Card counting – written to a friend in 2008
The public know nothing about card-counting but think that it is incredibly
difficult to learn, but once known, then winning is easy. How would they know?
That is just plain stupid. In fact, card-counting is ridiculously easy to
learn, it's the winning that is the hard part. Any fool can count cards and
most card-counters are fools. Card-counting is just ONE of the things needed to
win. I've known a few counters who went broke simply because they failed to
understand that there is more to it than just counting.
It takes large capital to make any serious money and it is a real grind, a
really slow, boring, bloody job. Losses can be extremely high sometimes,
particularly those times when one's big bets keep getting thrashed and
thrashed. In a matter of minutes I once lost 13 $500 bets in a row (the
card-count was gigantic all the time, but I still lost every hand!). Most people
can't handle such losses, either financially or mentally, and that includes
some card-counters who have no understanding of just how bad some losing
streaks can be.
The game these days is very tough with 8 decks, restricted rules, and heat from
the management and monitoring and filming of counters. Also, some have
automatic shuffling machines which negate counting. If today's blackjack game
had been around in 1973 when I started I would not have bothered with
I am saying these things as a warning for a few reasons:
- to show that card-counting is now a dinosaur – it's history.
- to emphasise how difficult it is to win, and that it takes a lot of capital
to win more than peanuts. Frankly, I would not walk into a blackjack game, at
rock-bottom, with less than $15,000 in my pocket, actually in my pocket I mean,
not in the bank, (just to play a $50 table).
- assume that a high card-count initiates a large bet and raises high
expectation of a win. If this bet fails to win a player can easily be trapped
into thinking it is due to win within a hand or two and so makes even larger
bets. If this continues to lose the player may start chasing his losses which
can easily cause a financial disaster and a gambling addiction.
- that there is a vast amount of useful knowledge and information about the
game at large that needs to be acquired from books, computer programs, and
experience. (see attached photograph of
my blackjack library – my actual BJ
study material would be 10 times greater).