Thought Leadership

Four Lessons Blackjack Can Teach You About Business

The game of Blackjack is synonymous with the casino. It is a simple game of cards that uses skill and mastery. While we often perceive it as fun and a quick way to make an easy buck, the game is packed with lessons that can help every entrepreneur can benefit from. Here are a few that we think are imperative for anyone in the business world.


Lesson 1: Develop a Strategy


A strategy is essential in any endeavour one undertakes. In the 1960s, Ed Thorp, a renowned Investor, Blackjack Researcher and Mathematics Professor developed a brilliant game strategy. The first part comprised telling the player when to hit, stand or double down based on the cards dealt, the dealer’s card and the remaining components of the cards yet to be played.


Simultaneously, the second part focused on scaling the bet based on the cards previously dealt and the number of cards yet to be drawn. The original strategy is no longer valid because of the implementation of new rules. But it can still be utilized as a business lesson.


As an entrepreneur or a leader, forecasting and planning are crucial to the success of the business. It is imperative to plan for the future years of your business, strategize how to scale it and keep improvising the strategy with time. It would be best if you also devised contingency plans for situations that may arise in the future. ‘We’ll figure it out when we get there’ might be a risky proposition.


Lesson 2 – The Psychological Component


Mental resilience is one of the hardest lessons to learn. It is a game of luck and skill, and therefore, there might be several adverse outcomes before turning around the corner to experience sunshine. It’s nerve-racking and soon becomes tough to make big bets during losing steaks. But you have to trust the process and your expertise and use it to your advantage and be positive that it will come to fruition.


Like in the game, it is vital to develop mental resilience in business. When you start a business, it’s almost certain that there will be months where the company endures losses and takes time to pick up. You may have prolonged periods of stress, anxiety and fear that could make you question your decision of diving into business. During these testing times, it’s mental resilience that will help you pull yourself out of self-doubt and stay aggressively focussed on the goals and dreams that fuel your fire.


Lesson 3: Knowing when to walk away


If you get into a game of blackjack 100% convinced you are going to walk away wealthy, you’re in for a rough ride. If you approach the game of blackjack under the assumption you’ll turn even the most minor profit; you’re opening the door to disaster.


The game of blackjack teaches us an invaluable lesson, knowing when it’s time to walk away. Part of self-control is knowing when to call it quits in blackjack and business. There are times when persistence is critical, like the point above states. However, there are also instances where you need to accept that no more time, energy or money poured into something will yield you a good return.


Lesson 4: Be prepared for the unexpected

We all know the winning hand in the game is 21. Now, if you could have 18 on every hand at the blackjack table, would you accept the deal? The correct answer is no. A hand of 18 is more likely to lose than win. The devil is in the details; we usually understand the game’s basic principles but do not go to study the intricate details of the game.


Being prepared for the unexpected is critical if you want to succeed in blackjack and life. Stay alert and prepared for twists and blocks in the road. Things don’t always go as planned, and how you react when they go astray can significantly impact your ability to excel at the blackjack table and beyond.


In conclusion, the game of Blackjack is much like doing business and betting on innovation. As Henry Petroski, American Engineer said, “Betting on the success of innovative technologies in the marketplace can carry all the uncertainty and risk that betting on the next card in the deck does at a blackjack table in Las Vegas. There is a factor of randomness that must be factored in, but precisely how to do so is anyone’s guess.”