A-6 against 7-A: $20

Take even money on blackjack: $1.35

The list showcases several hands from the above table and their cost in dollars per hour if you do not follow the basic strategy. The summation of costs for a range of up-cards are displayed in the list rather than the individual costs against each up-card of the dealer. For example, the total hourly cost is $246 whenever a player splits 10s against the dealer’s 7-A of up-cards.

The cost of digressing from the basic strategy can highly affect the value of your hard-earned money that’s going to the casino. Splitting 10s against any dealer up-cards, standing on 14 or 16 against larger dealer up-cards are both expensive errors. There are instances when you can get lucky in winning big deals by playing your way. However, following the basic playing strategy can highly guarantee you the best odds in your favor.

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