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Top 7 Qualities of a Good Blackjack Tournament Player

Updated on November 2, 2010

Almost anyone can learn to play blackjack. Based on a combination of luck and skill, almost anyone can also be good at blackjack. However there are some people who take that talent to the next level, participating in blackjack tournaments. Would you make a good blackjack tournament player? Take a look at the following seven qualities that tend to be exhibited by all good players in blackjack tournaments:

1. Always composed. We have all heard of the poker face but did you know that there’s a blackjack face as well? It’s important to remain calm and composed all throughout the game so that you don’t reveal this face to the other players in the tournament. You don’t want to give away what is going on with you. Remaining composed is also important because it means that you won’t make rash decisions during tournament game play. The ability to stay calm under stress is crucial for good blackjack players.

2. Flexibility. A really good blackjack tournament player has a lot of tricks up her sleeve. She may have a preferred strategy or method of game play but she realizes that it’s important to adapt that strategy to what is currently happening at the gaming table. A tournament game of blackjack is affected by the cards that happen to come up. It is also affected by a number of other factors including the person that you’re competing against, the number of people in the game and the seat position that you’ve ended up in. A flexible player adapts to these things with ease, making it more likely that she can win in any situation.

3. On top of the news. A good blackjack tournament player doesn’t consider this game to be a casual hobby. He considers it worthy of a lot of time and attention, akin to a part-time job. He does his research into the players that will participate in the tournament and the strategies that they use in game play. He reads about different styles of blackjack play and stays on top of news in this thrilling industry.

4. Quick decisions. A must-have quality of any good blackjack player is the ability to make quick and confident decisions. Blackjack tournaments require constant decision-making. The most obvious decision is where to “hit or stay” but there are many other types of risky decisions that are made throughout the game. Being indecisive just doesn’t work in this situation. This isn’t just rash decision making, though; the player takes all factors into consideration and makes as thorough a decision as possible in the short amount of time available.

5. Strategic. The person who will be good in a blackjack tournament is someone who understands how to create and implement a strategy for game play. This is done in part by studying up on the game and learning the different strategies that are commonly used. However it also involves a bit of self-knowledge and creative thinking to help make this strategy unique and successful. Of course, the person will still be flexible even when being strategic. It’s the balance between these two traits that makes for a truly good blackjack tournament player.

6. Thinks ahead. It is important to be able to think about more than just what is going on in the moment when you are playing in a blackjack tournament. You need to make quick decisions about the cards in your hand. However, you also need to be able to think ahead to the hands that are to come later in the round as well as to the future rounds that you’ll participate in as a part of the tournament. Being able to play in the moment while having a good broad perspective about the entire game is not easy but it’s something that you see in good blackjack tournament players.

7. Varied approach to play in terms of aggression levels. You already know that a good blackjack player will be flexible in his approach to game play. However, that’s not what this final quality is about. This is about have a strategic approach and a decision-making ability that allows the player to vary his style from passive to aggressive and back again as needed. Sometimes it’s smart to be passive in betting and other times it’s wise to be aggressive. Likewise, it’s smart to play a passive demeanor at the table with certain players and an aggressive demeanor with other players. A good blackjack tournament player will know when to be laidback and when to take the bull by the horns.

There is no way to say for sure whether or not you will do well in a blackjack tournament. This depends on the tournament, your experience with the game and the luck of the draw. However, you can get a good sense of whether or not you would generally be a good blackjack tournament player by asking yourself if you embody the above seven traits that are commonly seen amongst the best players in the game. Some of these skills can certainly be learned if you’re serious about the game, especially things like strategy. However, it really helps a lot of these traits (like being a quick decision maker) tend to come naturally to you. If they don’t then you can still do well in a blackjack tournament but you may need to work a lot harder than the next guy to make it happen.


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    Rog17 6 years ago

    Do you think the skill set is the same for online tournament players as it is for live tournament players?

  • Pamela99 profile image

    Pamela Oglesby 7 years ago from United States

    I like blackjack but have seldom played unless I'm traveling to where it is available. Your tips sound very logical. My past results have been more miss than hit.

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    foreignpress 7 years ago

    These are very good tips on the psychology of gambling. Lots of people -- especially the retired -- make regular money playing blackjack, slots, and others; at least enough to pay the rent and buy food. The trick is to know when to quit and when to play. Very seldom is there a big payoff. The savvy player quits at a $15,000 take (after play expenses). When to play is a gut feeling based on experience. And it's tax free.