Basic Blackjack Errors

by Frank Scoblete

Basic Blackjack Errors has kept most players from enjoying the low edges against them or gaining the edge against the house utilizing basic blackjack strategy.
Basic strategy refers to the computer-derived play of every player hand versus every dealer upcard. If you adhere to this basic strategy for hitting, standing, doubling down, and splitting pairs, you will be rewarded with very small house advantages with multiple-deck games in the range of 0.3 to 0.6 % along with a miniscule house edge for single-deck games.
Toss in the good rules or conditions for specific single-deck games and that house edge is trimmed to 0.14 percent.

The reason for the success of blackjack for both the players and the casinos is that the players’ decisions do have an impact on the players’ expectation. Therefore, over time, how much a player wins or loses comes down to the player.
Additionally, with card counting, a skilled player can actually get an edge over the house. Once players found this out, they flocked to play the game and lost hundreds of millions of dollars in the process.

Why did these players lose money and go off track by making basic blackjack errors? 
I asked this of Paul McKenna, a professional blackjack player. His response was harsh but instructive. “The stupidity, laziness, bull-headedness, and arrogance of the ill-informed and the ill-educated thinking they know it all.”
“We know from billions of computer runs and hundreds of studies and from math just what the right moves are for every hand, yet players insist on playing in an inferior manner, which just causes them to lose more than they otherwise would.”   

He then went on to list the most common basic blackjack errors that players make. He called their strategies and logic bogus and the examples below reflect the player hand, dealer upcard, correct decision and the bogus or basic blackjack errors.

Player Hand: 12                    Dealer Upcard: 2 or 3
Correct Decision: hit            Bogus BJ: stand

McKenna: “Players think that there are more ten-values in the deck and that these will bust you. No, no, that is not true. If you have a hand of 12, about two-thirds of the cards that can come out are not going to bust you. The computer says the optimum strategy is to hit, so you hit.”

Player Hand: 16                    Dealer Upcard: 10
Correct Decision: hit            Bogus BJ: stand

McKenna: “That 16 is a losing hand no matter what you do but on two cards you will lose slightly less if you hit than if you stand which is one of the basic blackjack errors.”

Player Hand: A7                      Dealer Upcard: 4-5-6
Correct Decision: double      Bogus BJ: stand

McKenna: “A hand of 18 is a losing hand in the long run for the player. When the dealer is in a weak position with those bust cards up, you want to get more money on the table and take advantage of it.”

Player Hand: A7                     Dealer Upcard: 10 or Ace
Correct Decision: hit             Bogus BJ: stand

McKenna: “You have a losing hand with an 18, so you hit. Since you cannot bust, you have a shot of improving your hand. The computer shows this clearly.”

Player Hand: 5:5                     Dealer Upcard: 2-9
Correct Decision: double      Bogus BJ: split on 2-6/ hit on 7-9

McKenna: “Never split fives. Two fives are a ten, period. You go for the double because you have a very good chance of winning twice your bet.”

Player Hand: 20 or 21                     Dealer Upcard: Ace
Correct Decision: no insurance    Bogus BJ: insure your hands

McKenna: “You are giving the casino a big edge when you insure your twenties and your blackjacks. Even superficial logic should show you that when you have two ten-valued cards, the dealer is less likely than normal to have blackjack. The house edge on insurers is around 5 percent, sometimes more. Never insure your hands!”

These are not the only examples hands that fall prey to basic blackjack errors, but they reflect how many blackjack players think they are making a smart choice when just the opposite is true. Mr. McKenna sums it up: “In blackjack, you either play smart or stupidly. There is no in-between.”

Basic Blackjack Errors is followed by Blackjack Shufflers
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With card counting, a skilled player can actually get an edge over the house. Players then rushed to play the game and lost  millions of dollars in the process.

Why did these players lose money and go off track by blackjack errors? 

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