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Is Counting Cards a Skill Worth Learning?

1,356 Views 5 days ago

Counting Cards

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Card counting is something that I have always thought about learning and wanted to try as a way of reducing the house edge and improving my chances of winning when I play my favourite card variants like blackjack and poker, but the more I’ve learned, the less convinced I am.

I still agree that card counting is a skill worth learning, but it only gives you a slight advantage over the house. It’s super difficult to learn, especially if you have a terrible memory like me, and this strategy doesn’t always guarantee you will win.

Card counting is an age-old practice that has successfully worked for some people, and it essentially involves keeping a mental note of the cards that have already been dealt, which gives you a much better idea of which cards remain in the deck and must still be dealt.

I never play poker or blackjack at land-based venues, where card counting is more effective. I only play computer-generated and live dealer online blackjack and poker from my smartphone on my favourite sites, where card counting skills are effectively useless.

Therefore, players like me who only play this kind of digital content on licensed and regulated websites that are legally permitted to offer poker and blackjack from award-winning software providers shouldn’t waste their time learning how to count cards because it won’t help or improve your chances of winning.

Let’s dive in and take a closer look at why I think that although card counting is a great skill worth learning, it won’t get you far when playing online.

For those of you who are learning how to count cards and want to try your newfound skill online, you can choose a poker site here, although I don’t think it will work as well as you think it might.

Should I learn how to count cards to play poker or blackjack?

Yes and no.

For example, if you decide to play blackjack or poker at a land-based venue where you think you have found a table with an inexperienced croupier and where the ‘eye in the sky’ isn’t monitoring your every move, then yes, learning to count cards and then applying that strategy in a subtle and discreet way is worth trying, even if it’s only to test the waters and to see how things go.

However, I would still never recommend doing it.

Although it isn’t illegal to count cards, pretty much every venue you find will heavily frown upon this practice and will do everything they can to stop people from trying to ‘cheat’ them out of money.

In other words, if you are caught counting cards, you will most likely be ejected from the building and then banned from that casino.

They may even pass your details on to the surrounding venues in the local vicinity, meaning you will be refused entry into other places, too, just because you were caught trying to count cards.

What I’m trying to say is that this particular blackjack/poker strategy of card counting simply isn’t worth it.

I’ve seen countless Hollywood movies where people count cards and fleece the house for millions of dollars, which got me interested in the subject in the first place, and you may have seen a few too, but in reality, what you see in the movies hardly ever happens in real life.

Many seasoned pros I’ve spoken to who have become sufficient at counting cards agree when I say that card counting isn’t worth the hassle.

Reasons why not to count cards

Instead of listing some of the reasons why you should learn to count cards, here are some of the main reasons why I don’t think you should bother learning this classic skill that only a handful of people have truly mastered:

  • Card counting is essentially ineffective when playing online poker or blackjack and impossible when playing computer-generated card variants
  • Counting cards at land-based venues can land you in hot water with the owners. If you get caught at places controlled by dodgy owners in foreign countries, the consequences could be worse than just being ejected from the building. Your picture will be shared with local venues, and you will effectively have a target on your back
  • Card counting is an extremely difficult skill to learn that takes years to truly master and is only worth attempting if you have a naturally excellent memory
  • After learning how to count cards, applying this strategy is not as easy as it sounds. Don’t forget, you can’t make it obvious that you’re counting cards and trying to cheat their system. In other words, this strategy is about more than just counting cards
  • You aren’t always guaranteed to win hands when counting cards, and therefore, the bankroll swings can be brutal
  • The potential for profit is actually quite low unless you are playing at the high-stakes tables or spending hours playing at the low-stakes tables to win small amounts over a prolonged period, which can be risky
  • To be a pro card counter, you couldn’t return to the same venue daily. It would involve travelling to many places, which means spending money on transport and accommodation

If you still want to learn how to count cards after everything I’ve mentioned above, good luck to you. It’s not for everyone, and although only a few card counters have truly become successful, you might just have what it takes.

Don’t forget that you won’t need to learn this skill for playing blackjack or poker online because it won’t work. Instead, I’ve found several other proven and reliable strategies that you may like to try, such as bankroll management and responsible gambling practices.

Setting things like deposit limits, win/loss limits, session time reminders, and spending caps go a long way and are far more effective than any card counting skills.

I strongly believe that simple things like gambling responsibly, understanding the rules, the different bet types, RTP% payout rates, odds, and implied probability rates are the best way to give yourself an edge over any online poker and blackjack site today instead of card counting strategies.


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