6 Things Only Professional Blackjack Players Know

Professional Blackjack Player Holding a Deck of Cards on Top and a Dealt Blackjack Table on Bottom

Becoming a professional blackjack player is 1 of the hardest things you can do. But it can be worth it because once you master the right skills you can make a lot of money traveling around the world playing blackjack.

Many blackjack gamblers dream of beating the casinos on a regular basis, but few every make these dreams come true. But you can become a professional blackjack player if you’re willing to dedicate enough time to the dream.

Here are 6 things you need to know if you really want to become a blackjack pro. If you expect the journey to be easy, you might as well give up now. But if you’re willing to work, keep reading to learn where to get started.

1 – When Taking Insurance Is the Right Play

Some blackjack players never take insurance, and some take it every time. Others take insurance sometimes and don’t take it other times. The closest thing to correct play with insurance for most blackjack players is to never take insurance.

But there is a method for determining exactly when you should take insurance and when you shouldn’t take insurance. And professional blackjack players know this formula.

The reason why most blackjack gamblers should never take insurance is because overall the odds of the dealer having a blackjack are 2.25 to 1 and it pays 2 to 1. But there are times when the odds of the dealer having a blackjack are 2 to 1 or better. When this happens the correct play is to take insurance.

The only way to know when this happens is by tracking the cards remaining in the shoe. This is what card counters do, so they can quickly determine when insurance is a good bet. When the remaining cards are high in cards worth 10 in the ratio to low cards, it improves the odds.

If you’re not going to learn how to count cards the best strategy is not taking insurance. If you learn how to count cards, you can learn when to take insurance and when not to take it.

2 – Perfect Blackjack Strategy in Every Situation

The number of possible blackjack hands you can have is limited. It’s a fair-sized number, but all of the hands you can have in any situation can be boiled down to a manageable number. You can include all the hands into hard totals, soft totals, or pairs.

Then these hands are all paired with 1 of the 13 possible cards the dealer has, with all of the cards worth 10 points included together, making this a total of 10 possibilities.

Closeup of a Blackjack Table Game

Now that you know all of the possible situations, you can determine the single right way to play each situation. You do this by running the math for each situation to determine which play returns the highest amount of money on average. This is what blackjack strategy is.

Most blackjack players take a shortcut and simply use a strategy chart. But the best pros don’t just use any chart. They use a chart specifically for the set of rules at the table they’re playing.

3 – The Most Efficient Counting System

Professional blackjack gamblers always use the most efficient card counting system. If this was all you knew, you might assume that this means that there’s a single best card counting system that every pro uses.

But the fact is that there are several different card counting systems that pro blackjack players use. And there’s not a single best system that’s the best for every blackjack player.

The best card counting system is the system that you can use without making any mistakes. The absolute best card counting system as far as straight math and return is far too complicated for anyone but a true genius to use. Because it’s so complicated, almost everyone who tries to use it is going to make mistakes.

You have to compare how effective each card counting system is with how efficiently you can use it. This is why most professional card counters use the hi lo system. It’s a powerful system that easy enough to use that most people can learn how to use it without making any mistakes. Other options that are powerful and easy to use include KO and Red 7.

But if you struggle to play 1 of these systems perfectly, start with an even simpler system. Just make sure that whatever system you use, that you learn how to use it perfectly.

4 – Counting System Indexes

Good card counting systems have special plays that you need to make at certain times that are different than what you use when you play using regular strategy. These plays are called indexes.

You use regular strategy on every hand until your count reaches a certain point and then you use indexes to adjust the way you play on a few hands. These hands don’t come up on every round, but they come up often enough that they give you a chance to make a little bit more profit.

An Active Blackjack Table

Card counters work with such a small edge that every portion of a percentage is worth chasing. An extra .1%, which is 1/10th of a percent, is enough to put in the extra work. And the indexes can get you this much and more.

Here’s the important thing to understand. If you’re capable of memorizing perfect blackjack strategy and able to use a card counting system like hi lo without making any mistakes, you’re 100% capable of memorizing the indexes. It just takes a little more time.

5 – How to Take Advantage of Weak Dealers

Professional blackjack players work with such a small edge that a single mistake can cost them all of their profit for a playing session. And even when they do everything right, they still have losing sessions sometimes.

But they can improve their chances by looking for other ways to get an advantage in addition to using smart strategy and counting cards. One of the ways pro blackjack players can get an extra edge is by taking advantage of weak dealers.

Don’t think that taking advantage means anything bad. This isn’t cheating and it isn’t forcing a dealer to do anything. It’s simply using information that weak dealers can give you without anyone else knowing.

Some dealers have weak dealing techniques. Some of these dealers actually show the value of cards when they deal them if you know where to look. The best card to know the value of is the face-down card in front of the dealer.

Start watching every dealer when they place their card in front of them. See if there’s any way they might flash the value of the card. It helps if you’re sitting directly in front of the dealer, or to the side of the table opposite of their dealing hand. Keep watching and eventually, you can find dealers who are weak, and you can take advantage of this opportunity.

6 – How to Take Advantage of Weak Shuffles

Another area where some professional blackjack players look for an advantage is in games that are shuffled by hand. Most blackjack games are shoe games and use shuffling machines, and a few games are using continuous shuffling machines. These games don’t offer the same opportunity as hand-shuffled games.

Many blackjack dealers do a complete shuffle in these games, so there’s no way to get an advantage. But sometimes dealers get lazy or don’t know the proper way to shuffle cards. When you find 1 of these dealers you might be able to track the best cards through the shuffle.

Closeup of a Blackjack Hand

For example, if you see several aces go into the discard pile close together, you might be able to track where this section of cards ends up after the shuffle. Knowing where these cards are can help you know when you might receive an ace in the coming rounds.

Our Final Thoughts

Lots of real money blackjack gamblers take insurance, but only the pros know exactly when to take it and when not to take it. Professional players also know what the single most profitable play is for every situation at the blackjack table.

Pros use efficient counting systems and know all of the indexes needed to use their system for maximum gain. This takes as much time as anything else they do, but the professional blackjack players know that the right system used the right way with the right indexes is how they make money.

The pros also know how to spot weaknesses that they can take advantage of. This includes weak dealers and weak shuffles.

Posted in: Table Games

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