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Experts explain why you should not count cards when playing

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Card counting might seem like a guaranteed way to beat the casino. Who doesn’t want to beat the casino anyway? Hollywood and many shows have depicted card counting as a macho move to get some big wins and beat the casino. 


It’s not as easy as you think, and many people advise against it. Let’s look into why you should not count cards when playing as explained by many experts in the industry.

It’s Not Easy As You Think

Ok, let’s get this straight; counting cards is not easy. You may be hyped about learning to count cards based on many casino movies, but it's quite difficult. You need a good knowledge of maths, and timing, and perform the necessary calculations at a moment’s notice, all while making sure you aren’t being noticed. 


Let’s look at the basics of card counting. The aim is to find out when the decks are in your favour by assigning a count of 1,0,-1 to the cards when they’re dealt. The counts are:


Card Value






10, J, K, Q, A



You’re supposed to keep a running count each time the cars are dealt, then divide it by the number of remaining decks to get the “true count”. This true count serves as a basis to adjust your betting sizes and strategy to ensure everything goes in your favor.


This is theoretically easier to do than actually doing it in a casino. In the heat of the battle, counting cards and making the necessary calculations to find the true value can be a bit more difficult than you think. Still, some people have certainly mastered the art – it just takes a head for numbers, and for fast-moving scenarios. 

Counting Doesn’t Equal to Big Wins

As seen in many Hollywood movies, you might think that counting cards means big wins. Yes, it's true that accurately counting cards can reduce the house edge to zero, or in many cases, give you a small edge, but the big question is: is it all worth it?


When you run the numbers, you only have a 1-2% advantage when you count cards accurately, which means that card counting only gives you a small advantage over the casino. And when you consider the amount of time you’ve spent and the mental strain associated with it, think once again.

The Casino Always Watches You

You might have seen many casino scenes in movies and shows about how there is a separate room for casino managers to look into what’s happening within the casino and how each table performs. They often come with strict, angry mob bosses and pretty large screens tracking your every movement.


Well, even though not as dramatic as in movies, casinos do have a watchful eye towards all your movements. They use surveillance technology and trained work staff to check on every table and identify potential card counters. While not every player in the casino is monitored to the same degree, those cameras will quickly start to hone in on you if you start making big wins. Casino bosses understand their house edge, and, while they recognise that some players will get lucky enough to beat those odds, they also know when luck is being replaced with something else. 


So, the risk of being caught is extremely high. If you’re caught, then it's game over for you. You may be banned or blacklisted and your earnings might be confiscated. Remember, the casino always watches you, even if you don’t feel the hair on the back of your neck sticking up just yet!


Legal and Ethical Risks

Card counting is technically legal. However, casinos operate to gain profit and if they see someone counting cards and making big wins, they don’t like it because they don’t have an edge. Since counting cards exist in the grey area of gambling, they can’t put you in jail. However, they can escort you out and blacklist you from entering the casino, since it's their property. It may also lead to other severe consequences, depending on the casino’s policy and jurisdiction. 


If you have a favoured casino, then counting cards is a bad idea – it could mean you are never permitted to return, which would be a real shame for the sake of a little extra edge. Yes, it’s tempting if you can master the principles, but card counting has many ethical and legal risks one must take on to gain a slight advantage.

To Wrap It Up

Card counting may seem like an attractive strategy for many players in blackjack, but the risks and mental strain associated with it might make it a poor choice for gamblers. Gambling and casinos are all about entertainment; you do not want to enter a casino in hopes of making a living out of it. When you combine that with counting cards, it is a risky bet that might get you blacklisted or even banned from your future gambling adventures. Just have fun in a casino instead of risking it all based on your inner Hollywood fantasy.