Blackjack seems to be in the news these days. Movies about casino games like Blackjack seem to be doing quite well at the box office, and we are not sure why. It is also quite easy to pick up a paper and read about one lucky bloke who won a few million quid at one Blackjack tournament or the other.
Given the above, some folks are inevitably starting to think about getting ahold of some serious moolah by playing Blackjack professionally. But the question that bears asking is if that is an achievable goal. The answer thankfully appears to be yes.
However, the reality of being a professional player is quite often not as fun and glamorous as is frequently portrayed in movies and books. Professional Blackjack players do not have it easy since casinos are constantly trying to throw them off-balance by either changing gameplay rules or simply banning them altogether.
Being a professional Blackjack player also means lots of travelling for one game or the other. And unless the player is really good and playing at a top-level, the profits realised from the gameplay will be as small as sin!
Are there readers who still want to be a professional Blackjack player? Well then, they can keep reading as we detail why and why not they should take the professional route.
Woe Is the Professional Blackjack Player
There are several persuasive reasons why becoming a professional Blackjack player does not make sense. One such reason is money troubles, while another is big-time stress.
– The reality is that making money, even as a professional Blackjack player is tough. The main reason for this is that the house edge in Blackjack is so small that the player needs to bet huge amounts just to stand a chance of walking away with something worthwhile.
During Blackjack gameplay, the pro player must keep an eagle eye out for the house edge. This ceaseless tracking is vital, as it makes it possible for the player to know when the house edge is favourable and to bet accordingly.
As the house edge swings back and forth from the player to the online casino, the player is obliged to bet the highest permissible when the house edge is in his favour and to bet the least permissible when the house edge is favourable to the casino. Betting when the house edge is in the casino’s favour costs the player money, which the player then tries to recover by betting the maximum when he judges that the house edge momentarily favours him.
There are of course things that a pro Blackjack player can do to remedy this situation, like practising back counting. Back counting, for instance, involves standing a little way aside and counting cards during a Blackjack game without making bets.
The back counter then makes heavy bets once he/she judges that the house edge has become favourable. However, an increasing number of online casinos now have mid-shoe entry rules in force that make the practice of back counting impossible.
During Blackjack games, the professional card counter usually strives to reduce the house edge and assure at least a 1% return on all bets. This is however easier said than done. Even when possible, getting a 1% return on all bets is a high-risk activity.
Say, the card counter bets ₤100 on average and makes 100 such bets per hour. At the end of the hour, he/she would have wagered a cumulative total of ₤10,000, with the 1% return in bets making for a profit of around ₤100 per hour.
This might sound like a good deal, but that is not the case. In the example detailed above, the average bet of ₤100 per hand hides the fact that the player would be obliged to make lots of ₤30 and ₤50 bets when the card count is not favourable and ₤400 bets when the count becomes favourable.
Now, most Blackjack tables support high and low betting limits that are well within such a bet range. However, such a big bet spread serves as a good indication to the casino concerned that the player is Card Counting.
The player will, therefore, need to be fast and stealthy before ultimately getting discovered and thrown out. Ultimately, the player might end up getting thrown out of a lot of nearby casinos, which will make it necessary to travel to far casinos and play at these. Such travel can be quite stressful, to the player’s mental health, and his family and acquaintances.
The Stress Effect
– Due to the massive amount of stress and tension that nearly all Blackjack players are daily subjected to, it would be best for most folks to just work a day job and treat Blackjack as a diverting hobby.
A Professional Blackjack Player
Despite the above, there are still some persuasive reasons why playing professional Blackjack can be the best thing in the world. Not least because professional Blackjack players tend to see themselves as shining knights who stood up to the casinos, beat them silly at their own convoluted game and walked away with lots of bacon for the home front. That feeling of success can be intoxicating.
Then, there is the money angle. When professional Blackjack players know all that they can of the game and have honed their skills to perfection, they can make a great deal of money, especially if they have a top-notch team backing them. When this is the case, folks can opt to play Blackjack games for a living, rather than being in a dead-end and an incredibly boring 9-5 job.
Becoming a professional Blackjack player is not as hard as it has been cracked up to be. All that is needed is to start learning the basics and assiduously practice these. Soon enough, with consistent play will come considerable skill improvement. Learning strategies like card counting is also not as hard as is popularly supposed, which is quite a relief for those looking to go pro.
Now that we have outlined the pros and cons of going pro, are there folks who wish to live out their dreams by becoming a professional Blackjack player? If so, here’s how to get it done.
The very first step to going pro is to understand that Blackjack just like most other casino table games is based on mathematics. As such, a basic knowledge of maths is essential!
Next, the Blackjack rules in place always dictate what the casino house edge will be. There are Blackjack rules that when used results in a higher house edge, while other rules lower the house edge. As such, before jumping into a Blackjack game, whether as a pro or amateur, players should first understand how Blackjack rules influence the house edge and learn to pick out those games with the least possible house edge.
Next, the prospective pro needs to learn the basic strategies of Blackjack. He/she needs to learn these so thoroughly that they become second nature and there is simply no possibility of making a strategy-based mistake during gameplay.
Once the basic strategies have been memorised, card counting needs to be learned. This is important because, card counting, when done properly, moves the house edge to the players’ advantage.
While card counting, the prospective pro Blackjack player should not try to memorise all the cards that have been played so far, as that might be beyond his/her abilities. Instead, a better option would be to track the ratio of good and bad cards and then make bets when this ratio is favourable. This would, of course, be when the number of high cards outnumber those of the low cards.
Once any of the card counting systems in existence have been learned and perfected, the next thing to do is to know when to adjust the gameplay strategy according to the results of the card count. The betting limit should then be adjusted according to the count, though this must be carefully done, else the casino will discern that the player is card counting and kick him out.
To avoid a disgraceful exit from a casino, the player needs to take steps to disguise his actions. This is difficult to pull off but can be done.
Once card counting, basic strategy and the rest have been learned and honed to perfection, the next step to explore making the most of the game like a pro. This is difficult to achieve solo but possible with a committed Blackjack team in place.
There are lots of pros and cons in forming or becoming a member of a professional Blackjack team. On the one hand, casinos find it difficult to detect the team members and their synchronised plays, which leads to greater success. On the other hand, finding committed and expert team members is no walk in the park.
Becoming a professional Blackjack player is no easy feat and can be quite emotionally and physically tasking. It can, however, be very lucrative, with top Blackjack players earning huge.
Readers should, therefore, weigh the risks and rewards and then, decide whether being a pro-level Blackjack player is for them.