Can You Make Money from Card Counting?

Card counting is an advantage gambling technique used to win in blackjack. The theory of card counting is that high cards - 10 to ace - benefit the player and low cards benefit the dealer or house. By counting cards, the player can know what type of cards predominate in the unused portion of a deck or decks. If it is good for the player, they will wager more; if it is good for the house, they will bet less.

Many blackjack fans get excited about card counting when they first discover it. They think it is easy to make money this way. Yet the reality is that card counting just isn't an easy road to riches as its proponents claim. Before you consider becoming a professional card counter, pay attention to what follows.

Card counting, in fact, is rather overrated. There might have been a time when it was possible to make money from it, but we are talking about way back when single decks were still being used. Ever since Professor Edward Thorp made public his card counting techniques, casinos have sought ways to neutralize this threat to their income. Today casinos know a lot better and it is very difficult now to beat the house through card counting.

Casinos train their dealers, floormen and pit bosses to deal with card counters. Dealers may learn card counting so they can perform what is called preferential shuffling just when the card counter has the advantage. Or else the dealer may just watch how the player bets; when their wagers increase the dealer will shuffle the deck(s).

A pit boss is also quite adept at spotting card counting experts. Several measures can be taken to deal with these pests, including distracting the player, adding more decks, telling the dealer to shuffle at inopportune times, or even ask the card counter to leave the blackjack table. Casinos will do anything to keep away people who can consistently make money in their games.

An expert in card counting already has enough of a challenge counting the cards in a noisy casino. When you add to this the trouble of having to hide what you are doing from the casino staff, it can easily erode the 1-1.5% advantage you can have from this technique. So even if you do make money, is it worth all the trouble? You be the judge.

If there are people who easily make money from card counting, it's the authors and lecturers on card counting. These writers, speakers and merchants make more money from writing about card counting than actually doing it.