Blackjack Tips

As you become more acquainted with the game of blackjack, you can begin to employ various strategies to improve your chances of beating the dealer. It is the effective use of these strategies that allows professional blackjack players to flourish and turn the game into a viable career option. While you may not be ready to become a professional player just yet – that takes years of practice – these fresh tips from 18 professional blackjack players will help you take your game play to the next level.

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Mike Aponte

While card counting is frowned upon in many casinos, it is perfectly legal, and the success of MIT blackjack team player Mike Aponte is legendary. To brush up on your card counting techniques a la Aponte, check out our guide to counting cards.

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Henry Tamburin

Henry Tamburin’s advice for novice players? Don’t play on a table that uses a continuous shuffling machine. While CSMs slightly reduce the house edge, the game is played faster, meaning you will play approximately 20 percent more hands per hour. This will likely increase your losses.

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Thomas Hyland

A professional blackjack player since the 1970s, Thomas Hyland is known as the king of card counting and prefers playing as a part of a team – sometimes up to 30 or 40 people. This is because the losses of one individual can be smoothed over by wins from other members of the team.

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Stanford Wong

A Blackjack Hall of Fame Member, Stanford Wong is well known for his popular book, “Professional Blackjack.” Wong advises new players to employ effective bankroll management: Only risk an amount of money that wouldn’t impact your life in a significant manner if you were to lose it. Then, size your bets based on your bankroll.

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Peter A. Griffin

Mathematician Peter A. Griffin has written some of the foremost books on blackjack, although, oddly enough, he did not gamble much himself. His advice has gained him cult status in the blackjack world. Here’s one tidbit: Keep a mathematical picture of the card deck composition in your head during the game – this will help you count cards.

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Don Johnson

After winning $15 from three Atlantic City casinos over the span of just five months, professional blackjack player Don Johnson revealed his secret to success: He negotiated discounts as high as 20 percent on losses he had to pay that were above $500,000. If you ever become a high roller, you may be able to do the same.

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Max Rubin

Blackjack expert Max Rubin has been involved in the gambling industry for more than 40 years, teaching people how to take advantage of casinos. Rubin advises blackjack players to avoid the gimmick games because they are often a safety net for casinos.

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Kevin Blackwood

Inspired by an article he read about NFL betting, Kevin Blackwood became a blackjack player in the 1980s. Because blackjack is a very tough game to beat, Blackwood usually spreads as much as possible in order to win: 1 to 20 for shoe games, 1 to 8 for double deck and 1 to 4 for single deck.

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Lawrence Revere

Lawrence Revere spent time as a casino dealer and owner before turning to professional blackjack, giving him a unique perspective. The famous “Revere Five Count Strategy” is a simple one that can be used when learning to count cards – just track the number of fives in a single deck game.

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Ken Einiger

The 2005 Blackjack World Champion, Ken Einiger has some relatively simple advice when it comes to betting strategies: Make small bets during the early hands of the game. Then, push out more chips as the game progresses.

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Ken Uston

Arguably the most famous blackjack player in the history of the game, Ken Uston won millions of dollars during his career. His book “Million Dollar Blackjack” contains the secret to his success: Uston Advanced Plus-Minus. This optimized betting strategy is considered sacred among blackjack players and should be learned by anyone who is serious about the game.

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John May

While many professional blackjack players employ card counting, John May has found over the years that all aspects of advantage play are important. Be sure to also pay attention to card steering, card sequencing and camouflage while playing.

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James Grosjean

Famously detained for five days at Ceasar’s Palace in Las Vegas (and later winning a successful lawsuit), James Grosjean is a blackjack legend. One of his many strategies is blackjack shuffle tracking, which requires the ability to keep track of where cards are (particularly 10s and aces) in the deck during a shuffle.

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Edward O. Thorp

Edward O. Thorp is famous for writing the first book that used math to prove that blackjack was not only a beatable game, but that players could overcome odds and beat the dealer by using the proper card counting strategy. Thorp uses the Kelly criterion for bankroll management and advises other players to do the same.

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Arnold Snyder

As one of the top – ranking blackjack players in the world, Arnold Snyder is full of plenty of good advice for both novice and advanced players. Snyder says most players should stick with a level one counting system and should simplify their strategy tables.

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Don Schlesinger

The author of one of the most successful blackjack books of all time, “Blackjack Attack: Playing the Pros’ Way,” mathematician Don Schlesinger got his start in blackjack in the 1970s. In his book, Schlesinger advises players to only play games with a SCORE (Standard Comparison of Risk and Expectation) of 50 or above.

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Bryce Carlson

Bryce Carlson has been a professional blackjack player since the 1970s and was active on blackjack websites when they first became popular in the 1990s. Carlson is all about enjoying the game of blackjack, and advises small stakes players to just have fun.

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Al Francesco

Al Francesco is one of the most respected professional blackjack players in history and has been inducted into the Blackjack Hall of Fame. Francesco is widely credited with inventing the concept of team blackjack. He also developed the “Big Player” strategy, whereby the team works around one player who makes large bets when the count is high, bringing in most of the money for the team.