Three Transferable Skills from Poker to Blackjack

poker to blackjack

Poker to Blackjack

Poker and blackjack might seem like very different games. One relies heavily on psychology and intuition while the other is more a case of cold, hard logic. Then there’s the small matter of poker being a game played against other people while blackjack is just you against the dealer. But there are a number of crossovers between the two games. This means that the skills that a poker player picks up over time can be a great help in their quest to become an accomplished blackjack player as well.

Using your intuition and observation

As we’ve just mentioned, poker is a game of psychology and brinkmanship. But you can also pick up a great deal of information from a combination of intuition and observation. We’ve all heard stories of, or experienced first-hand, tells that have given away particular players’ hand. In blackjack, you may just be playing against the dealer, but they’re human too. You can pick up on minuscule signals from them too as you play. This is even the case when you’re playing online blackjack in a “live” casino. Because you’re playing in real-time against an actual dealer you can also closely watch their reactions and become accustomed to their style of play. Try it and you may be surprised by just how much you can deduce.

Doing the math

As any experienced poker player will know, a great deal of their time is spent rapidly calculating odds and probabilities and then measuring the size of their bets, according to the estimated card values around them. The fact that they’re working with incomplete information may make this a little more challenging but it’s possible, all the same. The simpler set-up of blackjack means that the math involved is a little simpler and exactly the same principles apply. By seeing which cards have been dealt, you’ll have a good idea about which ones remain in the pack and can start estimating the probabilities of being closer to the magical total of 21 than the dealer. To help you on your way there’s also something that poker doesn’t have – and that’s the basic strategy.

Keeping your focus

Poker marathons can be long and arduous experiences, as anyone who has spent hours around a table can testify. But this is like any kind of training. The longer that one spends doing something, the easier it becomes. So the time spent playing Texas Hold’em or any other poker variant, and enlivening things with the odd hero call , will prepare you for an extended stint playing blackjack too. It might not be quite as mentally draining as poker, but you’ll still need to keep your focus if you want on top of the game.

So there you have them. Three ways that poker can sharpen up your blackjack too. As to what skills you can take from blackjack to poker, well, that’s another story altogether.



Featured image: “blackjack” (CC BY 2.0) by Andreasgh