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How the Wolf of Wall Street Can Help You Become a Professional Blackjack Player

Mar 27, 2014

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Jordan Belfort’s motivating words of wisdom can teach us a lot about how to be successful in blackjack.

Last year’s smash hit The Wolf of Wall Street told the sensational tale of Jordan Belfort, a sort of modern Jay Gatsby. Forget the Roaring 20s; the wolf takes us into the Roaring 90s, a time when anyone and everyone could become rich by manipulating the unprecedented availability of credit. Just like Gatsby, Belfort is a nobody from humble beginnings who comes to Manhattan, a place where somebody with brains, charisma and good looks can become whoever they want. In a classic American story of rise and fall Belfort gains everything but loses himself in the process.

While our protagonist eventually loses everything and winds up in a prison cell, he can tell us a lot about how to be successful in the world of blackjack. This piece will take some motivational excerpts from Belfort and apply them to blackjack strategy. After all, success in gambling is not all that different from success in business.

Immerse yourself totally in blackjack

“I believe in total immersion, if you want to be rich, you have to program your mind to be rich. You have to unlearn all the thoughts that were making you poor and replace them with new thoughts – rich thoughts.”

If you want to be a professional blackjack player, you have to live like a professional blackjack player. This means reading about blackjack, hanging out with and absorbing knowledge from other players, playing regularly online and in the casino, eating blackjack, drinking blackjack, having dreams about blackjack, thinking about blackjack while you’re in bed with your wife (okay, maybe we are getting a bit carried away here, but you get the idea).

Chance has nothing to do with it

“Successful people are 100% convinced that they are masters of their own destiny, they’re not creatures of circumstance, they create circumstance, if the circumstances around them suck they change them.”

Don’t get caught in the trap of believing that blackjack is a game of luck. It’s a game of skill. Never react emotionally to a good or bad night at the table, never blame the dealer or the casino when you lose. If you go on a losing streak, it’s because you aren’t playing the game properly. Take a deep breath, get back into the laboratory and practice your skills. The only way to win at blackjack is by being really good at blackjack, and that takes practice and dedication.

Be an optimist

“The only thing standing between you and your goal is the bullshit story you keep telling yourself as to why you can’t achieve it.”

Like any game of skill, in order to be successful you must believe in your ability to be successful. Winning at blackjack requires having confidence in your abilities (which comes from countless hours of practice). If you are a pessimist you will react to adverse circumstances in an emotional rather than rational way. You may even, and this is the worst strategy of all, quit after losing a couple of quick hands.

You must believe in your ability to win in order to make rational decisions. You may not win every hand and you may not win every night, but if you are good enough you will win eventually.

Constantly reassess you abilities and work on your skills

“When you do something, you might fail. But that’s not because you’re a failure. It’s because you have not learnt enough. Do it differently each time. One day, you will do it right.”

Nobody does particularly well when they first start playing. This may sound surprising, but losing is a good thing because it motivates you to learn new strategies and techniques. Analyzing where you went wrong can help you figure out how to do things right. If you are struggling as a player consider bringing new strategies into your blackjack style.

One specific example is to learn a card counting system. Knowing how to count cards effectively can reduce the casino’s house edge by up to 2 percent, giving you much better odds at winning. Its takes tons of practice, but consider what Belfort says about failure. Put the time in to learn the skills necessary to improve your abilities. This is how someone goes from failing to succeeding.

Carry yourself like a professional blackjack player

“Act as if you’re a wealthy man, rich already, and then you’ll surely become rich. Act as if you have unmatched confidence and then people will surely have confidence in you.”

When you walk onto the casino floor it is important to look, act and especially feel like a successful professional blackjack player. Wear a suit and tie, groom yourself, put on cologne. Confidently and politely introduce yourself to the dealer and the other players. They will be impressed and will treat you with respect. But more importantly, you will respect yourself more. This will carry over into your play, and doubtlessly you will perform better than if you stumble up to the table unshaven and wearing ketchup-stained sweatpants.

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