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HOME > > Blackjack Mistakes Made by Great Players

Blackjack Mistakes Made by Great Players

15 January 2023

By John Grochowski

Whether it's due to fatigue, a misread of the cards or just a brain cramp, blackjack players sometimes make mistakes.

Even good players sometimes mess up, as highlighted in a recent conversation with my old pal blackjack Bob.

Bob brought up a column I'd written not long ago about mistakes increasing with fatigue, then said, "I just pulled a doozy. Six-deck game, players' cards were all face up. The dealer showed an Ace, and I had 6-6.

"Problem was, I read them as 8-8. You know I don't drink when I play, so just a total brain cramp, eye fog, whatever. The groans came from around the table and the dealer even hesitated, and I left the split up.

"It wasn't until I saw a 10 come out to give me 16 on the first split hand I realized what I had done. Remember Roberto De Vincenzo, the old golfer who cost himself the Masters by signing an incorrect scorecard? I quoted him and announced, 'What a stupid I am!'"

I told Bob I'd done similar when tired. I once finished with a three-card 21 consisting of a 10, a 7 and a 4. How I got there is a matter of some dispute.

I thought I hit 10-4 and drew 7, but another player asked, "Did you just hit hard 17?" I had to admit, he raised some doubts, and if I wasn't locked in enough to remember the hand that had just been played, I was in to fit state to play.

I went to my room and napped for two hours.

Bob's experience led me to ask other good blackjack players for their greatest goofs.

BRIAN: I've played basic strategy for a long time, but somehow I managed to convince myself that just this once, it would be best to stand on my 9-7 against a 10.

You know what happened next. The dealer turned up a 6, and I was feeling smug that she had to hit 16. But, of course, she drew a 5 for a 21 that beat the whole table. Everybody blamed me for losing and I wanted someplace to hide.

Lesson that should have been learned decades ago was now locked in. Argh.

GUS: So Bob pulled the old mistake 6s for 8s and split by mistake trick did he? I did that one once and prolonged the agony by resplitting and resplitting again.

It's not that I didn't notice my mistake at the first split. It's that I got bullheaded after taking so much razzing from other players that I dug in my heels and kept repeating the same bad play.

To make it worse, I drew lots of low cards, strung out long hands and busted every one of them. Four hands, four busts, about a trillion cards.

When the dealer cleared away my cards and beats, one of the other players said, "Now that mess is cleaned up, we can get on with it."

I had to learn some self-control, to go with the flow if others gave me grief. We all make mistakes, but you don't have to compound them.

DARLA: I was at first base and had a dealer that wasn't real careful about keeping his hole card flat coming out of the shoe. Maybe half the time, I could see what he had down.

I thought he had a 4 down and a 9 up, and I doubled down on a hard 9. It seems I didn't see clearly. That 4 was an Ace, and I lost two bets instead of one to a dealer 20. Not ideal, really.

This article is provided by the Frank Scoblete Network. Melissa A. Kaplan is the network's managing editor. If you would like to use this article on your website, please contact Casino City Press, the exclusive web syndication outlet for the Frank Scoblete Network. To contact Frank, please e-mail him at fscobe@optonline.net.

John Grochowski
John Grochowski is the best-selling author of The Craps Answer Book, The Slot Machine Answer Book and The Video Poker Answer Book. His weekly column is syndicated to newspapers and Web sites, and he contributes to many of the major magazines and newspapers in the gaming field. Listen to John Grochowski's "Casino Answer Man" tips Tuesday through Friday at 5:18 p.m. on WLS-AM (890) in Chicago.

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