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Table Of Contents
If you are asking the question, you have probably played your fair share of hands at the blackjack tables.
You seem to have been doing pretty well too, so now you are thinking of becoming a professional blackjack player.
Great! We're here to tell you that it's possible to make a living from playing blackjack, as long as you know all the right things and you are lucky enough to win your games.
The world of online gambling has made life even easier for pro blackjack players. They no longer need to worry about those pesky casino croupiers we see all too often in the movies.
Becoming a pro is more accessible than most blackjack enthusiasts expect. But..
It does take commitment, a stellar ability to count cards in blackjack, solid money management skills, and a lot of luck. That's among many other things.
Playing blackjack games for fun is good, but if you want to make some cash, we have some tips for you.Feeling Ready for Pro Blackjack Arena?
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How to become a professional blackjack player
So you know how to play blackjack, you know you're good enough to make a full time living, you just need that extra push and a plan.
There are three significant steps in becoming a professional:
- Commit time and energy to understand the game.
- Learn how to count cards. Do it phenomenally.
- Manage your money and do it well.
Let's take a closer look at each of those.
Understanding the game
If your pockets are full, but you don't know how a 1% edge can benefit you, turning professional might not be the right move for you. At least not just yet.
Luck is a major factor in gambling, but if that's what you've been counting on and winning up until now, that does not ensure success in the pro arena, not one bit.
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However, if you're willing to learn the blackjack strategy, then earning a healthy living is doable.
By this point, you should know the basic rules of blackjack, all the variances of the game, and all the different ways to play blackjack with friends.
If you don't, it's about the time to start, and you can do it with this blackjack cheat sheet.
Casinos offer different types of online blackjack games. Practice all of them first to make sure you play the right one when the time comes to commit for the long run.
Knowing the rules of each table you visit is vital. When you hit a card, you should know what you need to get closest to 21 and how to get it.
Compared to most other games played at casinos, blackjack has a small house edge. Turning that house edge in your favour is the most critical way to make money at the blackjack table.
If you have played at a recreational level, chances are you haven't been counting cards. And that's fine, yet that won't work for a pro.
A card counter is someone who can better predict what card is drawn from the deck and doing that takes skill and knowledge. It includes keeping track - in your head - of all the cards that are no longer in play because they were used during the game.Already Know How It's Done?
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We know what you're thinking; if you get caught card counting, you'll be kicked out of the casino or kicked from your online game.
And that could happen because while it's not against the law, it's against many of the casinos' rules. But that's only if you get caught.
And that's what separates a professional from an amateur - an amateur will evidently behave as if they are cheating and give away signs while a pro will simply be assessing the situation with no grounds for suspicion.
It's important you get to that higher level. You might not need to be as good as the MIT Blackjack Team, but you need to be pretty good at card counting if you are to make a living from blackjack.
Now let's talk numbers.
Don't get all scared by thinking that you need to remember every single card that has been dealt. That's not it.
There is a system that helps you keep it simple.
Assigning numerical values to cards helps a player count cards. For example, value cards 2-6 are put as +1, 7-9 as 0, and face cards and aces are counted as -1.
It's a standard card counting method used by blackjack players, so give it a try and see how it works for you. You won't be able to master card counting overnight, and it can be an expensive lesson. But it's a crucial one.
Don't forget - losing at blackjack from time to time is inevitable, especially when you're practicing something new. It's a tough game to win at, so when you're learning how to count cards, we suggest lower-limit tables to start and a conservative attitudes when it comes to blackjack side bets.
The more you play, the better you become at predicting cards. A card counter can never perfect their craft, but all the best blackjack professionals are pretty darn good at it. And you should be as well.
Since the number of decks in play affects the difficulty of card counting, you should always look for games of single deck blackjack.
In these, you can apply all the principles of the single deck blackjack strategy and increase your winning chances to fight the 'luck' factor.
While that might not be the most exciting part of a professional blackjack player's day-to-day routine, it's a mandatory one.
It includes understanding your tolerance for risk so that you don't go broke all of a sudden.
Look at it this way - adjust the size of your bets based on the bankroll you have available for playing and never bet more than you can afford. If you stick to this, you'll have a chance to earn back the money you lost on a couple of bad bets and it will keep you afloat even if the luck is not on your side (which will inevitably happen once in a while).
As your bankroll grows, you'll be able to move up in stakes, and you'll be able to make more money.
It's a process though, so don't just dive in with everything you have or you might as well find yourself opting out of this whole professional blackjack player thing.
You need to take emotion out of the equation and stick to your strategy. Otherwise, you'll spend hours trying to get back what you lost, and chasing is no good for any gambler.
How much do professional blackjack players make
How much a professional blackjack player makes depends on many variables. Factors such as bankroll, table limits, number of hands played, and the counting system all play a significant role in what a gains on a case-to-case basis.
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Some professionals make upwards of £150,000 a year at casinos.
Professional blackjack games aren't for the faint of heart. Gambling for a living is one of those professions where you can lose money on a day-to-day basis.
You are not guaranteed a salary, and you have to commit your time and expertise to the game. A professional blackjack player comes in many forms, so try not to get disillusioned by a player making thousands each week.
The reality is that playing blackjack at casinos is a grind, and the same goes for an online casino. Some play upwards of 200 hands per hour, which can be taxing on your mental well being and financial well being.
Tips from professional blackjack players
Every blackjack player offers similar advice on how to become an expert.
We have collected the best tips from professional blackjack players to help you take your game to the next level:
- Find your groove. A table you feel good at will help you keep your emotions in tact.
- Play at casinos that offer excellent odds when blackjack is struck.
- Fewer decks are preferred over more decks. The more decks, the harder it is to count.
- Find tables with the best rules, such as Soft 17, and surrender rules.
- Find the right table limit for your bankroll, especially if you play online blackjack with a live dealer. If you have a small budget, try smaller limit tables at first.
- Don't get frustrated. Keep a level head.
- Don't drink and play. It might seem simple, but professionals don't let outside factors affect their game.
- Don't play based on emotions. The cards won't magically change, so stay within yourself and trust your ability.
- Control your money. Don't double your bet because you lost the previous bet. Keep calm and stick to your strategy.
- Whenever possible, play blackjack surrender.
Best professional blackjack players
Unlike poker, we don't hear much about the best blackjack players in the world. Why? Because it's not a game that is heavily televised, so the media usually doesn't cover the big events.
That being said, there have been some high-quality and hugely successful blackjack players in the history of the game. Let the inspiration sink in.
At the top of the list is none other than Bryce Carlson. A pro since the '70s, Carlson knows all about the ups and downs of blackjack.
He once went on a losing streak that lasted 47 hours. However, through developing custom strategies and perseverance, he has been able to win consistently throughout his career.
Arnold Snyder is another famous name in the world of blackjack. He has authored many books on how to play blackjack, which looks at card counting and shuffle techniques.
He believes there's always a new angle to explore, and that's always great when you're looking to bring in some fresh strategies into your gameplay.
Still unsure if you can handle the pressure of pro blackjack arena? Go practice blackjack online at one of the top casinos, test your strategies, mental strength and find out for yourself!The promotion presented on this page was available at the time of writing. With some Casino promotions changing on daily basis, we suggest you to check on the site if it still available. Also, please do not forget to read the terms and conditions in full before you accept a bonus.
The allure of turning blackjack into a career is undeniable. It’s no different from kids who dream of becoming pro athletes—who wouldn’t want to get paid for playing their favorite game day after day? But no less so than professional sports, making a living at blackjack is a real job. It takes hard work and practice to reach a level of skill capable of turning a pastime into a livelihood. And to earn truly serious money as a blackjack pro requires not only the drive, business sense, discipline and risk-taking will of an entrepreneur but also the ability to avoid becoming a threat to the casinos that make it possible.
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The View From The Top
Those who have aspirations of playing blackjack as a professional will probably have read Lawrence Revere’s 1969 classic “Playing Blackjack as a Business” several times over. They will certainly have heard of Kenneth Uston, the author of “Million Dollar Blackjack,” and Johnny Chang, manager of the famed MIT blackjack team. Such blackjack “geniuses” proved that it is possible to win millions at the table in a relatively short period of time.
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For a more contemporary example of success, look to Don Johnson—not the 63-year-old actor but the 50-something card counter—who took $15 million from three hotel-casinos in Atlantic City within six months in 2011. Then, in February of 2012, he returned to the Jersey shore and beat the Tropicana for another $2 million, clearly demonstrating that it was no fluke. Johnson is the current rock star of blackjack pros, wagering $100,000 a hand, winning consistently and banned at the tables of all Caesars Entertainment properties.
Meanwhile, back on terra firma, the likelihood of quickly becoming a millionaire playing blackjack is remote for most. A much more realistic scenario for earning millions is that it will probably take at least a decade of consistently successful play. It will mean lots of long hours spent at the tables with plenty of ups and downs, gradually building up a bankroll large enough to play exclusively in the high-limit rooms, where the game rules tend to be more liberal and the betting limits pose no barrier to big wins.
Getting There From Here
According to one instructor of professional blackjack, “Playing blackjack for a living is more like owning your own business or working for 100% commission.” He says that how much can be earned is a function of the “expected value” of each hour of play, which is in turn dependent upon such variables as the rules of the game played, number of decks in play, the average wager size and spread (min-max), deck penetration, the counting system used and number of hands dealt per hour, which is typically 180~220 if playing heads up against the dealer. The proficiency of the player must be a given.
Taking all of the above into consideration, a good player might be able to expect to win from $275 to $390 per hour when wagering $50 to $500 per hand. Actual time spent at the table per week might be 15 hours. That would yield a potential weekly income of around $4,750, which amounts to somewhere in the vicinity of $228,000 annually—a professional level income.
However, the player will have expenses similar to those of any sole proprietor. He or she must be responsible for taxes, including self-employment tax as well as state and national income taxes, plus healthcare coverage, a self-funded retirement plan and travel costs to and from casinos outside one’s own area. There will probably be weeks of earning much more than expected offset by ones with net losses. It can be a real rollercoaster ride with no guarantees.
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On the upside, the blackjack pro has no boss to report to, sets his/her own schedule, and receives comps for rooms, food, beverages and shows in addition to getting paid in cash. Hopefully, such benefits make up for a smoke-filled work environment and the lack of a regular paycheck. Just as in sports, not all pros become stars, but it is certainly possible to make a solid living by playing the game that you love.
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More information about playing blackjack for real money.