One good way to lose money while playing blackjack is to employ a bad strategy. This is especially inexcusable when you know the correct strategy, but as most people know, it is better what they think.
Two bad playing strategies often used by novice players seem to have a certain logic. They are “mimic the dealer” and “never bust”. Even some basic strategy players have reverted to one of these during an extended losing streak. Sometimes these strategies seem to work for a while, but in the long run house picks up a large advantage.
Mimic the Dealer
Since the dealer wins most of the time by hitting 16 and standing on 17, it is obviously the best blackjack strategy. When you mimic the dealer, you are not doing yourself any favors, but you are doing the house a big favor. The dealer does not win most of the time because she hit 16 and stands on 17, she wins because she plays her hand last. Consequently, when you bust, you always lose and when the dealer busts she only loses if you didn’t bust first. This is such a large advantage for the dealer that if you try to mimic her, the house edge rises to almost 5,5%.
Since you lose when you bust, even if the dealer busts, wouldn’t you be better off never hitting a 12 or higher? Then you would win whenever the dealer busts. On average the dealer busts less than 29% of the time. That means you will be guaranteed a win on almost 29% of your hands. But what about the other 71%? When the dealer does not bust, it means she achieved a total count of 17 through 21 and she did that over 71% of the time. Every time you stand on a low count and the dealer does not bust, you lose. In fact, if you don’t achieve an average count of 19 when the dealer shows a 7 or higher, you will lose most of the time. Using a no-bust strategy will increase the house edge to almost 4%.