The Worst Blackjack Strategies - Part 1

There probably is no casino game more popular than Blackjack. It draws many players, both casual and professional ones, interested in having a good time and making some profit. There are tons of Blackjack strategies and systems out there, but only one of them actually works. It is based on mathematically proven decisions that you should make when you compare dealer’s cards to yours. Well, that and card counting too.

This basic strategy is pretty much the only one that truly works, and even the gamblers who count cards use it. However, people sometimes get stuck with some very bad strategies. Maybe they had a bad advice, maybe they read the wrong book or blog post. We have complied a list of 7 of such strategies that you should definitely avoid.

On top of that, we highly recommend that you also check out our article about top 10 Blackjack mistakes that you should avoid.

Copycatting the dealer

Copying what the dealer does might seem like a good idea. After all, he represents the casino and the house edge. He draws on 16 and below and stands on 18 and above, so you should do exactly the same. Right? Wrong!

The edge actually exists because you must act before the dealer. And when you bust – you bust, it has nothing to do with whatever the dealer will do after you. Additionally, the dealer’s choices are not the best possible ones. He must draw to get to that 17, and in some casinos he can’t even stand on soft 17.

By copycatting what the dealer does, the house edge goes up to 6% instead of the usual less than 1%! So avoid this mirroring strategy at all cost, pun intended.

Avoid busting

There is another bad strategy that advises you to never bust. If you’re 11 or less – you always hit, and if you’re 12 or more – you always stand. So naturally, you have avoided the dreadful bust in 100% of all hands.

Yes, it might annoy you to bust and then see the dealer bust in the same hand, but this “no to the bust” approach works against you. Like in the previous case, this convoluted strategy costs you more while the house edge rises to 4%.

Let’s see the following example to convince you: you’ve got 12 and the dealer shows an ace. If his face down card is 6 or more, then has 17 to 21. Only 5 cards, ace to five, require him to hit one more time and perhaps go bust. So in most scenarios, sticking to your 12 and “no busting” means that you lose. Again, the preferred choice is to follow the basic strategy instead of risking your money by using unsuccessful strategies.

The Martingale system

This famous/infamous method of playing simply states that, following every loss, you double your bet, so that when the eventual win comes, you’ll compensate the losses and win a prize equivalent to your initial bet in this sequence of bets. This system is used with other casino games, such as craps, roulette,  baccarat, and so on. John Henry Martingale was a European gambling parlor owner back in the 18th century and he allegedly invented the system, although there is a strong evidence that it was used before him.

Lets take a look at the system using an actual betting sequence. Let’s say you have bet ten bucks on your first hand in Blackjack. If you win, then bet again the same amount. If you lose – bet $20 and so on. If you lose again, then bet $40, but if you win – go back to the original $10.

However, and here is what is wrong with this Blackjack strategy, if you lose 10 hands in a row (which can happen), you have to bet $10,240. No normal casino will loan you that much money to chase your losses.

The system “works”, but it doesn’t limit the number of double bets you have to make. And eventually, you must bet as much as $10,240 only to get your $10 back. That’s insane! While you can use this system for some very small profits, you might hit a huge losing streak and bust your bankroll.

You might tell yourself that the chances of a very long losing streak are slim, but I challenge you to write it down when it actually happens. It’s a common phenomenon. You shouldn’t invest all of your bankroll into something that depends on a chance and cannot be controlled by you.

The hands do not depend on each other, as far as their odds and probabilities go. You can’t “convince” the cards to lean in your favor if you continuously double the bets. Your chances of winning a single hand are identical, so stay away from The Martingale system and stick to the basics.

Now that you know which 3 strategies not to use during your Blackjack game, have a look at our casino bonuses and promotions page, and get ready to enjoy tons of games and even win some money.


In the part 2 we will showcase 4 more bad Blackjack strategies. Feel free to see the video below for more strategies that you should definitely avoid.