A Colorado College-led study states that you can easily win at blackjack by looking at your opponent’s gaze. Blackjack players with high-value cards tend to look quickly to the right while those with lower-value cars do it to the left.

The researchers assert that this may only be used by pros. Amateurs may not be good at using this trick. Therefore, good training on black jack is still advised to successfully rely on an opponent’s gaze patterns.

The study is published on May 12 in the journal Psychonomic Bulletin & Review. It involved analyzing 58 blackjack players.


Looking at your opponent’s gaze may help you win at blackjack. Credit: Scott Nazelrod/Wikimedia

Together with colleagues from Emory University, the team used a computerized version of blackjack. The players were given with new card in succession at the center of the computer screen.

These participants had to decide if they want to stick with their cards or discard a card. This choice can only be done successfully if the player is able to mentally add the values of the cards.

While playing, the research team looked at the directions the players moved their gaze while calculating mentally. It turned out that a participant’s spontaneous eye movements can indicate the total value of the cards they were holding.

The blackjack players were more likely to look to the left side of the screen when their cards are low value. On the other hand, those with higher-value hands tend to look to the right side.

These involuntary movements were based on the total value of the cards. The number of cards at hand did not influence these behaviors. Neither did the value of the previously dealt card.

Still, this may be more helpful to trained players. Meanwhile, observers may not be able to detect what the players do.

“Whether our findings will help blackjack players in real life still has to be investigated,” says lead researcher Kevin Holmes from Colorado College. “The relatively small differences in absolute gaze position we found here may be undetectable to the naïve observer.”