Card counting, contrary to what may have been depicted in popular movies, is a complex skill that takes practice to master. While technically not illegal, casinos frown upon this strategy and employ countermeasures against skilled card counters.
Basic card counting involves keeping track of only high cards (Aces and 10s), while disregarding low cards (2s through 6s). Advanced counts distinguish card values to increase accuracy.
Card counting has long been romanticized in movies, television shows and books. Unfortunately, most people have an inaccurate perception of what card counting actually is and how it works. Although counting cards is legal and it does work in some blackjack games, beating casinos with single card counters alone is unlikely. Instead, most card counters work as part of teams with limited advantage against them.
Myth #2 – Counting cards requires photographic memory. Card counting strategies differ widely, but the basic concept involves keeping a running total of the number of high value (10s, face cards and Aces) relative to low value (2 through 6) cards dealt. You assign each new card a value; 2-6 receive an addition and 7 and Ace receive subtraction; then you add or subtract values in your head as cards are played – providing insight into likely positive outcomes such as winning hands or blackjacks.
Card counting requires more than mental math; you also must remember correct play strategy for every game under normal conditions, then remember when to deviate based on the card count. This process can be very taxing on players’ minds; which explains why so many quit trying it in frustration. Also, making money through card counting requires having enough capital available in your bankroll to cover short-term losses that will come about from time to time.
Myth #3 – Card Counting Requires Wealth.
Card counting can seem intimidating at first, with its many misconceptions and preconceptions surrounding its practice. Although having enough cash on hand to cover losses is important, you don’t need a large bankroll from day one to get started; many counters begin by betting small sums at first and gradually increase bet sizes as their skills develop further. Counters also plan their betting amounts according to expected short-term losses so as to maximize chances of success and mitigate against short term losses by managing their bet sizes appropriately.
Myth #4 – Casinos Know and Harass Card Counters
While casinos may be aware of card counting, they generally don’t take much notice of it. In Las Vegas and a few other gambling jurisdictions they can ask you to leave if they suspect card counting; otherwise in most places casinos cannot do anything against you until there is evidence against you breaking the law.
Myth #5 – Card counters must be fast to be successful.
In reality, speed of card counting is less of an important factor than keeping an accurate running count of cards being counted – most blackjack card counting systems require you to keep pace with the dealer which can be very challenging; but with practiced skills you can learn to beat the house at blackjack through card counting!