Blackjack: Skill or Luck?

Is blackjack all about skill or more about luck? That question has been a topic of discussion and debate for decades and, though many arguments have been put forward for either side, there is no clear answer to it. It's not really a dichotomy where the answer is either absolute luck or 100% blackjack skill. Both are very important to any blackjack player and losing out on either one could mean losing out on the blackjack table as well.

On one hand, you have skill which can (and most probably will) provide a great advantage. Just like with any other game, blackjack skills are earned not only through studying the theoretical side of blackjack but through experience playing blackjack too. The experience that comes from playing is what speeds up your responses to particular situations while the knowledge from study and practice tells you the right responses to those same situations.

Another important component when talking about skills in blackjack is card counting. It's such a big factor in your success that casinos actually frown on card counters because the blackjack technique can get so effective. If you want to complete the skill component of blackjack, make sure you have a good grasp of how card counting works and a more-than-basic card counting technique to use at the tables.

On the other hand, you have luck which, as it seems, just pops up every now and then to give players either a winning or a losing streak. Luck or, more scientifically, probability is what makes blackjack a favorite example for statistics textbooks. The 52 cards in a single deck can already yield tens of thousands of possible hands, even more if you're in the usual multi-deck game. That sheer number might be good news to statistics students but could be bad news for your bankroll.

Fortunately, because the number of possibilities is still finite and exhaustible, luck (or probability, whichever you prefer to call it) dictates that you're bound to come up with that winning hand sooner or later. Luck in blackjack basically says that you will win, eventually.

Remember, winning in blackjack isn't about practicing to gain as much skill as you can, nor is it about hoarding good luck charms to attract as much 'good luck' as possible. You have to learn to balance the effect of both in your game because both aspects will always be present. Luck is what mandates that you will, sooner or later, win the game. Skill is what will help you tell when you're 'luckiest' and exploit that luck for all it's worth to your bankroll.

Close