Plays to avoid in Blackjack

Even if you’ve never played a hand of Blackjack online in your life, you probably know about hitting and standing in this game at casinos. Those are the two primary blackjack decisions in the bigger strategy in the Blackjack game; hitting is when one chooses to draw another card, and standing is when one sticks with the card that one has while you play online. But these aren’t the only play options you have at the Blackjack casino table for real money online. One can also split, double down, take insurance, surrender, and sometimes, you can get some extra action from side bets at casinos. We’ll discuss these blackjack rules that should be avoided for most hands in most games, including surrender, insurance, side bets, and splits. 

Casino players, new or experienced, often hear that blackjack games offer the lowest casino house edge out of the casino table games in real or online casinos. Play properly, and you can whittle the casino house edge down to under 1%, which is a bonus in your online play. Unfortunately, there are many mistakes that casino blackjack players make that prevents them from getting that bare minimal casino house edge. Read these tips for new players or just as a refresher to help ensure you don’t leave real money on the blackjack casino table when you play online at casinos.

Terms of Surrender

After you receive your two cards and the blackjack Dealer’s up-card is shown, you can choose to bail instead of playing out the hand even when you play online. It’ll cost you half the amount of money you’ve bet, but you’ll get the other half back instead of risking the whole thing on a bad hand. So when should you use the surrender option during online blackjack games?

First, you need to know the difference between early and late surrender, and which of the two is the best option and which your casino blackjack game allows. Early surrender is when you ditch your hand before the blackjack Dealer checks for a Blackjack (assuming his up-card is an Ace). Late surrender is when you have to wait for the blackjack Dealer to check first. Most of the games played today allow late surrender only, including those games available to play online at Bodog Casino.

Early surrender is a much more potent weapon, since you can use it before the blackjack Dealer turns over a natural Blackjack for the win in these games. But you can still use late surrender to help whittle down the casino house edge in very select situations during games. It’s a simple, but one of the best, concept: Only surrender when you think your hand is going to lose more than 50% of the time. For example, if you’re playing Blackjack with a standard six-deck shoe, you’ve got 16 in your play hand, and the blackjack dealer is showing a Nine or higher, it’s time to surrender. Your chances of winning that play hand are significantly less than 50%.

You should also surrender if you have 15 and the dealer is showing a card worth 10 points. And if the blackjack Dealer hits on soft 17, then you can ditch your 15 and your 17 if the up-card is an Ace. That’s the best and full list of when to surrender late in Blackjack, provided there are at least four decks in the shoe. As you can see, it’s a move that should be avoided for the most part, but comes in handy once in a while when you play blackjack games online for real money at casinos. 

Not Splitting Eights

Alternatively, there are some hands that should almost always be split, such as Eights. There’s a good chance you can turn that 16 into two 18’s. The only time you shouldn’t split Eights is against a dealer Ace upcard when you’re playing blackjack where the blackjack dealer hits on soft 17. In that case, the best option is to surrender in order to be able to play more blackjack games online.

Taking Insurance

Basically every game of Blackjack, online and live, offers players the opportunity to take insurance when the blackjack Dealer’s up-card is an Ace. That’s because this side bet gets the casino house extra cash in what is otherwise considered a low-casino-house-edge game. We’ll explain how this side bet works and why it is best to be avoided when you play online blackjack games. 

When the blackjack Dealer flips over an Ace as his up-card, you’ll be asked whether you’d like to take insurance. This side bet costs half of what you put down in your initial bet (If you bet $10, insurance would cost another $5), and pays 2:1 when the casino Dealer has Blackjack. Since you’d still lose your initial bet, taking insurance would result in you breaking even in blackjack games. 

The issue with blackjack insurance lies in its probability and real money payout during blackjack games. In a six-deck Blackjack game play, there are 96 10-value cards that would result in the insurance bet winning. Meanwhile there are 215 cards that would result in the insurance bet losing. When you multiply the 96 winning cards with the 2-1 payout, you get a return of 61.7%. Multiplying the 215 cards by the loss, results in a –69.1% loss. Combine the two results, and you get an overall casino house edge of 7.4%. That’s significantly higher than the casino house edge that comes from standard play (assuming you adhere to basic strategy), which is why most people avoid the insurance bet. 

Just like with the surrender option when you play blackjack games online, insurance shouldn’t be banished altogether. It is the right move in a select play scenario that involves card counting. Card counters happily take insurance when they have determined that the remainder of the shoe is rich in 10-value cards. 

Playing at the Wrong Blackjack Table

Some blackjack casino tables offer lower payouts for getting a natural when you play. You should only ever play at a blackjack table that pays 3:2 for blackjack. Steer clear of tables that pay 6:5; you’ll be getting $12 for every blackjack hand (when betting $10) instead of $15.

Assume a 10 in the Hole

New blackjack players to the game will often play blackjack assuming that the hole card will be a 10 since 10 is more likely than other cards. It can be tempting to apply this strategy to your play instead of taking the time to learn proper blackjack strategy, but it will cost you real money. The casino house edge for the Assume a 10 strategy is 10.03%.

Pairs Side Bet

Many Blackjack players look for ways to win bigger real money payouts than the standard even-money ones that you get in regular play. For that, you must delve into the world of side bets, which can pay 25X your stake, and sometimes more. But a word of caution: Most side bets are able to offer big payouts because the odds of winning them are quite low. We’ll go over the “pairs” side bet in the game Perfect Pairs as an example.

In our online game of Perfect Pairs, you can stake up to $500 on the Pairs side bet for a chance to win up to 25X your initial wager. If you are dealt a pair in the initial deal, you get paid according to its strength. The strongest pair, the perfect pair, is when you get the exact same two cards. That could be two Jacks of spades, which is possible because Perfect Pairs uses six decks. You can expect the 25X payout for this top-tier pair in online games with Bodog. 

The second-best pair is a coloured pair, which could be a Jack of spades and a Jack of clubs, or a Queen of hearts and Queen of diamonds—for example. These pay 12X your stake. The majority of the time that you win the pairs side bet, you will be landing ‘mixed pairs.’ A Ten of clubs and a Ten of hearts would constitute a mixed pair, paying 6X your stake. Overall, the Pairs side bet comes with a 6.1% house edge, which is much higher than the casino house edge that you’d get from playing Blackjack on its own in online games with Bodog. 

Splitting Tens

If you’re just in the new play phase of blackjack game stages of learning Blackjack rules, you may be a little fuzzy on the rules of splitting. Basically, any time you’re dealt two matching cards right off the bat, you can split the cards into two individual hands; each one will be dealt a second card, at which point, you play out your hands as you would in regular play. Splitting Aces is the most common scenario, as you can turn a score of 12 into scores of 21. One play scenario that is less clear is splitting Tens in blackjack games in casinos. 

The temptation is there: You’re dealt two Tens for a score of 20. By splitting your Tens, you could potentially get two more Tens for two scores of 20. But remember the best phrase for playing blackjack at casinos and online for real money, a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. You’re already almost guaranteed a win with your pair of Tens—why risk losing it for the chance to double up? Take what’s yours and move on to the next round of blackjack when you play for real money online at Bodog.

Blackjack has many layers of casino game strategy; there are times to hit and times to stand—both of which can be learned in Blackjack casino game strategy charts found online. But the scenarios listed in this article are a little less obvious to the new Blackjack player. Keep them in mind when playing Blackjack online for real money at Bodog Casino, and you’ll be one step ahead in your blackjack play journey to mastering this complex game of Blackjack at our online casino. The best way to learn is to play your Blackjack card-play now with Bodog Casino online for real money.