You’ve probably met some interesting people if you’ve ever played blackjack in a live setting. Blackjack players are a unique breed, and not just because of the game they like. Although blackjack is played on a table, players only face off against the casino itself. Blackjack is distinct from other card and table games in that it necessitates a high level of strategy and abstract thought to play well.
To sum up, those who enjoy the game of blackjack tend to have bold characters. Every casino blackjack player I’ve met falls into one of these five types, in my experience.
The Extroverted Flutterby
The party-loving Social Butterfly is just here to have a good time. They typically have limited funds, limited knowledge of the game, and no real goals in terms of strategy or victory. Most people who play blackjack fit under this category, in my opinion. That’s just OK; no harm intended.
You’ll note that this type of player routinely makes decisions based on intuition. They might appreciate you with the strategy card, but they probably wouldn’t know what to do with it. The guy who makes small talk with everyone at the table while hitting a soft 17 is the social butterfly. He probably used to work in a meat processing facility. Players with the Social Butterfly archetype frequently split pots and fail to draw frequently enough when the odds are in their favor.
Having a handful of these people at your table will help you immensely. They keep the bartenders and owners happy with their sloppy play and large tips, promote excessive drinking, and keep the good times rolling. They pose no threat unless you let yourself be distracted by their loud behavior.
The math genius’s presence in the casino can be seen as a noble hobby. Either he’s a super-genius who just happened to end himself in Sin City for a bachelor party, or he’s on the fast track to a career as a professional gambler or card counter. The only mathematician who plays blackjack is the dealer.
In my experience, genuine mathematicians make up less than 10% of blackjack players. These players have a basic understanding of the sport at best and rely on data to determine their moves. They undoubtedly know basic blackjack technique, and a surprising percentage of them will double down on their wins in honor of the Martingale System.
Having one of these guys at my dinner party makes me uncomfortable. They tend to take their time, thinking about the game and the dealer’s up card. Worse, they rarely seem friendly enough for my liking.
Despite their best efforts to avoid it, Nervous Nelly has entered the gambling establishment. You can spot a Nervous Nelly a mile away because they are awkward, have bulging eyes, appear overwhelmed, and may even be perspiring. They’re not feeling very confident as they approach the table clutching a handful of dollars.
There are almost as many introverted introverts as outgoing extroverts. I think most people that fit the Butterfly archetype started out as Nervous Nellies, unable to play and afraid to seek for help. They know little to nothing about blackjack or casino gaming in general. They’re probably at the blackjack table by fluke, or because it’s the only casino game they’re familiar with.
Newcomers need our patience. Back when I first started gambling, I was as tense as any of the Nellies I’ve played next to. The key is to “raise them up,” if you will. Brief them on the norms and procedures of the game. Explain the fundamentals of winning to them. Direct them to a good blackjack game trainer or article for further information. I’m a firm believer that if you teach someone the ropes of the game, it will pay dividends in the form of a few extra rounds on your next winning streak.
Card Counter, Novice
The amateur card counter’s goal in the casino is to demonstrate or hone her mental edge over the house. Depending on her skill, she might not even win very much at the casino, and she is not part of any organized organization that is trying to cheat the establishment. But she’s focused entirely on that one objective, and that singularity is the key to identifying her as a player.
Beginner card counters have the ability to keep track of their card totals and make necessary adjustments to their betting strategy. If I had to guess, I’d say you’re up against a professional counter perhaps once in a thousand times. They have to use it frequently or risk losing it, so if you meet an amateur counter once, you might run into her again.
Playing with a player like that is a pain in my experience. As I noted before, they significantly slow down the pace of the game. Neither do they have the self-assurance nor the patience to strike up a discussion with you or the dealer while they work. They add to the monotony of the table by consistently splitting their pots during their session.
Master Card Counter
Only a tiny percentage of casino patrons are actual experts. Most people lack the focus, effort, devotion, and discipline needed to play blackjack at a professional or even semi-professional level. Professional blackjack players consistently gain more than they lose.
Sometimes, the one telltale sign of a pro is that he seems to win more often than he loses. He is the most knowledgeable person in the room regarding the casino, the game, and possibly even the dealer at your table. They usually just play for an hour or so at a time. They go with minimal fanfare and quickly disappear. Blackjack players who are good at the game typically prefer to remain anonymous.
All five of the aforementioned archetypes have both positive and bad features. Table games would be dull without the Social Butterflies in this world. It’s the Nervous Nellies’ job to quiz us on the rules of the game and remind us of the importance of proper behavior. Each of the aforementioned figures is valuable in their own right. Look around the table at the other players the next time you’re playing blackjack. At any one time, you’ll have at least one representative of the aforementioned types on the field with you.