UNITED STATES—If you’re an absolute beginner in the gambling world, you probably wonder how certain games can bring you wins. If you’re particularly interested in blackjack and you want to learn all about it, the first thing you should do is learn the basic strategy. After that, things will become easier.

When you master the basic strategy, all you have left is avoiding these common mistakes that beginners tend to make. And if you want to play blackjack for real money please play responsibly.

Accepting Insurance

Insurance is one of the trickiest deals you can accept in blackjack, although it sounds tempting. In essence, insurance is the bet you should make if the dealer shows an ace and you suspect he has a blackjack. But the chances of that happening are 9 to 4. For this bet, you’re paying 2 to 1 and if you’re not right, you lose. So, why consider it at all? Well, experienced card counters would know whether the dealer has a blackjack, but you won’t. So, until you get enough practice, stay away from insurance.

Splitting a Pair of 10s

Splitting a pair of 10s would give you great two starting hands and a good chance of winning, sure. But, are you aware that you’re giving away a solid 20, something which is almost as equally good as blackjack? It cannot be emphasized enough that you should never ever split a pair of 10s. When you see it explained like this you get it, right? But, believe it or not, beginners make this mistake more often than not.

Not Splitting a Pair of 8s

Whenever you’re dealt with a pair of 8s, or in other words a soft 16, you should always split them. A soft 16 is one of worst blackjack hands, as you should never stand. Experts say that you should split a pair of 8s against any dealer’s hand, except for a 10. In this case, you should surrender. They say that this is the correct play whenever you’re faced with a pair of 8s.

Avoiding Doubling Soft Hands

One of the most common mistakes that blackjack beginners make is avoiding doubling soft hands. Soft hands are those hands where you have an ace in combination with some other card. You should always double down when you’re dealt with, say an ace and a six or an ace and a seven. In fact, an ace and a seven or otherwise known as the soft 18, is considered to be one of the top best hands in blackjack for which you are paid the most.

Being Unsure About a 13

Pro players claim that they are positive new players would hit if they have a 12 and the dealer shows a 2, but never hit if the dealer shows a 3. This is because they think that they would go bust if the next card is a 10-valued card. But you forget that there are plenty of other cards that can give you 17 through 21. The risk is there, sure, but chances are you will win more often if you hit than if you stand.