blackjack player in front of a blackjack table

Is it Possible to Turn Chance into Skill in Blackjack?

Recently some blackjack sites have returned to a blackjack betting system form the 1980’s called the Chance-Skill System.  We think that it is a good idea to take a close look at this system for a few reasons:

  • Blackjack betting has evolved dramatically since the Chance-Skill system was developed and publicized by Thomas Cate.
  • This system recognizes the synergistic relationship between chance and skill in blackjack.
  • The system was developed before online casino games came into the market and the existence of such online casinos as Intertops Casino combine with the system to show the superiority of online casino gaming.
  • The Chance-Skill System emphasizes intuitive play which led the way for women embracing blackjack.

The Chance-Skill System

The system actually has three important aspects to it.  You will quickly recognize these aspects as commonplace in today’s blackjack literature.  However, in the 1980’s they were a lot less understood and far from being commonplace.

The Blackjack Strategy Chart

First, the system calls for using a blackjack strategy chart.  This is the first step in any sound blackjack system but thirty years ago most people played by instinct alone.  So, thirty years ago, the value of using a strategy chart was a revelation.

The strategy chart is based on computer analyses of many thousands of hands. Thirty years ago, computer analysis was still very much in its infancy.  Many people were leery of trusting a computer analysis of things they had “known” to be true for many years.

Many players find some elements in the standard blackjack strategy charts to be counter-intuitive.  In fact, they are counter-intuitive and because intuition alone led most players to make the statistically incorrect play, the strategy chart made winners out of many blackjack players who had struggled mightily to finish a session in the black.

Understanding Chance

In the language of casino gaming, chance and luck are synonymous.  We understand today how inter-connected chance and skill are in blackjack, poker, and many other games. 

There is no element of chance in games like Sudoku.  But there is a great deal of chance in blackjack.  In modern blackjack theory, chance has been studied by high powered computers.  The results are surprising in many cases.  It is thus a measure of skill, for example, to hit with twelve points when the dealer is showing a two or a three.  There are many other examples of similar restructuring of chance into skill based on computer analysis of blackjack.

Counting Cards

Thirty years ago, people thought that you had to be a genius to count cards enough to be able to turn the odds of winning in your favor. Today, there are more easily learned card counting systems so that every player who is willing to put in a few hours of work and continue to practice the skill of card counting can learn to do it automatically.

The Redefinition of Intuition

The Chance-Skill System effectively took what had been a source of frustration among blackjack players and turned it into a source of success.  Blackjack players were wont to play on hunches.  That is what intuition meant before the Chance-Skill System was promulgated.

After the system became popular, the idea of intuition was revised in the context of blackjack to mean automatic response.  An automatic response is entirely different than a hunch.  Hunches are never learned; automatic response is a learned response that you know so well that your response is automatic.

The key insight was that blackjack requires learning to recognize situations and responding to them without having to think about it.

Automatic Response in Everyday Life

We use automatic response many times every day in our everyday lives.  We say hello, good morning, and good bye.  These are so automatic that we don’t realize that they have been learned.  Good morning is so ingrained in our automatic actions that if a work colleague doesn’t say good morning we think that something is either very wrong in that person’s private life or they are simply being extremely rude.

We stop at red lights.  We look at restaurant menu prices and automatically decide if a dish is out of our price range.  We do the same for clothing, accessories, airplane tickets, hotel prices, and so many other things that we basically live instinctively most of the time.

Phillip Wylie

Phillip Wylie was a controversial newspaper essayist in the post- World War II era.  He said that most people live by instinct and that most people actually think very infrequently!

In the context of blackjack, we have to think very deeply in order to reach the point where we can react to a hand instinctively!  The deep thinking is the work we put in to master the strategy chart, to learn a rudimentary card counting system, and overcoming our sense that the correct decision inn some situations cannot actually be the correct decision.

The Value and Superiority of Online Blackjack

When we go to a land based casino to play blackjack, we have to consider all of the travel costs as part of our gaming bankroll.  It is obvious that we can start with a higher bankroll if we simply stay home and play online from the comfort of our desktop or laptop computer or the convenience of our mobile device.

When we go to a land based casino to practice playing blackjack as part of developing the skill side of the Chance-Skill synergy, we might spend four days there in a long weekend casino excursion.  Four days is probably not enough time to gain the expertise we want.  We then naturally will go to Intertops Casino Red to practice!

Why, then, do we need to travel to learn?

When we travel to a land based casino to practice and learn, we may find that the more affordable blackjack table is full.  We either wait or we are forced to play at a table with a higher minimum bet.  In either case, either our learning curve will suffer or our bankroll might suffer.

When we play online, we can usually play for mere pennies per hand.  Online blackjack is the perfect way to learn the nuances of blackjack at little to no cost.  At Intertops Casino, you can also play in free play mode.

At a land based casino, new blackjack players are often intimidated by other players at the table.  This is especially true when a learning player makes a counter-intuitive play that “causes” another player to lose the hand.  Land based blackjack can be intimidating since most players play fast and by intuition, in the original sense of the term, while the “student” player, learning to turn intuition into automatic response, has to play in a more contemplative manner.

Learn, Study, Practice

Intertops Casino Red welcomes you to our large collection of online blackjack games!  Keep in mind that the best strategy may differ from game to game so always use the correct strategy card.  Then have fun, get lucky, and win!