Common Blackjack Playing Mistakes
Below listed the more frequent and embarrassing blackjack mistakes.
One of the most foolish feelings in the world is to walk into a crowded casino, find one of the few empty seats, sit down, and throw out your five-dollar chip only to have everybody look at you in disgust. The dealer then says in a flat voice, "This is a one-hundred-dollar-minimum table, sir." With a red face, you get up and mumble, "Excuse me," and slink off. No wonder there were empty seats!
The way to avoid this is to look for a little white-on-black plastic sign usually located to the dealer's left (your right). This sign will state the table minimum if it is different from the normal casino minimum. When in doubt, watch what the players are betting. At least half the players often will be betting the minimum in a higher-stakes game.
Another bit of carelessness that irritates the dealer and slows up the game is to throw several chips into the betting square. Your bet must be in a single stack so the dealer doesn't confuse your initial bet for a double down later on. In most cases, the dealer will arrange your bet before beginning to deal. Some dealers, though, will instruct you to keep your bet in one stack.
A terrible mistake is to touch your bet after the deal has begun. The dealers will react immediately and strongly, telling you, "Do not touch your bet." The reason for this response is that you are behaving like a cheater. Cheating players will attempt to press a good hand (add more chips when the dealer isn't looking) or pinch a bad hand (take chips off the stack when not being observed).
It is equally bad to place a double-down bet or splitting bet on top of your original wager. The cheat will add more than the doubled amount whenever possible. And once there is a single stack, the dealer can't be certain what the original bet was.
You are never to touch the cards in a face-up game. If you do, or try to, the dealer can only assume it's because you wish to mark or deface a card. Cheaters have all kinds of ways to mark cards for later identification. They wear sharp rings to "cut" an edge, or they can do it with a fingernail.
While you can handle the cards in a face-down game, you should be careful. The dealers, the pit boss, and the eye in the sky are much more alert to unusual player moves in the facedown game, since it is easier to mark the cards in play. A typical innocent mistake is to make the hit motion by brushing the cards too hard across the felt. This puts a bend in the cards that can be detected later. The dealer will stop you and ask that you brush the cards lightly for a hit.
The newcomers will frequently miscount their hand. In the flow of the game, you can forget your intermediate total as you take a hit or you make a simple addition error. If you have trouble adding up your cards, don't be afraid to take your time and read all the cards with each hit. This way you will be certain of their exact value.
Another problem is caused by mishandling Aces.
The best way to count Aces is to consider them a "1" and calculate your hand. When you reach a total, add a "10" for every Ace in the hand. For example, you are dealt A,3. This gives you a 4 or a 14 value. You hit and receive another Ace for A,3,A. Your values now are 5, 15, or 25 (a bust). You hit again and receive a 5 for A,3,A,5. First counting the Aces as "1," you now have a 10, and adding a "10" for the first ace, also a 20. Since 20 is a very good hand, you now decide to stand. By counting Aces as "1" first, then adding 10, you avoid standing on a soft hand because you are afraid of busting.
Another miscounting error involves chips. If you mix the values of your chips after getting your change, you may think you're betting ten dollars with two five-dollar chips and be betting thirty dollars with a twenty-five-dollar chip under a five-dollar chip. Or you may get your colors mixed up and think you're betting five dollars a hand and be betting twenty-five dollars a hand. When in doubt, look carefully at the face of the chips for their dollar value. Keep them in separate stacks in front of you and arrange them in some order such as low to high, left to right, for example. This way you will always know what you are betting.
Many beginning players take hits for cards they never asked for because they are careless about the way they handle their
Another playing mistake is to absent-mindedly stick your first two cards up near the area of the bet or up under the bet even though you may wish to take a hit. Suddenly you see the dealer giving cards to the person on your left, having passed you by. What you've done is to signal that you want no more cards. Once the dealer has gone by you and dealt to another player, it's too late. If you plan to hit, keep your cards away from the betting square.
A final playing mistake it to try to split nonpairs.
By watching for these errors, you will make your Blackjack sessions much more enjoyable for you, the other players, and the dealer.