Blackjack is a special game in that it offers skilled players a distinct advantage over novices. Sure, counting cards is always looming in the background, but a player who follow basic strategy correctly can put a serious dent in the ubiquitous house edge. Even with a chance to even the odds and boost their bankrolls, many players don’t bother to learn basic strategy, instead relying on their guts to bring home the bacon. These inexperienced players hone their skills directly on the casino floor. Whereas a more dedicated blackjack player may spend hours practicing in his or her home before putting real money on the line, the truth is that a healthy portion of the gaming community would rather just let it fly and enjoy the ride.
This mentality – that learning the ropes isn’t as important as having a good time – says something about people and why they visit the casino. While all players hope to cash in and win big, the true allure of casinos resides in the atmosphere and good times. This is just one of the many life lessons that can be learned at the blackjack tables. Let’s take a look at a few more.
Gut Instincts are Usually Correct
Even without basic strategy and card counting, most blackjack players make the correct decisions at the table about 90 percent of the time. While it may not sound like much, the house is able to gain a big advantage on the approximately 10 percent of games when players make incorrect decisions. Over a long night of gambling, a 10 percent loss can mean the difference between a tidy win and a slim loss. Much like in life, the essence of winning in blackjack resides in the details.
Consider saving for retirement. If you were to put back 10 percent of your earnings throughout your career, you’d probably be able to retire as a millionaire. Small steps amount to large journeys, and it’s usually worth it to go the extra mile in the things you do.
Opportunity Knocks Once
In general, novice blackjack players tend to play more conservatively than experts. They’ll often stand instead of taking a hit, and they’ll commonly overlook opportunities to double down and split pairs. The threat of busting looms large when you’re relying on your gut to make decisions. On the other hand, experts leverage their knowledge of the odds to exploit every advantage.
When a dealer shows a seven and the expert’s holding a 16, they won’t hesitate to take another card. If a dealer is showing a four and they’ve got a pair of twos, you can count on a blackjack expert to split the pair in an effort to maximize winnings.
In reality, the big money at the blackjack table is hidden in splits and double down hands. While they may look like trash hands to the uninitiated, a pair of threes can be a real money maker in the right circumstances. Life is similar to blackjack in this way. Sometimes opportunities are difficult to detect if you’re unsure what you’re after. Remember, fortune favors the bold, and it’s especially kind to bold individuals who have done their homework.
Putting in the Work
If you could have an 18 on every hand at the blackjack tables, would you take it? If you answered yes, you’re probably a bit fuzzy on the mechanics of blackjack. In fact, a hand of 18 will lose more often than it wins, meaning that, with an 18 in every round, you’ll lose money over time. Novice players usually understand the basics of blackjack, but the devil’s in the details. An inability to correctly handle rare situations is the crutch of blackjack players who haven’t taken the time to fully understand the game. Expert blackjack players know what to do no matter what hand is dealt. Can you say the same about yourself? Being prepared for the unexpected is key if you want to exceed in blackjack, much as it is in life. Stay on your toes, and remain prepared for twists in the road. Things don’t always go as planned, and how you react when they go astray can have a major impact on your ability to excel at the blackjack table and beyond.
Stick to the Script
Experts at the blackjack table are easy to spot. They don’t take time deliberating or wavering on hands. Instead, the stick to the game plan and make consistent and rational plays. Novices, on the other hand, may be slightly less decisive. Maybe they’re unsure of how to play a particular hand, so they’re forced to make it up on the spot. A little later, the same hand may appear again, and a novice player may switch his or her strategy with little rhyme or reason.
It’s important to remember that blackjack strategies are designed to consistently present the best chances of a win, not to make you win every hand. Experts understand that winning every hand isn’t practical, and even perfect plays will sometimes lose. This is another life lesson to be taken from the blackjack table. Don’t waste your energy doubting and recalculating your path at every disappointment. Instead, remain confident in your strategy and abilities, and you’ll be rewarded.
The blackjack table has many parallels with life in general. Winning takes preparation and patience. Developing a strategy and trusting that strategy to guide you through obstacles is key. Consistency and confidence can do wonders for minimizing the house edge and boosting your bankroll, but they can also improve your professional success and personal happiness. Some people may say that blackjack and casinos in general reflect negatively on society, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, blackjack is, in many ways, a microcosm of some of life’s most important and fulfilling lessons.
If you’re ready to see what blackjack can teach you about life, begin with proper preparation. With a little bit of work, you’ll be sure to enjoy much better results at the tables, and that’s never a bad thing. Look for the silver lining to that pair of threes. It may just surprise you!