The dream of many amateur gamblers is to become a professional, to make a career from a hobby and to live the high life. The life of a professional gambler is not as easy or as stress-free as it looks, but it still beats many other careers and providing you have what it takes and the determination to succeed, there is no reason why you can’t become a pro blackjack player.
So, just what does it take to make it in this profession?
Before you begin to even consider a career in professional blackjack, you should have some of the basics right. For instance, you should have Basic Blackjack Strategy nailed down. If you do not know what this is then take a look at the many articles on this site that cover it. If you do, then make sure you practice it and can perform the right moves in your sleep. You can’t rely on luck and need to go for statistical probability at every turn, which is where Basic Blackjack Strategy comes into play.
You should also understand the casino environment. This is essential to making it as a pro player, because this will become your home for as long as you play the game. You should be comfortable with the casino, you should know blackjack etiquette, understand how the dealers move, how the casino operates. You need to know how to bet, how to play, how to tune out the noise and the distractions, and how to focus on the game. Just like in any job, focus is important. You may have a little more fun as a pro blackjack player than you would in other jobs, but at the same time you’re not there to drink, talk with other players and chat-up the dealer. You’re there to earn a living, and to do that your head needs to be in the game.
You are never going to make it as a professional blackjack player if you’re playing for a dollar or two per hand. This game is about small margins and if you play for $1 per hand, you might only be up $10 at the end of an extended session. Considering you will have been playing for hours to get to that point, this is nothing. You need to be playing for at least $25 a hand, which means that with the same session, you will be up $250. Whilst not enough to buy you a mansion in the hills, it’s a respectable amount for a day’s work. If you have a better run of luck, or if you increase your bets slightly, you can easily make upwards of $1,000 a day on average. This might drop on some days and you’ll even lose on some of those days, but the days when you make in excess of $10,000 will more than offset those down days.
Many professionals usually begin their careers after a big windfall, maybe a jackpot win or a very successful day on the blackjack tables. This is because you really need at least $25,000 in your bankroll, which will cover you for the bad days and will ensure you can play at the big tables.
You need to choose the right casino or casinos before you go any further. The first thing to keep in mind is that online blackjack should be avoided, simply because it is very difficult to make a career out of it. You want an offline casino that offers you the best perks (discussed below) and, most importantly, has the best blackjack tables. These include payouts of 3 to 2 for a blackjack, dealer standing on Soft 17, and as few decks as possible. These games aren’t always easy to find, but if you have any trouble then just settle for the best of a bad bunch.
All blackjack players get perks from the casino, which serve to increase their winnings or limit their losses. These perks come in a number of shapes and sizes, but what you get depends on how much you gamble at the casino and how good at negotiating you are. You should be gambling at a casino near your home, so you won’t need free rooms and if free drinks and free food stops you from getting financial perks, then you should give these a miss as well and just bring your own sustenance. The perks you are looking for include rebates, which will give you some of your losses back. Pros have been known to get as much as 40%, which goes a long way to covering you during those downtimes. However, bear in mind that if you start to win big money on a regular basis, the casino might remove these perks.
You need a positive attitude when trying to make it as a professional blackjack player. Many gamblers don’t have this attitude, and you can’t afford to think like them. If you’re the sort of gambler who gets frustrated when they lose, betting more money and taking bigger risks then this is probably not for you. Doing that will only send you on a downward spiral, relying more and more on a lucky break, and the whole idea behind being a professional blackjack player is to eliminate luck as much as possible from the game.
Although not essential, there are times when card counting can come to your aid as a professional player. If you find yourself in Atlantic City, where they can’t ban you for counting cards and where the games have a high house edge, card counting is the only way you can bring the game to an even level. Remember that card counting is not as difficult as many believe it to be. There is no Rain Man level of mathematics needed, and as long as you can add and subtract single digits, then you will be okay. You will also need to learn how to avoid distractions, which should be a tool in the arsenal of all aspiring professionals, as we mentioned above.