Blackjack – or any card game, really – isn’t exactly known for being a team sport. People are usually surprised to hear that I’m part of an organized and tight-knit Blackjack crew. I don’t blame them: a lot of people see gambling (especially professional gambling) as a lonely job. People are used to seeing lonewolves beating the entire table and taking home all that filthy lucre for themselves.
While there’s a lot of truth to that scenario, if you want to thrive as a professional gambler, you will need to be part of a team. If you’ve watched Holy Rollers: The True Story of Card Counting Christians, you will understand the importance of card counting teams. Here’s the blurb of the documentary:
Holy Rollers follows the rise of the Church Team, arguably the largest and most well-funded blackjack team in America. No one expected a group of Christians to be in the business of card counting. In their short existence, they take millions from casinos.
I’ll be covering some of the advantages of being part of a Blackjack team in a bit. But generally, having teammates can give you added information, a larger bankroll, and some good old camaraderie. Being part of a Blackjack team rules! But this is a two-way street. A few things will be expected of you, of course. I’ll be covering those expectations later, as well.
How to Find and Join a Blackjack Team
To join a Blackjack team, you first have to find one. And there’s really no standard way to go about this – you don’t go on Facebook and look for teams, then ask them if you can join. But having said that, scoping out teams on social media is a great way to know what teams are playing in your area. But to be honest, if you play often enough, it’s inevitable that you will find other players who are part of teams. So the best way to find Blackjack teams is just to play as often as you can. Chatting up other players between hands is also useful.
Once you find a team, you can’t just ask them if you can join. In my experience, you usually have to get invited to join. Most Blackjack teams are super tight knit, since Blackjack team play involves card counting. And since card counting isn’t allowed in casinos, teams are naturally mum about how they operate. To get invited to join, you have to win their trust and friendship first. It isn’t as hard as it seems. All you have to do is hang out with them a lot, and offer help whenever you can.
Why Should I Join a Blackjack Team?
Here are some of the advantages of being part of a Blackjack team:
This one is a no-brainer. When you play alone, you only have your own funds to play with. But when you’re with two or more other players, suddenly, everyone’s bankroll is bigger. This lessens the risk a bit. Of course, a shared bankroll also means shared winnings.
It’s Easier to Beat Variance
You can play the perfect, most mathematically-sound game possible, but you will never beat variance. The only way to beat variance is to play, and play a lot. When you play with a team, everyone’s chances of beating variance is multiplied by the number of players in the team.
I’ve already mentioned that gambling is a lonely profession. But it’s always good to have a crew you can depend on, win or lose. It’s great to have people you can drink with, whether it’s to celebrate a win, or grieve over a loss.
What Will be Expected of You
Of course, being part of a Blackjack team is give and take. You gotta put in as much as you get out of it.
I mentioned sharing winnings a while ago. And that’s why every member of a team has to be trustworthy. This includes being upfront about their own performance, winnings, and loses. A team could be comprised of brilliant players, but if they’re shady or outright dishonest, the team will fall apart. And that’s why I think trustworthiness is more valuable than skill when it comes to assembling a Blackjack team.
This involves the way the night’s winnings will be split. Splitting the winnings evenly sounds good in theory, but that will be a surefire way to build resentment from some of the better-performing players. To avoid that, encourage fairness. A players’ share in winnings should be proportionate to their performance that night. This is also a great way to encourage players to always bring their A-game to the table at all times.
Everyone goes through their ups and downs. And the world of professional gambling has a way of amplifying those ups and downs. Good days are better, and bad days are worse when you’re a professional Blackjack player. Most of us won’t have it any other way, of course. Many of us are addicted to that rush. But when things are going badly for another player, always be ready to offer some encouragement, whether in the form of some kind words, or some extra cash to replenish their bankroll.
How to Start Your Own Blackjack Team
If you can’t find a Blackjack team to join, that’s okay. Maybe you just don’t mesh with existing players, or the chemistry isn’t there. It’s best not to force it. Instead, you can start your own team. To do this, gather several of your friends who aren’t unaffiliated with other teams, and agree on the rules of your team. And that’s it, really. You don’t have to register or whatever. Teams are usually just a bunch of players who all agree to work towards a common goal.
But do remember, that calling yourself a team isn’t a guarantee that you will all stick together. While it’s natural for players to come and go, it’s your job as the team’s founder to make sure everyone’s needs are met. That is essential to maintaining the overall health of your Blackjack team.