Investing in Blackjack
As the popularity of online casino blackjack continues to soar, a number of popular ways of looking at the game have emerged.
Some players view blackjack as a way to relax and let off steam at the end of the day. Others view it as an alternative to hitting the bars and clubs – a chance to socialize wherein you sometimes come out richer than you went in, rather than poorer every single time!
Still others take a disciplined approach: studying charts and indices, working on card counting, maximizing deck penetration, and generally trying to turn the greatest profits possible at every session.
All of these ways of seeing the game have their proper place. Especially with the ongoing expansion of the market, it’s important to recognize that there are as many ways to enjoy blackjack as there are savvy players out there.
We, however, would like to suggest an alternative approach… one that, in our humble opinion, should be a much more common view than it seems to be: blackjack as a long-term investment.
Of course, we aren’t talking simply about a financial investment. If your retirement fund and your gambling bankroll are one and the same, you need to take a long, hard look at your gaming habits, because you have more in common than you might like with some of the world’s most absurd gaming decisions.
No, we mean taking the long view when it comes to the game. But what does investing in blackjack really mean?
Investing Your Time
Though no one really wants to admit it, becoming a true advantage player takes a great deal of time.
Of course, it takes time to get a good grasp of the fundamentals. The ABCs of blackjack must be not only learned, but fully understood, backwards and forwards, so that, when the pressure is on and the bets are at their biggest, there’s not a single moment’s hesitation as to the right play.
Similarly, card counting must be not only learned but fully mastered. If you can’t count down a deck while safely driving a car, adroitly carrying on an active conversation, and listening to music at the same time, you aren’t ready for the big time.
It’s important to think of these building blocks of successful play less as lessons to be memorized, like a student cramming for an exam, and more as skills that must be practiced again and again, the way an athlete keeps working on their game every day.
If LeBron James can keep working on his shooting form, even at his current level of play, blackjack players can continue to improve their counting skills, no matter how skilled they become.
Investing in Physical and Mental Conditioning
Continuing the athletic metaphor, it’s important to realize that a blackjack player is not a machine. Even if you’re playing online with live dealers, the game is still played by a human being who is the proud owner of a body and a mind. And as modern neuroscience tells us, the mind-body connection for gamblers is very real.
This means that a serious player, one who aspires to professional or semi-professional status, needs to treat their body and mind the same way an athlete does.
This means eating a balanced, healthy diet so that blood sugar crashes don’t cause poor gaming decisions.
It means regular exercise, so that the body has the stamina to endure long sessions of at the tables, waiting for the count to turn in your favor so that bets can increase and wins become more likely.
It means a meditation practice, so that the mind can remain cool and focused no matter how much external pressure is built up around you.
All of these take time to put in place, as well as discipline to keep up on. Few gamers want to admit it, but they can make a massive difference to your bottom line.
Investing in Building Your Bankroll
Just as Rome wasn’t built in a day, high roller bankrolls aren’t built overnight.
Remember that blackjack bankrolls need to be built for the inevitable swings of wins and losses that accompany advantage play. When all the skills of an elite, professional-level player are at their best, they still only amounts to a small advantage over the house: 1–2% at most.
This means that, though advantage players will always win against the house over time, the wins are not likely to be steady. It’s the inversion of the house advantage enjoyed by the casino against the average player. Or to put it another way…
…gamblers usually lose but sometimes get lucky and win. Card counters usually win, but sometimes get unlucky and lose.
As such, if you want to play $100 a hand, you need to build a bankroll in the mid-five figures. And that is a multi-year endeavor!
Investing in Comps Programs
Finally, it’s worth pointing out that many casino loyalty programs treat high-rollers like royalty. Hospitality is extended not on the basis of how much you win or lose, but how much you wager… which means that elite blackjack players can take serious advantage.
We’re talking about complimentary gourmet meals, luxury hotel suites, even tickets to live performances!
So be sure to register for every casino loyalty program, and continue to do so as your bankroll builds and your regular bets increase in size. Over time, the benefits will start accumulate in a big way!