The more time you spend playing live dealer games, the more likely you are to start recognising certain Blackjack stereotypes. People can usually be categorised into groups, and Blackjack players are no exception to this.
All Blackjack players have certain characteristics in common. The game requires strategy and abstract thought, so every kind of player is going to be capable of those things. But you will find that the different types of Blackjack players are trying to apply these skills in different ways, to different degrees.
The list of Blackjack player stereotypes here isn’t supposed to belittle players or make you think the game or its enthusiasts are simple. Rather, within these categories there are countless nuanced differences between individuals. Just like the game itself, the categories seem straightforward but are actually very complex.
For sociable players, the game of Blackjack is not about winning or losing. It is about connecting with others. Their focus is on the individuals who are playing the game and on the fun they can have. It’s probably the biggest group of players, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Who doesn’t want to have a good time when they’re playing one of the most popular casino games in the world?
Players of this kind tend to go with their instincts, and base a lot of their moves on hunches – which is not the best way to win. Social butterflies tend not to think things through – their conversations are too interesting – so they might split all the time. You may also see them neglecting to draw enough in situations that have a positive outcome, and losing money that way too.
The sloppy play of social players keeps the house happy, and they encourage everyone so they keep the atmosphere festive. All in all, as long as they don’t distract you, they can be a great addition to your table.
Nervous players are completely lacking in confidence – they might even wonder what they are doing at the Blackjack table in the first place. They are the next-biggest group of casino players after the social players that we’ve already mentioned. You might find that, over time, nervous players graduate and become something else. This is only natural, as their confidence and experience grow.
In all likelihood, you too were a nervous player when you first came to the Blackjack tables. Treat the ones that you see in the way that you appreciated being treated, or in the way that you wish you had been treated. Discuss rules, strategy and etiquette, and try to play a few games with them. Your experience means you’ll probably win – and there is no reason your kindness should go unrewarded!
For mathematical thinkers, casino games like Blackjack are a pure pursuit. The entire field of probability theory was founded on gambling and the likelihood of different outcomes. Maths whizzes love to contemplate the odds, and winning a game will mean more because they were right about the numbers rather than getting the money.
Individual mathematical thinkers will rely on known strategies and statistical probabilities in different measures. They tend to slow the games down, which can be a good or bad thing. It just depends what you want from the game, so if you notice such a player at your table you might need to make a call. The first clue is that they will not be very sociable at all!
Card counters are serious; they are all about perfecting their skills and then winning big. They’re not working in big groups and may not even be that good yet, but they are all quite single-minded. These people are still amateurs and not professionals, and their play is not very smooth.
You can usually spot a card counter because they take a little longer on each turn – they are counting the cards – and keep adjusting their betting accordingly. They’ll also slow the game down and are lacking in good conversation, so if you’re in a social player phase you don’t want to get stuck at a table with too many of them!
Blackjack professionals are the exact opposite of poker professionals. Poker pros are flashy; Blackjack pros are very discreet. They play for a short time and then leave. They’re the consistent winners at the table, and they’re a rare breed. The discipline that it takes to reach this level means that not many people have. They don’t like to leave too much of an impression, so if you find someone very dull but successful at your table it could be a professional.
The different Blackjack stereotypes are anthropologically interesting. Now that you know them, it will be easy to spot the key behaviours in others – and yourself. What kind of player are you at the moment?