Should You Learn To Count?

Counting cards. The glamour, the riches, the fame! There are massive amounts of presumptions, rumors, and lies associated with card counters. Thanks to Hollywood and second-hand stories, there are all kinds of myths surrounding card counting. Before debunking these myths, let’s differentiate a card counter from an average Blackjack player.

The Advantage Player

If you are a card counter you are an Advantage Player. An Advantage Player (AP) is in a completely different category than your average gambler, because they have put themselves in a circumstance to have a statistical edge, albeit a small one, over the house. Card counting is an avenue to gain that edge. Being an AP is a serious task and once you cross that line, you are no longer playing, you are working. As any AP will tell you, card counting does not give you a major edge, just an edge. And a small edge means that over time, you will theoretically win more than you lose. “Over time” is the key phrase here. Because the edge is small, the card counter must play as many hands as she can, to exploit and profit from her edge. It’s a long haul thing. So you will often hear card counters talk about maximizing their exposure to the upside by playing 50-80 hours a week. Like I said, you’re no longer playing, you’re working.

Living On The EDGE

Now don’t get discouraged! That small edge may be small, but it’s real and it’s incredibly exciting. Just think about all the games and all the gamblers in a casino. What could be more thrilling than knowing that out of all those suckers you’re the only one who actually has the skill to beat the house? And this I can guarantee you: once you are counting, you do have a mathematical edge that will bring you profit over time. It’s just a matter of learning the skill.

Ok, let’s bust some myths!

You have to be a math genius to learn to count.

Nope, a 2nd grader has the math knowledge required to learn to count. If you can mentally keep track of a number that only ever changes by 1 while playing the game, you've got the mental prowess required.

Casinos send mob bosses to beat the shit out of you if you get

Wrong again. They’ll tell you in no uncertain terms to fuck off, but those mob days are over.

Card counting is easy money!

WRONG. Maybe after you’ve mastered the technique thoroughly but it takes dedication and tons of practice to learn. Again, not because the math is hard, it’s because you have to focus on a lot of different factors while trying not to get distracted.

Card Counting is illegal.

There’s nothing illegal about card counting and casinos know this. They can kick you out and that’s it. In fact, it's not even against the rules of the game! Afterall, you're not using anything but your brain to pull this off.

You have to be an expert actor to deceive the casino!

Not true. Focus on learning the technique until it’s so rock solid and you don’t have to think about it. And if you keep getting kicked out of casinos… then maybe it’s time to work on your discretion. But hey, it’s not a bad problem to have. If you’re getting kicked out it’s because you’re winning!

Start studying, and start experimenting!

Good luck!

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