Playing Blackjack At A Casino

Understanding Blackjack Basics

Before we talk about luck vs. skill in blackjack, we’ll run through the basics of the game. Blackjack is a card-comparing game where you’re up against the dealer. Whoever gets the closest to 21 without going over 21 wins the game.

In a typical game of blackjack, you receive two cards, and so does the dealer. You go first, and there are multiple things you can do with your hand of cards.

These include hitting (getting another card), standing (keeping your hand as it is) and doubling down (doubling your bet and then hitting). You can also split your hand in two if your first two cards are of the same value.

Cards 2-9 are worth their face value, while 10s and royals (J, Q and K) are all worth 10. The A can be worth 1 or 11; it’s up to you to decide its worth.

When you’re done with your hand, it’s time for the dealer to act. The dealer follows set rules based on their first two cards. When both players have finished, their hands are compared.

Whoever is the closest to 21 wins the game, though it could well end in a tie. If you or the dealer goes over 21 at any time, the other player wins.

The Element of Luck

So how does luck come into it? All card games have an element of luck to them simply because of deck shuffling. Before each round of blackjack takes place, the deck is shuffled.

The reason for this is simple: to make sure the cards come out in a random order. This also ensures that there’s no bias and that no player has an advantage over any other.

Most blackjack games use multiple decks, i.e. six or eight. This ensures that there’s plenty of variety when it comes to card draw. When you receive a card, the one you get is determined at random.

Because there’s no way of telling what cards you’ll get, you have to think on your feet. Every card you get presents a new challenge since you need to adapt and figure out the best move to make next.

However, you could be extremely lucky and get a natural blackjack. This is where your first two cards add up to 21. To get this, you’d need an A (valued at 11) and any card worth 10.

If you get a natural and the dealer doesn’t, you win and earn a 3:2 payout.

The Role of Skill

It’s clear that luck plays a role in blackjack, but so does skill. This is because of the fact that when you play, you have to make key decisions that can affect the game’s outcome.

Every decision you make affects the composition of your hand, i.e. what cards you have. So where does skill come in? The idea is that if you have enough skill, you’ll always make the best decision.

But what is the best decision? It’s the best move to make, statistically speaking. Every blackjack game has a strategy card. This is a table that shows what the optimal move to make is.

A blackjack strategy table lists the dealer’s possible face-up cards and your possible hand totals. For every combination, it tells you the best move to make.

Many players use a strategy card to help them make the best decisions. It’s worth pointing out that even if you use one of these yourself, you could still lose. No type of strategy can guarantee a win.

If you decide not to use a strategy card, you have to think carefully and take risks. Sometimes when you draw a card, it could take your total past 21, causing you to lose.

To play blackjack skilfully, whether it’s with a strategy card or not, you have to be aware of the consequences of every move. If a decision could cause you to lose, think twice about it.

Also, you need to be good at deciding what to do based on both your hand and the dealer’s face-up card. The dealer might have a better chance of winning depending on what their face-up card is.

Balancing Luck and Skill

The big question is this: is blackjack more skill or luck? The answer to that isn’t straightforward because both of them have a role to play in every game of blackjack.

When playing the game, it’s best not to get worked up about the luck of the draw. This is because each card draw is random and you can’t affect it in any way.

To play blackjack optimally, you have to be responsive and know what to do based on your hand and the dealer’s face-up card. Using a strategy card can be a great help, of course.

But while these cards are popular, some players don’t want to rely on them. Instead, they prefer to make their own decisions and take risks on their own terms. For these players, having some skill is necessary.

To play blackjack without using a strategy, you have to know the game inside-out. You need to have an idea of what move you should make based on what’s happened in the game so far.

So is blackjack skill or luck? It’s always a matter of luck, but how much skill is involved is down to you. If you use a strategy, pretty much all the decision-making is done for you.

If you don’t use a strategy, it’s up to you to make the all-important decisions. This is where your skill has a chance to shine. The better you are, the more likely you’ll be to make money over long-term play.

Tips to Enhance Skill

Fortunately, there are lots of things you can do to improve your blackjack skills. Before you start playing blackjack with real money, follow the tips below. By doing this, you’ll be a confident player and you’ll have a better chance of achieving long-term success with the game.

  • Know the rules inside and out. This is essential for any type of gambling game, especially one where you have to make decisions that can affect the outcome. To have the best possible chance of doing well at blackjack, you need to know what’s going on.
  • Understand basic strategy. For every possible blackjack variant, there’s a basic strategy chart. This tells you what the best move to make is, statistically speaking, based on your hand and the dealer’s face-up card.
  • Play for free. All the best blackjack sites let you play for free. At some sites, you need an account; others, however, let you play free games without registering. With demo versions of blackjack, you can practise as much as you want without having to risk your money.
  • Attend workshops. Some land-based casinos have regular sessions where beginners can come along and learn how to play games. Check your local gambling venues and see if any have workshops for blackjack players.
  • Keep track of gameplay and make changes. While playing blackjack, monitor your gameplay and be prepared to make changes. If you have a losing streak, for example, you might want to try a different approach, which could result in more wins.

Only play blackjack for real money when you feel ready; don’t feel pressured into it by anyone. Also, you should only gamble with money that you can afford to lose.

If you’re going to play blackjack for real money, you should do so responsibly. There are plenty of useful guides that can help you gamble sensibly.


As we’ve seen, both luck and skill have a role to play in blackjack games. Before you start playing, understand that no matter how skilful you may be, luck will always have a say in how the game pans out.

You could be the most skilled blackjack player in the world. But if luck isn’t on your side and you don’t get good cards, you can’t help it.

The fact that blackjack isn’t just about skill – there’s also luck involved – makes it a much more compelling and unpredictable game. If there wasn’t any luck, blackjack wouldn’t be as exciting to play.

About the author

James Gibson, Guest Author at

Name James Gibson
Job Freelance Writer Specialising in iGaming

James Gibson is a freelance content writer with passion for slot and game guides. He proclaims responsible gambling and aims at providing accurate and confirmed information.

Moderation is key. Gambling is best enjoyed when you stick to limits and you’re the one in control.

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