Blackjack is a casino game that enjoys worldwide popularity, thanks in part to its appearances in popular movies such as “21” and “Rain Man,” as well as its prevalence in the world of online live casino gaming.

The game’s popularity can be attributed to its simplicity and the impression it gives players that they can influence the outcome. However, despite its widespread availability in casinos, blackjack is a game that distinguishes amateur players from professionals, as advanced techniques can often be the difference between winning and losing.

Whether you are an experienced player or a casual fan, it is worth exploring some of the world’s best blackjack players to learn from their expertise.

Edward Thorp

Starting off our list is the man often referred to as the godfather of counting. In 1962, Thorp wrote a book called ‘Playing Blackjack to Win’, which was the first published manuscript that mathematically proved blackjack was beatable using card counting techniques. He later tested this theory by playing blackjack games himself and managed to win an incredible $11,000 (£7,500) in one weekend. His achievements have earned him a place in the Blackjack Hall of Fame.

Ken Uston

Considered the founder of card counting in blackjack, Ken Uston became widely known in the 1970s for his extraordinary blackjack skills that ended up winning him win millions of dollars. He became so good several casinos banned him from merely entering their premises. However, Uston thwarted this obstacle by adopting various disguises and costumes in order to conceal his true identity, thus allowing him to continue playing. Eventually, Uston filed a lawsuit against these casinos and successfully overruled the ban on card-counting players in blackjack. His popularity resulted in him being featured in the 2005 History Channel documentary “The Blackjack Man”.

John Ferguson (Stanford Wong)

Born in Georgia in 1943, Wong started his career as a teacher at Stanford University, Eventually agreeing to his employers paying him a rather minuscule amount of just one dollar for missing his faculty meetings – He was provided with the freedom to visit various casinos and pursue his gambling career.

His expertise helped him invent the strategy known as ‘wonging’, which is currently banned from most casinos. The technique involves the player only joining a game whilst the decks are favourable and stepping away immediately once the odds deteriorate. Wong’s well-known method is now the reasoning behind the “No Mid-Shoe Entry” signs in 21st-century casinos, which prohibit a player from joining the game before the first hand after a shuffle.

Keith Taft

Back in the ’70s, the infamous Keith Taft began developing a small portable computer in that could be used to count cards. Unsurprisingly, no casino would allow a player to use such devices, considering it clearly unfair despite there being no real laws against such a device at the time. Therefore, Taft took his invention one step further by adapting it into a concealed device that could be hidden from casino staff. Against all odds, it worked, resulting in countless wins for Taft before the Casinos cracked down on the use of technological devices, and it was banned by law in 1985. Although an incredible inventor, perhaps not a very good sportsman!

Tommy Hyland

Best known as the manager of the longest-running blackjack team in History, Tommy Hyland’s team began in 1979, almost an incredible 40 years ago. No true figure exists of exactly how much his team has won in their years together, but it is known that they all put an initial $4,000 each into the team bankroll in the beginning, turning it into an incredible $50,000 in just a few months.

In 1994, members of team Hyland were arrested for using a technique known as “ace-sequencing”, a shuffle-tracking method generally considered cheating. Fortunately for the team members, the courts ruled that the players weren’t actually cheating but simply using a clever strategy. Hyland was selected by professional gamers as one of the seven original inductees into the Blackjack Hall of Fame.

Blackjack is easy to learn but difficult to master, making it a favourite among casual players and professional gamblers alike. If you want to become a great blackjack player, you must be willing to put in the time and effort to learn the game inside and out. In this article, we will share with you some of the secrets that can help you become a successful blackjack player.

Understand the Rules

The first step to becoming a great blackjack player is to understand the rules of the game. Blackjack is a simple game that involves trying to get a higher hand than the dealer without going over 21. Players are dealt two cards and can choose to “hit” and receive additional cards or “stand” and keep their current hand. It is important to familiarize yourself with the basic strategy of blackjack, which involves knowing when to hit, stand, double down, or split pairs.

Learn Basic Strategy

Once you understand the rules of the game, the next step is to learn basic strategy. A basic strategy is a set of rules that tells you the best move to make based on your hand and the dealer’s upcard. By following a basic strategy, you can reduce the house edge and increase your chances of winning. There are many resources available online that can help you learn basic strategy, including charts and training programs.

Practice, Practice, Practice

The key to becoming a great blackjack player is to practice as much as possible. You can practice at home with a deck of cards or by playing online blackjack games. It is important to keep track of your progress and identify areas where you need to improve. One of the best ways to practice is to play blackjack for free at online casinos. This will allow you to hone your skills without risking any money.

Manage Your Bankroll

Another secret to becoming a great blackjack player is to manage your bankroll effectively. This means setting a budget for yourself and sticking to it, even when you are on a winning streak. You should also never bet more than you can afford to lose. By managing your bankroll effectively, you can prolong your playing time and increase your chances of winning big.

Avoid Common Mistakes

Many players make common mistakes that can cost them the game. One of the biggest mistakes is taking insurance when the dealer shows an ace. Insurance is a side bet that the dealer has a blackjack; it is almost always a bad bet. Another common mistake is splitting pairs of 10s or 5s. It is almost always better to stand with a hand of 20 or to hit with a hand of 10 rather than splitting the pairs.

Watch the Dealer

Another secret to becoming a great blackjack player is to watch the dealer carefully. The dealer’s upcard can give you valuable information about their hand, which can help you make better decisions. For example, if the dealer has a 6 showing, they are likelier to bust, so you might want to stand on a hand of 12 or higher. On the other hand, if the dealer has a 10 showing, they are more likely to have a strong hand, so you might want to hit on a hand of 16 or lower.

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Stay Focused

Finally, it is important to stay focused when playing blackjack. Avoid distractions like alcohol and music, and focus on the game. It is also important to take breaks and not play for too long at a time. Playing for too long can lead to fatigue and poor decision-making, which can ultimately hurt your chances of winning.

Understand the Variations

There are many variations of blackjack, each with its own set of rules and strategies. It is important to understand the variations and their unique characteristics before playing. Some variations, like Spanish 21 and Pontoon, have different rules and can be more challenging to play. Others, like Single Deck Blackjack, have better odds for the player. Understanding the variations can help you choose the best game for your playing style and increase your chances of winning.

Know When to Quit

One of the most important secrets to becoming a great blackjack player is knowing when to quit. It can be tempting to keep playing when you’re on a winning streak, but it’s important to set a goal and stick to it. Once you reach your goal, whether it’s doubling your bankroll or winning a specific amount, it’s time to quit. Similarly, if you’re on a losing streak, it’s important to know when to cut your losses and walk away.

Conclusion

Becoming a great blackjack player takes time, effort, and practice. It’s important to understand the rules of the game, learn basic strategy, and manage your bankroll effectively. Avoid common mistakes, watch the dealer carefully, and stay focused on the game. Understanding the variations and knowing when to quit are also important factors to consider. By following these secrets, you can increase your chances of winning big and becoming a successful blackjack player.