We all know that poker affords you a plethora of transferable skills.
Whether it’s maintaining a straight face when faced with an unpleasant situation or knowing how much potential value a proposition offers, poker has the ability to enhance your skills in a number of arenas.
However, for all the searching players often do when it comes to mediums where they can apply their skills away from the table, there’s actually a lot of value looking closer to home. Poker and casino games such as blackjack or roulette actually offer a lot in terms of opportunities for proficient poker players.
For those embedded in the industry you’ll have seen the ongoing alignment of casino and poker over the last 12 months. As global operators such as 32Red Casino look to consolidate their assets in order to appeal to larger demographics, poker and casino have been pushed closer together.
Embracing Industry Consolidation
Indeed, when you log into 32Red today you’ll find a variety of blackjack variants offering a range of gaming conditions. From Atlantic City rules to multi-hand games, it’s possible to race to 21 in a host of way and what’s even better is that each game is just a few clicks away from the poker portal.
In fact, this isn’t the case at 32Red alone. Whether you’re inside Full Tilt, Coral, BetVictor or Party, you can now move effortlessly from the poker tables to the blackjack tables in just a few clicks. OK, that’s great, but why should that interest me?
Well, as the iGaming industry continues to consolidate and operators create more connections between their gaming products, it will become easier for you to diversify your portfolio and boost your EV. As we’ve already said, poker primes you for success in a number of disciplines and nowhere is that more apparent than in the casino arena.
So long as you’ve managed to nail the basics of basic poker strategy, you can use your knowledge to increase your EV in a variety of games; not least, blackjack. Still not convinced? OK, here’s a list of poker skills you can use to boost your EV at the blackjack tables:
Reading Your Opponent
One of the most important skills a poker player can acquire, especially if they play in the live arena, is an ability to read an opponent. Using a combination of bet sizing and physical tells you can start to get an insight into the types of hand your opponent might be holding.
For example, let’s say you were playing at Melbourne’s Crown Casino and you’re opponent (which may possibly be Cristiano Ronaldo) always tipped their head to the right and put in a half pot bet on the river when they had a monster. Noticing these tells can save you a lot of chips in the long as you’ll have a much better idea of their hand and, therefore, how to play against it.
The same skill can also be applied at the blackjack table. Although your hand should guide the bulk of your play, the dealer’s up card is also important. For example, if you’re able to spot that the dealer is weak (i.e. holding a 4, 5, or 6), then you can stand on totals you possible wouldn’t have before (i.e. 12 or 13). Conversely, if you read the dealer as strong (holding a ten), then you would be within your rights to make bold moves that might otherwise we be deemed too risky.
Only by reading the dealer as you would a player at the poker table could you come to these conclusions achieve better results in the casino arena.
Another fundamental poker skill you can use to enhance your blackjack bets is an understanding of variance and expectation. Teaching a novice that it’s always best to hit on 15 when the dealer is showing a ten or that they should stand on 12 when the dealer is showing a six can be tricky because they often focus on the short-term.
In certain situations these moves won’t yield the result the player is hoping for and they will instantly dismiss them as mistakes. However, what they are failing to understand is that the right moves won’t always yield the right result. Fortunately, as a seasoned poker player you should have an acute awareness of this concept.
For example, when Aussie WSOP Main Event winner Joe Hachem played 7-3 against Steve Dannenmann’s A-3 it would have been the latter who expected to win the majority of the time in a straight race. However, thanks to the unpredictability of poker and the variance present within the game, Hachem’s inferior pre-flop hand went on to win.
This scenario is one that’s repeated countless times in poker, but it doesn’t mean Dannenmann shouldn’t have played A-3. According to the odds his hand would have won more than 60% of the time and, therefore, if he was to take on 7-3 100 times he would walk away with a profit.
Enhance Your iGaming EV
Only once you’re able to embrace this concept and accept it can you then learn to make the best moves possible. As a poker player you’ll already have the skill and that means you’ll be able to make textbook blackjack moves without regret or hesitation.
As the iGaming industry becomes less fractured and more of a homogenous unit it will become easier to transfer your poker skills from game-to-game, so why not start now by anteing up at the blackjack in-between poker sessions.
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