Blackjack is a highly interesting card game. Blackjack is also very popular amongst other table games because of its promise of a lower house edge than many other casino games.
However, while some players do exceptionally well in gaining a fortune at blackjack, several others fail. And the reason behind this is not just luck but also, a number of simple strategic blackjack rules that some players follow and others do not.
If you are wondering, how to be a great blackjack player, then remember that a successful blackjack player is one who is consistently profitable by lowering the house edge further and improving the odds of winning.
Let's find out more about the qualities that a good blackjack player must exhibit.
Knowledge of the Optimum Strategy
If you wish to make a fortune in blackjack, then you must stop relying completely on your luck and instead, start learning the Optimum Strategy of the game even before you visit a casino. For first-time players, it is essential to understand how the game is dealt, the individual card values and the way around the table.
Then, it is time to study the basic blackjack strategy and know what to do when you have a hard hand or a soft hand. Sound knowledge of when to Hit, Stand, Double Down or Split your pair of two cards is extremely crucial for anyone to become a great blackjack player.
Once you are well-versed with the Optimum Strategy and apply the rules, you get a chance to play at less than 0.5% of the house edge, and the odds of winning automatically increase with this.
Have a Clear Plan, But Be Versatile
A blackjack player must have a clear plan before starting to play at the table. Knowing the Optimum Strategy is of utmost importance but a good player must also have a bit of versatility. Casinos have different blackjack variants being played with varying numbers of decks of cards. Now, the player must take into account these variations while applying his strategy. Too much sticking to a rigid plan might make him miss out on these subtle differences and lose his otherwise good hand.
Also, online blackjack is played faster than that in a land-based casino. So, whether you are counting cards or implementing the basic strategy, you have to be more proactive and quick in decision-making.
For a blackjack player, it is mandatory to manage your bankroll or finances tactfully. Just as it is important to maximize the up trends when you are winning, it is necessary to minimize losses by controlling the urge to put too much at stake, when you are losing.
You can engage in good bankroll management by adjusting the size of your bets based on the bankroll you have for playing. Remember not to bet more than you can afford ever. This way, you will have the chance to earn back the money you lose on a few bad bets and stay afloat in the game. Once your blackjack bankroll starts growing, you can move up in stakes and make more money. The ideal way of playing blackjack is to stick to planning and strategy and keep emotions at bay. Following a strong plan lets you build a $100 bankroll to $1,000.
The advantage of Blackjack is that has a smaller house edge. That is why; players can turn the house edge in their favor and make more money but that is largely made possible by the technique of card counting. A card counter can basically predict what card is drawn from the deck by keeping track, of course in his head, of all the cards that have already been used in the game.
This is further done by assigning a numerical value to each of the cards. For instance, cards 2-6 can be put as +1, cards 7-9 as 0 and the aces can be counted as -1. It is not an easy technique to master for sure but can be learned through practice. Also, card counting is not illegal but might not be allowed by a few casinos. However, playing the trick like an expert can hardly get you caught.
One of the essential tips to become a good blackjack player is to exercise self-control. Blackjack is a real money game and hence, players should act smart and be aware of their personal limits. While sitting at a blackjack table, set a limit that you are comfortable with and this will let you take better decisions because you are not worried about what you are ending up betting.
No player can be winning every time, which is why playing within one's means is of utmost importance. And most importantly, it is necessary to stay within this limit or know where to stop even if you are on a winning streak.
In this regard, a rule of thumb is to decide what you are ready to risk and then, put only a quarter of that amount on the table at any time. Also, remember that you can control how long you want to play so, you can quit even if you are simply not enjoying, irrespective of your wins or losses.
Avoid Side Bets
In standard blackjack, there are several side bet options that players get as they play along. While these side bets promise a prospect of winning an additional amount, they invariably increase the house edge in the process too. As a result, it is imperative for a good blackjack player to avoid placing side bets in general and the Insurance side bet, in particular.
With an insurance bet, the house edge increases to as much as 6%. Plus, if the player has a blackjack, he will win only the original bet. On the other hand, if the dealer has blackjack too, it's a push, which means a no win, no loss situation.
Sit Further Down
One of the tips for playing blackjack like a pro is avoiding the first base chair and instead, sitting further down. This is particularly relevant in situations when the dealer seems to be rushing. Avoiding the first chair and sitting down will give you more time to review your hand as well as the dealer's upcard. You can also make better use of the basic strategy and count cards in a more decisive way.
Alongside, it is important to start small to get an idea of the situation and especially, the mood of the dealer. As experts suggest, 'hot and cold streaks of the dealer can have a big effect on the player'.
To be successful at blackjack, you must avoid relying on hunches and instead, depend more on statistics. Like in any casino game, there are myths, legends, and misconceptions revolving around blackjack too. But it is better not to draw conclusions based on other people's stories.
A good blackjack player is always data-driven and has a mathematically-bent mind. This is very important because blackjack, after all, is a numbers game and the player's mathematical prowess can enable him to be in a position to extract maximum value from blackjack. Experts learn their charts by heart, create their own with a blackjack card generator, and leave no room for guesswork at all.
Blackjack is a statistical game, the result of which can largely be determined by the player's own skill and decision making. So, instead of taking a random approach, enjoying and exercising the skill element will always help you get more out of your hand, in terms of both pleasures as well as profits.
So, what makes a successful blackjack player is actually a combination of a number of personality traits, strategic skills, and discipline. As players imbibe these qualities, relying quite a bit on their luck too, they do well and significantly increase their chances of winning at a blackjack table.
This article was published on March 9, 2021, and last updated on October 25, 2022.