A Winning Strategy Guide to Correcting Common Blackjack Mistakes

How to Maximize Your Chances of Winning the Most Misplayed Hands in Blackjack


In the exciting game of blackjack, there are certain hands where the odds between the dealer and player are incredibly close. These hands often lead to confusion and misplay, resulting in missed opportunities for players. In this article, we will explore the most commonly misplayed hands in blackjack and provide you with expert insights on how to win them more often. By following the recommended strategies and understanding the underlying probabilities, you can significantly improve your chances of success at the blackjack table.

Misplayed Hand: Player 12

To Hit or To Stay?

One of the most frequently misplayed hands in blackjack occurs when a player is dealt a total of 12. It’s a critical moment that requires careful consideration. The decision whether to hit or stay depends on analyzing which cards can help or hurt your chances of winning.

With a total of 12, drawing a 10, jack, queen, or king would result in busting your hand. On the other hand, an ace, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, or 9 would improve your hand. Knowing these probabilities, it becomes clear that hitting is the more favorable choice. By taking another card, you increase your chances of achieving a better hand, just like the dealer. Conversely, if you decide to stand with a total of 12, your odds of winning decrease significantly. Therefore, the optimal strategy in this scenario is to hit and hope for a favorable card.

Misplayed Hand: Player’s Soft 18

Hit or Stay on a Dealer 10?

Another common misplayed hand occurs when a player has a soft 18 (containing an ace) and the dealer shows a 10. It may seem counterintuitive, but hitting in this situation can lead to better outcomes.

Consider the fact that the dealer’s face-down card is likely to be another 10, resulting in a total of 20. Your soft 18 is already a losing hand against the dealer’s strong total. To give yourself a chance at improving your hand and getting closer to 21, you should take the risk and hit. Drawing an ace, 2, or 3 would enhance your current hand, potentially turning it into a winning one. It’s important to note that this strategy applies specifically to soft 18; hitting with hard 18 is not recommended.

Misplayed Hand: Player’s 9

Double Down on a Dealer 3 or 6?

Underestimating the value of a 9 versus a particular dealer upcard can be a costly mistake. Many players fail to double down on this hand, unaware of the advantageous position they possess.

When you have a total of 9 and the dealer shows a 3 or 6, doubling down becomes a profitable move. Even though your hand cannot reach 21 with a single card, you have a favorable position against the dealer’s potential bust cards. By doubling your bet, you increase your potential winnings. It’s crucial to recognize these opportunities and seize them to maximize your profits in the long run.

The Temptation to Split Two 9’s

Stay When the Math Says So

Another compelling scenario presents itself when a player is dealt two 9’s and the dealer shows a 7. The initial instinct may be to split the 9’s, hoping to increase the overall profit. However, it’s essential to consider the potential outcomes and make a calculated decision.

With two 9’s, you have a total of 18 against the dealer’s 7. The thought of splitting, aiming for a stronger hand, may be enticing. However, there is no guarantee that the dealer will go bust. Splitting the 9’s could result in uneven outcomes, with one hand potentially winning and the other losing, ultimately canceling out the potential profit. To avoid this scenario, it is wiser to stay with the original 18, recognizing that it already has a higher chance of success against the dealer’s hand.


Mastering the optimal strategies for playing misplayed hands in blackjack can significantly enhance your overall success at the table. By understanding the probabilities, analyzing the dealer’s upcard, and making informed decisions, you can gain an edge over the casino and increase your chances of winning. Remember to always stay disciplined and avoid succumbing to the temptation of deviating from the optimal strategies. With practice and a deep understanding of the game, you can elevate your blackjack skills to new heights.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: Can I win every misplayed hand in blackjack by following basic strategy?

A1: While following basic strategy can significantly improve your odds, it does not guarantee a win on every misplayed hand. Blackjack is still a game of chance, and there will always be certain hands where the outcome may not be in your favor. However, by consistently applying the optimal strategies, you maximize your chances of success in the long run.

Q2: Are there other commonly misplayed hands in blackjack?

A2: Yes, aside from the ones mentioned in this article, there are several other commonly misplayed hands in blackjack. These include pairs of 8’s, pairs of ace-7, and hard totals of 16 against a dealer’s high upcard. It is crucial to familiarize yourself with these situations and know the correct strategies to employ for each of them.

Q3: What is the best way to practice playing misplayed hands in blackjack?

A3: One of the most effective ways to practice playing misplayed hands in blackjack is by utilizing online blackjack games. Many reputable websites offer free blackjack games that allow you to test different strategies and hone your skills without risking any real money. This provides an excellent opportunity to practice and reinforce the correct decision-making process for various misplayed hands.

Q4: Can I use card counting to gain an edge on misplayed hands?

A4: Card counting is a highly advanced technique that can give players an edge in blackjack by keeping track of the ratio of high to low-value cards remaining in the deck. While card counting can be a powerful tool in certain situations, it is not directly applicable to making optimal decisions for misplayed hands. The correct strategies for these hands are determined by probabilities and basic strategy rather than card counting.

Q5: Is it possible to win consistently at blackjack?

A5: Winning consistently in blackjack is challenging due to the inherent house edge. However, by employing proper strategies, managing your bankroll effectively, and maintaining a disciplined approach to the game, you can increase your overall chances of coming out ahead. It’s important to remember that blackjack, like any casino game, should be seen as entertainment, and winning should not be the sole focus. Enjoy the process and make informed decisions based on the best available strategies.

Now that you have a deeper understanding of how to approach misplayed hands in blackjack, it’s time to put your knowledge to the test. Head over to free blackjack games and apply the strategies you’ve learned in a risk-free environment. Practice, refine your skills, and embrace the excitement of blackjack with a newfound confidence. Good luck!

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Doug I. Jones

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