We’ve probably heard the question a thousand times already, “Is blackjack a game of skill or chance?”
Well, the answer is both.
If you want to make it big in blackjack, you need to have a combination of skill and luck. While it’s impossible to control your luck, you can exercise some control over your situation when you’re at the tables.
And here’s why…
Why is blackjack a game of skill?
You get to control the outcome of your hand
Hit, stand, double down, split, or surrender.
These are the options made available to every blackjack player when they’re dealt a hand. While it seems like all this comes down to sheer dumb luck, the truth is a bit more nuanced.
For example, let’s say you’ve been dealt a 5 and a 6, making your total 11. By choosing to hit, there’s a chance that you may draw a 10, which puts you closer to 21 and thus increases the odds of you winning.
Or maybe you’ve drawn a rather lousy hand of 16 or more. If you hit, there’s the risk that you’ll bust. So instead, you choose to surrender and forfeit half of your bet.
Alternatively, you can double down because you like the odds and are confident that you’ll beat the dealer. If you pull this off successfully, you’ll double your profits and walk away happy but mess it up, and your losses double.
Doubling down does have its benefits – but more often than not, you’re taking a calculated risk. So, remember: only double down when you’re 100% confident.
You can learn strategies that help you win at blackjack
Besides controlling the outcome of your hand, there are plenty of strategies that will improve your odds at the table.
Don’t believe us?
Well, take a look at how the MIT Blackjack Team raked in a total of $57.6 million from casinos across the US within just 20 years, and that’s taking into account their expenses.
You’re looking at more than $100 million in annual earnings from playing blackjack when you factor in inflation.
So what was their secret? And no, they weren’t cheating.
The answer is card counting.
Simply put, card counting works by keeping a running count of the number of high and low-valued cards that have been dealt.
For example, if more high-value cards, i.e., Ks, Qs, Js, 10s, 9s, and 8s, have been dealt with, the odds of drawing a lower-value card improve.
With this information, players can maximize their bets, choose to hit or surrender if needed.
If you’ve seen the movie “Rain Man,” you probably think that you need to be some kind of savant to count cards.
Well, the good news is that you don’t; counting cards is pretty straightforward. You need some basic memorization skills, and you’re all set.
How does luck factor into blackjack?
Even if you’ve mastered all strategies, luck is the one factor you cannot account for. After all, even the worst players will get a 21 once in a while.
And while you can control what’s in your hand at the end of a round, you can’t control what type of cards you’ll be dealt. This means that however good you are, you’ll still be at the mercy of the dealer at the end of the day.
Although card counting may slightly improve your odds, casinos have many ways to circumvent this and often have a dim view of card counters.
While card counting isn’t technically illegal, if you’re caught using a counting device, you’ll probably be asked to leave the casino and be slapped with a permanent ban.
The same also applies if you get caught working with a partner.
Given that casinos lose millions every year to cheaters don’t ever think that casinos don’t know what’s going on.
Also, keep in mind that card counting does not work for online blackjack games. Online games use a random number generator (RNG) to draw cards, thus making it impossible for you to determine the odds.
In case you are interested, Bovada.lv offers blackjack games if you want to try it out!
So, as can be seen, blackjack is a game that requires both strategy and luck. One will not be complete without the other.
But if you want to make it big at the blackjack tables, then maybe stick to these few rules:
- Never get emotional – blackjack is all about tactics and strategy. Leave your emotions at home.
- Ignore the other players – remember, you’re there to make money, so don’t be put off by anyone around you.
- Don’t get greedy – set a goal for yourself AND keep to it. Once you’ve made enough for the night, pack it in and head home with your winnings.
- Forget about cheating – not only is it illegal, but it’s also foolish and will probably get you in trouble. Remember that there are probably dozens of eyes watching your every move.