Not everyone can make a living by playing blackjack, but it is possible to do it and I am living proof of that. Namely, I have been playing blackjack for more than 13 years now and that is my main source of income. I manage to do this by following a set of rules and principles and constantly learning how to improve my knowledge and skills.
As you may already know, you need both luck and skill to win at blackjack. That is exactly what makes it possible to win consistently and make a living.
I started my website because I believe that anyone who puts enough effort into bettering their skills can start to make a living by playing this casino game.
Below, I will teach you everything you need to know to get started. I’ve outlined the basics for you, so all you need to do is learn them well and try them out in a reliable casino.
You might think that making a living by playing blackjack is impossible. I can confirm that it is not easy (at least in the beginning), but it’s far from impossible.
I’ll prove to you that winning consistently at blackjack is not rocket science, and I’ll show you exactly how I did it and how I’m still doing it.
The first thing you need to do to start making consistent wins when playing blackjack is to sign up with a reliable online casino. Remember that where you play makes all the difference when it comes to the outcomes of your games.
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- How to Start This Journey on Your Own
- Top Blackjack Playing Tips
- Best Blackjack Winning Strategy
Since the options out there are maddening and very confusing, I’ve decided to help you out. Below, you will find a list of the best casino rooms for playing blackjack, in my opinion.
Before employing any of my strategies and tips listed below, you should make sure to create an account in one or more of these casinos. They have the best blackjack games and the best playing conditions, which will make your entire journey a lot easier.
Apart from the online casinos I have listed and recommended above, you can also play blackjack in land-based casinos. However, you should think twice before doing that as there are both pros and cons of it.
If you play in a land-based casino, you will get a much better experience because you will feel the atmosphere of a casino first-hand. However, unless you live in Las Vegas or some other gambling hotspot, you might be better off with online casinos.
One of the rules of playing blackjack for a living is to frequently change the casino where you’re playing. When it comes to land-based venues, that is often difficult to do, but it’s a lot easier if you play online. Getting spotted at a land-based casino is much more likely to happen than online since they have cameras above each table, tracking every move you make.
To start winning at blackjack and keep winning, there are some things you should do every single time and others you should avoid.
Let’s start with the do’s!
- Get a Good Feel for the Rules
This is the very first thing you need to do before you start playing blackjack. If you’re not certain that you know and understand all the rules of blackjack, you’re not ready to start making a living by playing it.
The most important thing about blackjack that most people get wrong is the goal of the game. If you think that the goal is to get to 21, you’re wrong. The goal of the game is to beat the dealer. You can do that by having a better hand than them and not busting first.
Now that you understand what the objective of the game is, you’re ready to start learning how to achieve it.
- Learn the Basic Strategy
Learning the basic strategy is a must for anyone who plans to play blackjack professionally or aims to sustain themselves by playing this game. It will provide you with a strong foundation you can continue to expand for as long as you live and play blackjack.
The basic blackjack strategy is mainly a chart that outlines all the possible hands in the game. It will tell you exactly what and when to do when you are faced with a particular situation.
This chart teaches you when to hit, stand, double, split, or surrender, based on the cards you and the dealer have. Sometimes, all you need to be good at blackjack is common sense. For example, you won’t hit when you have 19 or 20 in your hand. In other cases, several moves might look good to you. This is when you should use the chart to determine what the best move is.
- Learn How to Count Cards
Counting cards is the best way to decrease the house edge and increase your chances of winning against the dealer. We’ll talk about it in greater detail later on in this article, but for now, what you need to know is that counting cards is a way of predicting the probability of drawing a particular card the next time you hit.
If you know how to count cards, you will be able to raise your bets when you think there’s a good chance the next card will be good for you and lower your bets when it appears to be the other way around. In the long run, you can earn thousands of dollars this way, if you play your cards right.
- Master Bankroll Management
If you plan to make a living by playing blackjack, you first need to make sure that you do not end up bankrupt. Making a living from blackjack does not mean winning every single time. You will have good and bad days. The point is to make sure that you have a lot more good than bad days on average.
Bankroll management refers to the technique used to control and oversee the amount of money you spend on casino games. Make sure to never spend more than you can afford to. If you reach the daily limit you have determined, stand up and walk away.
- Find a Good Game
The next step to becoming a professional blackjack player and making a living by doing that is pretty basic. You need to make sure that you are playing the right game. You might have heard of the 3:2 Blackjack and 6:5 Blackjack. This refers to the payout you can expect when you win a round with a 21.
When you play a 3:2 game, if you bet two dollars, you will win three back when you win with a blackjack. However, in a 6:5 game, you will win six dollars every time you bet five, which ends up being a lot less. Therefore, the house edge in 6:5 Blackjack is much higher than in the 3:2 variant.
- Play in Multiple Locations
The business model of the casinos you play in includes you losing. Therefore, if you play in only one casino and you end up winning frequently, you will draw a lot of attention to yourself. As you may know, both online and land-based casinos have the right to refuse to provide their services to anyone, without any further explanation.
You can avoid this by frequently switching casinos and having several places where you will be a regular. This might be a lot easier to do online than in land-based casinos. However, if you live in a city such as Las Vegas or Atlantic City, you should definitely take advantage of your location from time to time.
- Negotiate Discounts and Cash Backs
Both online and land-based casinos love regulars. Therefore, you can easily make this work in your favor by negotiating discounts and cash backs. More often than not, they will be happy to provide you with an offer — all you need to do is ask.
Moreover, you can take advantage of regular bonuses and promotions. Unfortunately, blackjack-specific promotions are not very common. However, you can make good use of regular ones as well and win some bonus cash to get started.
Now that we have determined what you should focus on doing every time, it’s time to learn about some things you should avoid doing whenever possible.
Here are some of the “don’ts” that I have learned to stay away from, which has helped me to turn blackjack from a hobby into a reliable source of income.
- Do Not Drink Alcohol When Playing
Having a beer or two, or a glass of wine is a great way to relax and wind down at the end of a tough day. However, alcohol is not your friend when you’re playing blackjack., especially if you’re trying to make a living by playing. You would not drink alcohol at your regular job, wouldn’t you? That’s what I thought.
Therefore, make sure to stay sober and clear-headed whenever you’re sitting at a blackjack table, regardless of whether you’re playing in a land-based casino or online. Even just one beer could change your perception and make you risk more or lose focus during the game.
When we drink alcohol, we tend to make decisions using our emotions rather than our rationality. As I have already mentioned, blackjack is a game of skill, so you need to make sure that you can stay on top of your game at all times.
- Do Not Play Side Bets
Side bets are additional bets you can find in many casinos and blackjack games. They may look very tempting, but you should remember that they are not your friends. Even though they may sometimes help you lose less, that’s not what you should be focusing on.
The principle behind side bets is such that they are based on luck more than on skill. Because of that, their outcome is difficult to predict. Some of the most common side bets in blackjack are 21+3, Royal Match, Over/Under 13, Super Sevens, and so on.
Instead of focusing on lowering your losses, you should be focused on increasing your winnings. A lost bet is still a lost bet. Side bets are fun to play, there’s no doubt about that. However, their RTP is much lower compared to the main bets. Therefore, if you’re playing to make a living, you should stay away from them.
- Stay Away from Insurance
Insurance is a special bet that lets you protect yourself from the situation in which the dealer wins with a 21. However, that’s only true in theory. In reality, you’re much better off losing your whole hand than losing just half of it. The reason I say this is because the risk is much better than the reward.
To make an insurance bet, you need to bet more money on top of the main bet you have already placed on the table. In case the dealer does not have a blackjack, you risk losing more than you would if you didn’t pay the insurance.
Therefore, even though the insurance bet looks tempting and seems like a good idea, it is a terrible move to make if you want to increase your chances of having a positive balance.
- Play on Tables Where You Can Double Any Time
Doubling down on your bet is a great way to increase your RTP in the long run, if you do it right. However, some casinos will limit your options when it comes to doubling down and only let you do this if you have a 9, 10, or face card.
As you can guess, this rule was made because it favors the house. Therefore, you should avoid such casinos whenever possible. Depending on the dealer’s upcard, there are many situations in which you would benefit greatly from doubling down on cards lower than a 9. So you want to avoid any restrictions whenever you can.
Like any other career, playing blackjack for a living has its ups and downs. Many of the positives of being a Professional Blackjack Player are obvious, like getting paid in cash and enjoying free comps. There are also negatives such as not having company-paid healthcare coverage.
Speaking from experience, I’ve put together a list of the top 5 positive and negative aspects of playing blackjack for a living. My hope is to help people decide if this lifestyle seems right for them before they go out and experience everything first hand.
I’ll go with the assumption that you enjoy playing cards and are interested in card counting, because I would never recommend anyone pursue a career that they won’t enjoy.
- Paid in Cash
The benefit of being handed cash on the same day you earn it is fairly self-explanatory. I don’t know anyone that would rather be written a check than given cash.
- No Boss
Doing what you want, when you want, how you want, is a luxury very few people have. Being your own boss and having no one to answer to can be very satisfying and work well for a motivated person. If you’re an extremely lazy person and need someone to babysit you and tell you what to do, then playing blackjack as a job and card counting in general may not be for you. This is an entrepreneurial type of business that provides great financial reward for hard work.
- Flexibility in Schedule
Having the ability to work when you want and start or stop on a moments notice is an immeasurable benefit of playing blackjack for a living. You can never be late for work or take too long of a lunch. For the night owls, you’ve got the luxury of playing blackjack any time of day or night any day of the week. Sometimes I like to play as much as possible for a straight week and then take the entire next week off. The point is, as a professional blackjack player, how you manage your time is completely up to you!
This might not be a positive for everyone, but it certainly is for me. I would much rather spend a Tuesday afternoon at a Las Vegas resort than in a cubicle at an office. When blackjack is your job, you get to enjoy casual conversation at the tables in a vacation setting rather than sitting in a meeting room at work talking about increasing production. What’s more appealing, having a diet coke in a break room at the office or drinking a cold beer out at a pool?
- Free Comps
For me this is a huge perk of the job. I’m not the type of guy that goes out and spends $300 on dinner at an overpriced steakhouse. However, when those lobster tails are free, they seem to taste so much better. Playing blackjack for a living allows me to eat at some of the priciest restaurants in the world and stay in some of the most beautiful resorts ever built. While most people save up all year for a summer vacation, my family is able to go to just about any casino resort for free on a moments notice.
For those of you that depend on company paid healthcare, you’re simply not going to get that covered playing blackjack as a job. You will be left to buy your own healthcare out of pocket just like any other self-employed person.
Along with no company healthcare, you also will not be getting an employer matched 401K. My suggestion is to set up a Roth IRA and make the maximum contribution every year. Your Roth IRA capital gains will be tax-free and can be cashed out upon retirement age. Although you may never want to retire from playing professional blackjack, you will hit what is considered the “retirement age” for a Roth IRA at 59 1/2. Roth IRAs are one of the best things going in the investment world, so take full advantage. Distributions really are 100% tax free!
This can be a good thing or a bad thing. I have a wife and kids, so I don’t like to travel away from them too much. We’ve chosen to live in a nice area with great weather rather than live where there are a lot of great casinos. This means I have to travel out to where I play. Sometimes that’s a lot of fun, but sometimes it’s just a hassle. You really have to give strong consideration to how you’re going to get to the casinos you plan to regularly play at.
- No Exact Paycheck
Playing blackjack for a living doesn’t earn you a bi-weekly paycheck of a set amount. In card counting the money tends to come in waves that simply cannot be planned. Some days a Pro Blackjack Player might make more than he made the entire previous week. Then the next day he might make nothing. If you’ve ever worked a commission job, then you know how this is. If you’re accustomed to a predictable paycheck that you get every two weeks, then this lifestyle takes a little getting used to. Just don’t go spending all your money when you have your first big winning day.
This is my own issue and I don’t expect everyone to agree. After all, some professional players are smokers themselves. I personally can’t stand having to sit at blackjack tables with people blowing smoke in my face. Unfortunately casinos are packed with smokers. These days more and more casinos are adding non-smoking tables and are improving their ventilation systems, so this is a continually improving negative aspect of the game. One of my top personal rules is to never sit directly next to someone that’s smoking. If they light one up, I’m getting up and switching tables.
So there you have it, my own personal list of 5 positives to playing blackjack for a living and 5 negatives to consider as well. Only you can decide if this type of work is a good fit for you and your personality. I realize many of you just want to beat the game for when you’re on vacation or to supplement your income on weekends. For you, the issues listed above probably aren’t too significant.
Now that we have determined what some things you should and should not do at a blackjack table are, it’s time to learn some handy tips that will improve your win/loss ratio. I have tested these rules multiple times and proved that they work.
# Check the Dealer’s Upcard
This is one of the things a lot of people completely disregard. I don’t blame them because most “expert blackjack guides” out there completely disregard it as well. Remember that the goal of this game is not to get a 21 hand. The goal is to beat the dealer. Therefore, it is very important to consider the dealer’s hand before you decide on your next move.
Unfortunately, only one of the two dealer’s cards is visible. But even that one card can tell you a lot and save you from losing money unnecessarily.
# Start with Small Bets
When you first sit at a table, you should start by betting small. You should use the first several hands to get a good feel of the game, the table, the dealer, and the players next to you (if there are any).
Only when you’re certain that the pace of the table suits you and the atmosphere is right, should you proceed and start raising your bets whenever you feel the situation is right.
# Do Not Listen to Other Players at Your Table
There are many different types of players at a blackjack table. While it’s a great idea to socialize and make friends, both online and in land-based casinos, you should not take advice from other players.
There will always be a player or two who will try to tell you about a secret strategy they developed that changed their life. But what other players at the table do is none of your business. If they become too annoying, you can just walk away and switch tables.
Blackjack is a very old game and a lot of people have tried their luck on it. However, a small percentage of people has realized that you can win much more frequently if you do not only rely on luck.
That’s where blackjack strategies come into play. These are elaborate and reliable methods you can use to play blackjack for a living. Here are my favourite ones that I use most often.
# Card Counting
I have already mentioned card counting above, but now it’s time to elaborate on it a bit more. There are several ways to count cards in blackjack, but the High/Low method is the simplest and the most popular one.
To begin, you should appoint a value to each type of card in the deck. Cards 2-6 have a value of +1, whereas cards 10-A have a value of -1. Cards 7-9 are valued 0, so they do not matter.
One card counting session lasts from the moment the dealer shuffles the deck until they shuffle it again. You need to add/subtract the value of each card that enters the table. Every time the total value is more than 0, you should increase your bets in the next round because the number of high cards in the deck is greater.
Every time the total value is lower than 0, you should lower your bets because the total number of low cards in the deck is higher, which favours the dealer more.
For those looking to get to a professional card counting level and have blackjack as their sole source of income, these are some things you really must consider before quitting your day job. Of course these issues only matter once you gain the necessary knowledge, skill and discipline to be a profitable blackjack player in the first place.
# Double Down on a Hard 11
There are several ways to get a hard 11. No matter which way you get it, you should always double down when that happens. That’s because you will always win more money by doubling down with a hard 11 instead of hitting, no matter what the dealer’s upcard is.
However, as always, there is one exception to this rule. If you are playing a game in which the dealer is required to stand on a soft 17, and the dealer’s upcard is an Ace, you should hit instead of doubling down. In all other cases, you should do the opposite.
# Split a Pair of 8s and Aces
When dealt a pair of 8’s, most players will hit if the dealer’s upcard is a 9, 10, or Ace. Their reason for not splitting is because they believe they will lose even more money that way since the dealer has a strong hand already.
However, people do not understand that their chances of winning in this situation are higher if they split the 8’s and play to separate hands, instead of hitting a hard 16, as there is a high chance they will bust.
When it comes to aces, it is always better to split them and play two powerful hands than hit and play them as a two.
There it is, my simple and applicable guide on how to play blackjack for a living. By using these rules, tips, and strategies, I earn $25,000 every month and do something I love — play blackjack. You can do it as well if you put enough time and effort into reading these pieces of advice, learning them, and perfecting them in real life.
Stay tuned as I will keep sharing more awesome advice on how to beat the house, have fun, and make a living for yourself. Start with these basics and work your way up.