Despite what we think, it is not recommended to count cards in Blackjack.

    Finding legitimate ways to beat the casino has always been a point of interest and excitement for fans of casino games such as poker and blackjack. Often romanticized in Hollywood blockbusters, many have been inspired by the card-counting abilities of legendary characters like Raymond in the Oscar-winning classic Rain Man or the Kevin Spacey-led group of MIT students in noughties flick 21. However, these glamourous depictions paint over the cracks of the true nature of counting cards in the real world. Despite what we think, there are many reasons why counting cards should be avoided when you next hit the casino.

    It Is Hard

    First and foremost, developing the ability to count cards in blackjack is a complex and time-consuming process that requires a high level of skill and countless hours of practice. Even at the point at which you feel you have effectively learned the ability, transferring this into a noisy and high-pressured environment like a casino is an entirely new thing. Constantly keeping track of the cards in play requires huge amounts of concentration, which is both exhausting and not very fun. Furthermore, any lapse in concentration will lead to mistakes and errors in your strategy, effectively diminishing any potential benefits you may gain from using the technique.

    The Casino Knows

    Casinos across the world are well aware of the technique, and as businesses striving for success, have employed several countermeasures to ensure players cannot utilize this loophole in the game. Major casinos possess advanced surveillance systems on their game floors which are designed to catch those using unethical practices such as counting cards. In addition to this, in-game techniques are employed by dealers such as using multiple decks of cards, frequently shuffling the deck or even using automatic shuffling machines. Dealers are well trained, and able to spot players who are counting cards, either shuffling the deck in response or reporting the player to security. Often, getting caught can result in a total ban from the casino.

    Ethical Considerations

    The simple answer to the question is counting cards illegal? is no, you cannot get arrested for counting cards, however, there are ethical considerations that need to be made as effectively the technique accounts for stealing from the house and is not in keeping with fair and transparent gambling practices. Furthermore, the technique is frowned upon by casinos, and as casinos are private establishments, players must abide by the house rules or risk the consequences. As mentioned, getting caught can result in a total ban from the casino, while any winnings accrued can be refused by the house. Establishing a reputation as a cheat is not a good look and often casinos will share information regarding known card counters ensuring that guilty players are unable to enter other casinos in the area.

    Potential Gains Are Minimal

    Ultimately the main reason why someone might learn to count cards is to swing the game in their favor in order to maximize profits. However, taking a closer look at the statistics behind card counting, it is apparent that the potential gains may not be worth the time and effort required to master the technique. Even if done perfectly, counting cards only provides an edge of around 1% over the house. Is it really worth it for such a small advantage? In reality, people who use the technique reap the benefits very slowly over time and one lapse in concentration can cancel out any gains made in a single round. It is important to consider that like all gambling strategies, card counting is not foolproof and every round you play introduces new variability and risk. The jackpot win is not guaranteed.

    Gambling Is For Leisure

    Just like going to the cinema to see the latest blockbuster release, or heading to a concert to see some amazing live music, going to the casino to play your favorite game should be treated as a form of leisure – not as a stressful chore. Casinos across the world are purpose-built as adult playgrounds designed to entertain guests to the fullest and visitors should take full advantage of what’s on offer. Entering with the purpose of counting cards will distract you from the wealth of fun available, instead, your mind will be transfixed on making sure that you win and even more so, that you don’t get caught. This does not sound fun. Next time, come in with some friends, grab a refreshing drink from the bar, and enjoy the night free of worry.

    Learning how to count cards can be a successful way to gain an advantage over the house and potentially maximize your winnings at the table. However, delving deeper into the technique it is clear that the bright lights of Hollywood blind us from the reality of putting card counting into practice. It is truly a commitment to master the skill, requiring lots of time and energy, and this is before you’ve even entered a casino. Even if you are a natural, once you start playing you will quickly realize that the gains are minimal, especially considering the levels of concentration required and the constant fear of being caught. Eventually, you will get caught and this will not only put an end to your card counting days, but also your casino days in general. This seems a high price to pay for such a small potential reward. The beauty of blackjack is in its simplicity and should be played as such, the next time you play could be your lucky day.

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