If you enter a casino armed with the most advanced of Blackjack strategies, you will still be facing a house edge, which guarantees the casino a long term profit. With Blackjack, the only way to beat the casino is to learn to count cards, which will almost certainly result in you being removed from the premises. So what to do?

It is difficult enough to beat the house edge, so it is crucial to avoid making mistakes that multiply the casino’s advantage. Here are the top five most common mistakes seen at a Blackjack table.

1. Insurance
Insurance is a terrible bet. When the dealer is showing an A, there are four cards to complete Blackjack – a K, Q, J or T – against nine cards that won’t complete a 21. If you insure against Blackjack, you are effectively placing a 2/1 bet that the dealer has Blackjack, but we have just established that the true odds are 9/4. So don’t take insurance.

2. Doubling Your Bets
Variations of the “Martingale System” appear in most gambling games and are commonly associated with a roulette table’s even money bets, but there are plenty of Blackjack players who like to bet this way too. By doubling your bet after a loss, you can’t lose in theory, as you will eventually win a hand. But of course, it only takes a run of eight or nine losses before your bets are actually quite sizeable, if you aren’t already bust. This is a very risky strategy and will always end in tears. It is only a matter of when.

3. Splitting Tens
This is an awful play. You are giving up a 20, which can only be beaten by the dealer making an unlikely 21. What are you hoping for? You are giving up the second best hand, to give yourself a big chance to make two inferior hands and lose double your bet, for a slim chance to make a couple of strong hands. Crazy.

4. Poor Game Selection
Some players will sit anywhere, but certain casinos have certain variations on the Blackjack rules. You want to be playing at a table with the lowest possible house edge and you need to be familiar with all of the rules. Furthermore, you need to be comfortable with the minimum bet and not playing outside of your bankroll. Make sure you have enough chips in front of you to be able to split and double down, to exploit every edge possible.

5. Not Preparing Properly
Knowledge is power, forewarned is forearmed. As with anything in life, you get out of Blackjack what you put in. Take the time to study at least basic Blackjack strategy, which will help to cut out so many mistakes that will eat into your bankroll. If every player used basic Blackjack strategy, rather than making poor play after poor play, casinos would need to change the rules to make any decent money – it’s that simple.