The Life of a Pro Card Counter

Card Counting is not as hard as you might think and if you are a Texas Hold em poker player looking for new challenges, maybe Blackjack can be the thing for you!

There is a mystique surrounding professional blackjack and card counting that basically means that nearly all people believe that if you know a card counting system then you will automatically make money playing blackjack. This is similar in principle and identical to poker players thinking that they have cracked the game simply because they can play poker hands well. Well guess what, most players can play poker hands well once they reach a certain level of play. But to play professional poker involves so many factors that novices are simply not aware of.

This is identical to professional blackjack and if all you have behind you is knowledge of card counting and basic strategy then you will fail and it’s as simple as that. I am speaking from experience here because I spent nearly nine years working as a croupier and also four years playing blackjack in two separate teams. Any professional blackjack player must learn to not only find profitable games but also to find ways to get the money across the table without it attracting heat.

All this of course is assuming that you even have the bankroll to play professionally and most players simply do not. I have also encountered many players who simply had no idea of variance and what that actually means to a blackjack player. This misconception was seen by me when I worked in gaming because it was seen by many people that card counters and the edge that they had was so crushing that they would simple walk into the casino and empty the float.

Well anyone who is remotely knowledgeable about card counting knows that this is simply not the case at all. If you are playing with poor game conditions and by that I am referring to slow dealers and poor penetration or casinos that are dealing six decks and not four then you could be finding that you could be recycling money. With all successful players then there are usually periods where the game seems so tough that you just basically wonder whether you should be even playing the game at all.

In my opinion casinos need card counters because it creates the impression that anyone has the capability to beat blackjack. This is true on a technical level but misleading as well. The level of work and dedication is so severe that in my experience probably about 99% of all card counters fail to make money. The game can become extremely demoralising when you are having to travel long distances to casinos only to find poor playing conditions. In my experience I would never advise anyone to play blackjack for a living these days. Anyone who asked me the best way to make a living would be told to play online poker and not blackjack. Don’t get me wrong here, making money from land based casinos gives you an incredible thrill and far better than online poker but online poker is certainly where the easier money is.

One Response to “The Life of a Pro Card Counter”

  • Salmon says:

    I agree that it would be difficult to play blackjack for a living. While you could possibly count cards and try to make a living, eventually you’ll get caught. I’ve left with a profit almost every time that I’ve sat down to play the game, but not enough of a profit to make a career out of it.

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