So you studied the basic strategy, mastered it, and head to the nearest casino. But after a couple of hands, you’re losing your bankroll on bad hands. What went wrong? You’ve followed the basic blackjack card game strategy and practiced it over and over again. What are you doing wrong? Honestly, you might be playing sloppy.
In this post, we will take an honest look at the possible reasons why players lose in blackjack. No matter how long your losing streaks are, there are ways to get past the slump and win your money back. That starts by admitting your mistakes and taking action.
So why do you lose? Here are the possible reasons.
Why players lose
Each player is as unique as their mistakes. Still, there are some common pitfalls where beginners tend to stumble. No matter what number of decks or rules you’re playing on, you’re probably oblivious of the mistakes you’re doing:
🃏Not inquiring about the rules
A lot of beginners tend to sit on the first table they spot in the casino. And as you know, dealers won’t give lectures before they start a round. No blackjack game is made equal and every casino will impose their own rules.
It’s your responsibility to inquire about the rules before playing. Ask around and observe the players first to have a good grasp of the casino terms.
Many players think that they are playing perfectly. But remember, no player has the perfect strategy including those who have mastered card counting tricks. The dealer won’t point out your mistakes and the worst part is they will fuel your false confidence.
Even if you know the basic strategy by heart, it wouldn’t be enough if you won’t put your feet on the ground.
🃏Experimenting with strategies
There’s nothing wrong about experimenting on different strategies. However, don’t do it while playing with actual money. I advise that if you want to explore different strategies, do so in a free blackjack card game online.
For beginners, always stick to the basic strategy. Practice at home or use different apps to sharpen your skills. Even if you feel like a broken record, playing a robot will help at the start. Otherwise, you should look for another game.
🃏Increasing bets haphazardly
Just because you’re having a short winning streak doesn’t mean you’ll put a large wager right away. Plan your bankroll if you don’t want to run out of money prematurely. If you head to the casino without any betting plan, you’ll surely lose more than what you bargain for.
Remember, betting strategies is as important as playing strategies. For players who don’t know how to utilize betting deviations, the game is nothing but a profitless and losing gambling blitzkrieg.
Even if you have more winning hands, you can still end up with more losses if your betting isn’t maximized.
🃏You play with an automatic card shuffler
If you’re an aspiring card counter, the biggest mistake you can ever do is playing on a table with an automatic shuffler. This device makes your card counting techniques futile. As much as it speeds up the game, it also dampens any chance of card counters to practice advantage play.
Also, an automatic shuffler exposes your money to the house edge as you lose control of any upper hand a player may have. And since more hands are played per hour, more losses are going to take place.
🃏Biting insurance and side bets all the time
Are you playing for fun or for money? It’s important to define your motives for playing blackjack. If you’re there for the money, your side bets are probably the reason why you’re losing. The likes of insurance, suits, and shoots have high house edges. Unless you’re card counting and employing playing deviations, it’s never smart to place side wagers.
Casinos use side bets to lure players to the idea of “saving” a bet or using a safety net to prevent losses. If you don’t know the ins and outs, it’s going to be a money grabber.
In brick-and-mortar casinos, alcoholic drinks are free-flowing. If you don’t have control over this, you’ll end up drunk and unable to play strategically. Soon enough, you’ll be losing your money and you’ll bee-line your way out of the casino with losses. You’re drunk, broke, and there’s a massive headache that awaits the next morning.
Always play with a straight head and rest if you must before the game. This way, you’re on the best shape to gamble on your blackjack playing card. If you think the alcohol is stealing your sobriety, walk away, cash-out, and come back next time.
🃏You chose 6:5 payouts
Blackjack tables have different payout rates per variation and rules. If you keep on playing with a 6:5 payout, you’re not getting the optimal winnings for a blackjack. Experts always recommend that you stick to a 3:2 blackjack payout or not play at all.
Always look at the table before sitting in one of the chairs. If there are no vacant slots for the 3:2 setup, wait until someone quits so you can take the spot.
Not convinced? Here’s Ken Palluotto as he briefly explains why you’re experiencing the big slump:
How likely am I to lose in blackjack?
Given that you’re playing with an optimal strategy, your losses will be based on the house edge. For example, you have a bankroll of 100 units for $1 each and you’re playing at a house edge of 0.5%. The casino expects you to lose $0.5 per hand.
In this case, your bankroll of $100 will be divided into 5 which results to an hourly income of $20. That is if you play the entire 100 units in an hour and if you’re using the right strategy.
What are the odds of losing and winning streaks in blackjack?Statistically, a player that sticks to the basic strategy in a usual shoe game will win 43.3% of all hands, lose around 48%, and will likely push the remaining 8.7%.
So with a loss probability of 48%, losing six hands in a row translates to 1 in every 47 attempts. Still, this is based on the idea that the player is employing the proper application of basic strategy. So if you’re playing sloppy, your chance of experiencing losing streaks increases.
In this video, Michael Shackleford from Wizard of Odds discusses how the casino utilizes its advantage to get your money:
How to manage losing streaks
When it comes to the blackjack card game, losing and winning streaks are normal. The shoe can be sour or rich in different times. What matters is you strike whilst the iron is hot. But what if you’re experiencing a major slump?
In the case of losing streaks, avoid chasing your losses with the belief that you’re going to win it back at once by high-rolling. More likely, you’ll lose more money in this mindset which spells trouble for your bankroll.
At all cost, don’t try the Martingale betting system. Any progressive betting system is catastrophic, to say the least.
The idea of this method is to double your bet every time you lose. So when you win, you’re going to win big time. However, this doesn’t work no matter how hard you try.
I think the better game plan is to have a stop-loss margin or the loss limit. Once you’ve lost or won a quarter of your day’s bankroll, walk away and call it a day. This way, you won’t lose everything.
Most of all, gird your loins. Don’t let frustration and anger take over your game. If you’re starting to be cranky, stop playing and cool down with a can of soda. It’s better to come back on another day. Always practice grace on your losses as much as you do when you win.
What you can do when you’re losing
For each mistake, there are effective corrections. If you’re losing and frustrated, here are some of our tips that you can follow:
🃏Know what you’re playing
There are many blackjack variations and each one has a different house edge, rules, and payout rates. So why does this matter? First, you’re not supposed to play without practicing by the rules. Next, it’s imperative to know what the house edge is.
Let’s take standard American Blackjack and Super Fun 21 as examples. American Blackjack has a house edge of around 0.5% while Super Fun 21 can be as massive as 1.3%. This alone is enough proof that your losses are probably caused by your inability to gamble based on the variances of the rules.
🃏Train with a pro
The probable reason for your losses is poor play. To fix this, the only effective way is to train with the help of an experienced card counter or gambler. It will also pay off to watch them play in an actual casino so you can see the strategy first-hand.
The other person can also test your skills and help you correct mistakes that you may encounter along the way. Start with the basic strategy (master the basics before breaking them!), blackjack deviations, and bankroll management. Soon enough, you’ll be recovering from your losses.
Even the best card counter takes a refresher from time to time. If you’re losing, there’s no excuse not to invest in practicing and sharpening your skills. You can use a free blackjack card game app or manual decks of cards to do this.
Make sure that you employ the strategy without a mistake. Repeatedly test yourself until you can play without breaking the basic rules.
🃏Decrease your bets
Experiencing a losing streak? If this happens and you’re in the middle of a promising game, decrease your bets to mitigate any potential losses. When the dealer consistently gets blackjacks and pairs of 10s, quit and take a breather.
Also, don’t play too long. The longer you stay on the table, the deeper the house edge will go down to your bankroll.
🃏Start card counting
If you’re serious about rising from the ashes of your losses, I suggest that you start studying card counting. This is pretty easy, but you need a lot of practice to count cards in the blink of an eye. As the deck increases, the card counting becomes challenging as you need to convert the running count into a true count.
Nevertheless, the effort is worth it since card counting gives you an added edge over the casino. This way, you can make educated decisions as to when you should stick to the basic strategy or deviate from it.
The Hi-Lo card counting is the simplest and most effective method here. For this, I suggest that you practice just the same and tap the help of an experienced card counter.
Not familiar with card counting? Watch this guide featuring Henry Tamburin, a professional blackjack card counter:
🃏Don’t gamble what you can’t afford losing
Always set a budget before heading to the casino. Once you lost a large sum, stop and call it a day. If you can’t afford a whole fortune, don’t place it on the table. For impulsive gamblers, this can be difficult to control. It helps to have someone at your back to advise you when to walk away.
Do the same when you’re winning. When you’ve reached a certain profit, cash out and go back next time. This way, you won’t be backed off in case you’re card counting and you’ll be on top of your emotions.
Remember that although you’re experiencing a slump, it doesn’t mean you’re losing already. Wait until you’ve played hundreds of hands and hundreds of hours to see if you actually won the game. Even long-time card counters don’t walk out of the casino with wads of cash every single time. There are good days and bad days, but don’t lose sight of your progress.
Your blackjack playing card could be ugly, but with the right strategy, you can gain the losses back. Always calculate your possible losses and don’t fly blind with your strategy.
No matter what happens, don’t blame luck for your gambling mishaps. Blackjack is more mathematical than simply gut feel. Practice more and don’t be afraid to tap the help of a friend.