What skills do you need to become good at blackjack? 

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What skills do you need to become good at blackjackBy Marilyn B.

There are a couple of card games that have made their way into movies and TV series and they are certainly some of the most played at casinos online and land-based. Online blackjack has swiftly become one of the most popular card games played on mobile, PC, and in casinos too! 

So if you want to dive into the world of blackjack, you’re going to need to work on a few of the skills below! 

Why play blackjack over other card games? 

When you think of casino card games, poker might come to mind, and if your only experience with card games is watching them on TV or in a movie, you might think they are almost the same game. 

But poker and blackjack have a fundamental difference in how they are played (aside from the rest of the rules). Poker players will need to assess other players, learn how to decide, adapt to changes they didn’t see coming, pace the game and so much more.  Poker is ideal for those who like to get deep into the game. 

Blackjack, on the other hand, requires you to have the discipline to stick to a specific strategy. 

Where can you learn more about Blackjack? 

Like most casino games, there are a set of game rules that you’ll need to understand. It is beneficial to check out the guides offered on your chosen online casino website. They can give you all of the basics. After that, you will want to learn from the best players and authorities such as:

  • Bryce Carlson, who wrote the book Blackjack for Blood.
  • Arnold Snyder, who is a prolific gambling writer and professional blackjack player.
  • Don Johnson, who bagged over $15 million across three casinos in Atlantic City
  • Tommy Hyland, who is a lobbyist of blackjack player rights, activities, and players.
  • Henry Tamburin, who wrote Blackjack: Take the Money and Run
  • … and many others as listed in the Encyclopedia of Blackjack on this site.

Learning from those who play best will give you a firm idea of the skills you need to sharpen up in order to win and secure notoriety. 

What skills are a must for playing Blackjack? 

For those who are just starting to play card games in general, you will need to pick up a range of skills pretty quickly. If you’ve been playing poker for a while, your skills will need to be modified to play blackjack effectively. 

Understanding blackjack odds

The key to playing any game of odds successfully is to understand what your odds are. Blackjack players should understand the odds for each card in the deck and how game rule variations affect your advantage or disadvantage.  Each of the decisions that you make as you play will be almost entirely based on the cards presented and the odds of what the next cards will be. 

From Peter Griffin’s book The Theory of Blackjack
SINGLE DECK EFFECTS OF CARD REMOVAL (%)

Isn’t that just card counting? No, card counting is keeping a running tally of the cards burned and in play, while using the odds is not keeping a tally but just having a depth of knowledge about the deck and the rules of the game. Card counting is likely to get you banned from a land-based casino and it generally isn’t possible to do online. 

The rules of blackjack

Once you understand each card’s value, the next part is to understand the rules of the game. While many people grasp the idea that going over 21 is a loss, there are more rules to consider. Also, since there are different types of blackjack, you’ll need to choose one to learn first.  I recommend learning the basic game first and leaving the variations and any game with side-bets for future study.

You should understand things like why a 3:2 payoff on a blackjack is better to play than a 6:5 game. Grasping the rules of blackjack will mean that you are able to find the best combination of rules in play to suit your play style. 

Blackjack basic strategy 

Having a blackjack strategy should be your first task to reduce the house edge in blackjack.  Understanding how the rules of the game can change the basic strategy is also critical.  For example, whether the dealer hits or stands on soft-17 affects the basic strategy for some key hands. Whether or not you can double down after splitting a hand affects basic strategy and, of course, the number of decks in play affect it as well. 

It is easy to print out or purchase a blackjack strategy card or chart to practice with.  You can practice your skills by using online free-play, a set of cards with a friend or dive right in and play real-money blackjack at a casino online or on land. 

Blackjack is a game of skill and chance, but the more skilled you are, the less you will rely on luck to see you win a game. Learn from the best, and always keep your strategy in mind.

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