Blackjack card counting is the stuff of legend because skilled players have used this practice to make thousands or even millions of dollars. The MIT Blackjack Team even made a profitable multi-million dollar business out of card counting! Obviously it’s hard to replicate this type of success, but that’s not to say it is impossible for you to be a good card counter. If you’re interested in taking up the practice, here are some tips that will help you get started.
Choose the Appropriate Card Counting System
Some blackjack players start off the wrong way with card counting by picking the wrong system. This being said, it’s highly important that you choose a card counting system that fits your abilities. For example, the KO and Hi-Lo systems are both great for beginners since they’re a little less complex than others. As you gain more skill and confidence with blackjack card counting, you can graduate to the more advanced systems.
Start off at Low Stakes
The idea behind card counting is to make big bets when the count is in your favor. However, it’s unwise to jump onto $25 minimum bet tables when you’ve just started as a counter. So the smart decision is to start with $5 blackjack tables (or lower if you can find them), and hone your skills here. Once you feel as if you’ve mastered low stakes card counting, you can move up to the higher stakes.
Keep an Adequate Bankroll
Many novice card counters have no idea just how much money it initially takes to survive the variance of card counting. But considering the fact that you’ll suffer through plenty of losing sessions as a card counter, you need to have at least $20,000 to properly start counting at the higher stakes. The reasoning behind having so much money is that you never know where luck will take your bankroll – even with great card counting skills.
It’s important not to forget here that card counting is a skill, and your profits will largely depend on your mastery of counting. About the highest possible edge a counter can expect to realistically achieve is 2%, which isn’t exactly a huge edge. But if you play enough hands and make enough big bets, this could add up to a lot of money. However, you need to practice a lot to reach this point. Some of the best things to do include dealing to yourself while counting, standing off to the side at casinos and counting (so you don’t spend money), and having friends deal to you while counting. The more hours you put into this, the more successful you’ll ultimately be.