Card Counting – 8 Reasons You Shouldn’t Do It, Even Though Movies Make It Look Cool

There are a lot of movies with confident men walking into casinos like they own the place and threatening to clean the house. Their secret? They plan on counting cards at Blackjack. And if you were to believe any of these movies, you might think that you at least have the chance of walking out of there with a lot of money and that you only need to know when to quit. In reality, things are much more different than that and it would be a very bad idea to start doing this in real life. Here is why.


1. Things are not like in the movies

Blackjack game

Blackjack game

Blackjack card counting is made to look more glamorous than it is in reality. What you are missing out on is the fact that in those movies, characters need to be put in a good light. They will excel at counting cards while an oblivious dealer keeps congratulating them. In reality, losing streaks are longer and much more common than winning streaks, the dealer can play with 1.5 or even 2 decks, making card counting impossible, and you are being watched with more attention than you think.

2. It’s much harder than it looks

Card counting is done by memorizing hundreds of possible game plays. While a regular player will understand the rules of the game and adopt a general strategy, a Blackjack card counter will have to choose between already learnt game plays and bet according to his chances. Quick maths and calculations are essential, and you will have to constantly be able to switch between game strategies, by assessing numerous game elements unfolding in front of you.

3. The casino floor will differ from where you practice

And no matter how hard you practice at home and how many books you read, how many tutorials you watch or even how many hours you train with a card counting professional, the casino floor is different. You will not be alone with your thoughts and the dealer. There will be music on the background, the voices of people, loud groups, cheers, frustration and anger from other players at the table, cigar smoke, the sound of the slots, not to mention the casino employees who are put there specially to make you lose. You did not know that, did you?

4. The dealer can tell

Dealer chip

Dealer chip

And if you imagine you can simply block everything out and focus on the dealer, squinty face and a red completion will be a clear giveaway of the fact that there is a whole thought process going on inside your mind. A thought process that should not occur. Blackjack dealers are trained to prevent card counting and they will react as soon as your attitude gives them anything to think about. As soon as his suspicion is raised, he will alert the pit manager.

5. The pit manager will interfere much sooner than you expect

“But in movies, people from the casino come in and take you to the dark room after you have won hundreds of thousands of dollars! I will stop much sooner than that!” Rest assured! You won’t even get to several hundreds before the pit manager is notified of your presence at the table. And while the dark room is mainly a movie thing, the intervention is subtler and more effective than you might expect.

For starters, he or she will come in to check on you and will deliberately try to turn you off your game by distracting you. During this time, all cameras will be on you and they have already started analyzing your previous games. They will see how you bet and how you counted.

6. Finding the right game will be complicated

In order to keep people from counting cards at their Blackjack tables, casinos will make their games less appealing and more complicated. And yes, if you are thinking about it, those few people counting cards are, in fact, ruining the fun of the game for everyone.

Playing cards

Playing cards

7. No matter how much you invest in this, casinos will always be able to invest more to counter these practices

There are a lot of books and there are a lot of websites that promise to teach people how to count cards. Your personal investment in this is consistent. It takes a lot of time and patience to master it. Then you will need to train and when you think you are ready, you need to try these newly acquired skills in a real casino.

Now think about the resources you are willing to put behind this endeavor in time and money and multiply them by one thousand. You will get how much casinos are investing in keeping card counters away from their Blackjack tables. From high performing cameras, to highly trained casino personal, to even hiring card counters among the pit managers or dealers to help spot people like you.

8. You must not expect to do this more than once, maybe twice

And with all this effort, you will find out that you can only do this once. Maybe twice if you are incredibly lucky or if you choose your casino and your Blackjack table right. After which you will be discovered and introduced in the system. Once there, you will be flagged as a card counter in every casino. So, how much do you think you can get out of this given all of the above mentioned aspects?


A casino business is not a charity. They are in it for the profit. This means that anyone coming in with other thoughts than to win whatever they have a CHANCE at winning, will be spotted immediately. With so much invested in casino surveillance, it is ridiculous to think you actually have a chance where hundreds, if not thousands of others have failed before you. And they don’t fail because they are not determined enough. But because casinos know they are coming and they prep accordingly.