Card counting is over-glorified. Sure, it’s thrown around all the time in the gambling community, but you’ll hardly ever see professional players bragging about it. Don’t believe me? Here’s a list of reasons why card counting is a bad idea.
THE PROFIT POTENTIAL IS VERY LOW
There is an almost general misconception that you can make a lot of money by counting cards. This is simply not the case. You won’t make millions. You probably won’t even make thousands. The table below lists the practical win rate when you have a maximum bet of $ 100.
104 $ 12.00 $ 14.25 $ 10.75 $ 13.13
78 $ 16.88 $ 19.75 $ 15.50 $ 18.50
52 $ 23.75 $ 27.25 $ 22.13 $ 25.88
26 $ 34.38 $ 39.25 $ 32.63 $ 37.50
In the case where you find a huge six-deck game that lets players late surrender (LSR) when the dealer is has a Soft17 (S17). The casino is also assumed to be very generous and hands out the cut card from the end of the deck (52 cards). Your win rate is then only $ 27.25 every 100 hands of cards. Usually, game rules dictate that players cannot surrender when the dealer hits Soft-17 (H17) and the cut card is stuck at around 1.5 decks (78 cards). If this is the scenario that plays out, the rate at which you win is only $ 15.50 per 100 hands. At a typical game pace of 60 hands an hour, you will earn less than $ 10 an hour.
You might be happy with $ 10, but that’s for the time you’re actually playing. Your travel time, scouting time and accounting time are not included. Remember to pay your taxes when you win!
THE BANK ROLL fluctuations can be brutal
If you belong to forums where professional card counters share their experiences over periods of months or years, you will regularly hear stories of streaks of bad luck that last for hundreds of hours.
For example, when playing the H17 game mentioned above, after 500 hours of play, about one in six players will only randomly lose. Card counters are often found to have played literally thousands upon thousands of hands to be reasonably happy before the game.
Large losses have a financial and psychological impact. Few start counters appreciate how bad it can get. In short, card counting is not a money machine.
YOU WILL BE CAUGHT
Card counting is old. There are tons of information available about card counting. Card counters are in every casino that offers shoe or hand-handed blackjack. For this reason, precautions and protective measures are taken in every casino where counting may be possible. These precautions typically involve training personnel and management to learn how to recognize meters on site.
I know counters get caught because I teach casino management how to catch counters. It is easy to recognize counters if you know what to look for. And you only need a few hands.
Here are just a few of the signs of card counters that management is looking for:
Hold bets in a wide range of numbers (typically 6-to-1 for double-deck and 10-to-1 for six-deck).
Use insurance when the maximum bet is placed, otherwise no insurance.
Double strongly when the maximum bet is out (e.g. 10 against T / A, 9 against 7).
12 against 4/5/6 or 13 against 2/3 when the minimum bet is out.
Suspend or leave the table after several minimum bets
Play alone, not rated play and don’t drink alcohol.
If you want to maintain your ability to count cards, you have to learn to disguise your game. Add these points to your to-learn list.
AFTER YOU GET CAUGHT YOUR PICTURE WILL BE PUBLISHED
If you are a card counter then you will be caught pretty quickly. It’s just too easy. If that happens, the casino will likely take several high-resolution pictures of you to distribute. When I was a counter, there were cameras that recorded on VCR VCRs and pixel images of suspected card counters were faxed to neighboring casinos. Now your multi-megabyte images, along with details about your game and all other available information , will be shared on subscription websites like the Oregon Surveillance Network or services like Biometrica . This will make it even easier for future casinos to pick you up and kick you out.
Blackjack’s basic strategy and card counting are difficult skills to master. Even if everything is correct, the profitability of card counting is small, while the fluctuations can be very strong. You won’t be able to play in a casino for long until you get caught. So get ready for a lot of traveling and scouting. As soon as you are exposed, your picture will be publicly distributed and your game options will be limited.
I’ve been involved in casino protection for over a decade and I can tell you with absolute certainty that the people who beat casinos for real money are not card counters. Blackjack card counting is at the bottom of the list when it comes to the different ways to beat casino games. If your goal is to play at a casino advantage, there are much quicker and easier ways to learn than blackjack card counting.