On the surface, Blackjack is a very simple game. You can even learn a basic strategy for every variant you’ll encounter, be it the number of decks in the shoe, whether the dealer hits or stands on soft 17, or any other standard set of rules. Then again, it does take some time and effort to learn these strategies, and as Alexander Pope once wrote, to err is human. There are specific hands in Blackjack that seem to cause the most mistakes; here are a few of the most common ones.

Hard 12 vs. Low Cards

Most blackjack players with a little experience are aware that it’s bad for the Dealer to have anything lower than a Seven showing. That’s because she’ll be forced to draw two cards – provided you don’t go bust first. As a result, many players will simply stand with anything higher than 11. It’s a decent simplified strategy, but in most Blackjack games, there are two situations where you should hit instead: when you’ve got 12, and the Dealer has a Deuce or a Trey.


Some players prefer to stand when they’re dealt a pair of Nines, especially when the Dealer has one of those low “bust cards” we just mentioned. But the odds say otherwise. A pair of Nines should be split when facing one of these up-cards, and also when the Dealer is showing an Eight or a Nine. Go ahead and stand if she has a Seven, a 10-value card, or an Ace.

Soft 17

Right now, somewhere in the world, someone is standing on Soft 17 (Ace-Six). This is never correct. While 17 is a decent hand, you’ll win more often if you hit, no matter what the Dealer’s up-card is. Better still, if doubling is allowed, double down if the Dealer is showing a Trey, Four, Five or Six.

Dealer’s Ace

Many Blackjack variants (including here at Ignition Casino) allow you to buy insurance when the Dealer’s up-card is an Ace. This side bet pays out at 2:1 if she does indeed have a Blackjack. Once again, this is never the right move. Some players will only do this when they themselves have a Blackjack, locking down even money and ending the hand. This is even worse, since you have a 10-value card in your hand that the Dealer needs. Just say no to insurance.