There are many things one must master to learn how to win at blackjack. At CountingEdge.com, we’ve put together an amazing number of technical resources like counting methods, basic strategies, and money management systems, and we know our readers have benefitted from them because they write us often to speak of their success.
There is another component of blackjack success, however, that many people often overlook when perfecting their game. It is the mentality that is required. All successful card counters and blackjack players have perfected their mental game as well as their mechanical one. To win, and win big, a player should practice some important concepts of mind.
Learn to deal with variance
At the very best of times, playing blackjack is like riding a roller coaster. It is a game of extreme highs and lows, and the same could be said for all types of gambling. No matter how high your winning streak is, you must always be conscious that a dip is coming and prepare accordingly.
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Variance is a term that is used to somewhat explain how the overall odds of blackjack and other gambling games even out over time. Let’s take a coin flip as an example. It isn’t hard to figure out your odds of winning one. You have a 50% chance that the coin will land on your chosen side. In this type of game, the best you can ever do in the long run is break even. You have no edge and the house has no edge. If that coin is flipped to infinity, the results will be half heads and half tails. A push.
Except it doesn’t work like that, does it? A coin can come up heads ten times in a row before it comes up tails. That is called variance. Always remember that house odds only reflect what would happen if the gambling game were played to infinity. They do not reflect the short-term swings, called variance.
Variance is why you can go on an incredible hot streak when all of the cards seem to fall your way. It is also the reason you will encounter stretches when the dealer hits a 5 on every 16 to beat you. Variance can be frustrating and force you to question your skills. It can mentally affect the way you play. You must remain on guard for signs of depression and frustration when negative variance has its day.
Stick to the plan
When negative variance occurs there is a great temptation to simply go with your instincts or gut feelings and abandon the plan or method you use to play blackjack. What’s that? You aren’t using a plan or system? Well, you should be.
No one fights a war without a battle plan. Blackjack is a war. It is you versus the casino, either live or online. To win the war you must have a battle plan that covers all aspects of the battle: card counting, basic strategy, money management. In the blackjack world, we call this a system.
There are almost as many systems as there are blackjack players. It seems like every successful player finds a method that works for them and tweaks it to their own unique preferences. That’s great, as long as it works and as long as you stick to it. Most systems for live blackjack are based on card counting methods. You can find a multitude of card counting methods here at Counting Edge. A really effective system, however, involves more than counting or basic strategy. It involves money management, win goals, and emotional control.
We would highly recommend you check out the Counting Edge System. We developed it with the beginning blackjack player in mind but it is equally adaptable to the expert. It is simple, yet powerful, and can be used with success at online casinos as well as live blackjack tables.
Don’t hesitate to take breaks
Finally, you need to separate yourself from the idea that you must play blackjack every day in order to be successful. Sure, you can practice every day and that’s great, but sometimes a break from the live action is beneficial. If you enforce strictures on yourself about playing time and what have you, the experience will stop being fun for you.
A mistake many players make is jumping into blackjack full-time or as a source of income before they are fully prepared. This is a huge mistake. So many things are required of a professional blackjack player: a huge bankroll, patience, access to games. It isn’t the glamorous life that many people believe it to be. Professional poker player Doyle Brunson is famous for saying that gambling is “a hard way to make an easy living.”
Keep it relaxed. Play when you can. Never use money you need for your livelihood to play. Never sit down at a blackjack table with the mentality that you must win tonight or some bill isn’t getting paid. If you are doing that, you don’t need to be playing at all.
Winning is a skill
Learning how to win at blackjack is as much a skill as learning how to count cards or learning how to perfect basic strategy. So many people fail because they legitimately do not know how to win. By that, we mean they do not know what is mentally required for a player to be successful.