At our most recent Bootcamp, I was talking with an attendee who was back for his second Bootcamp.
His game has come a long way since the first time I met him, and he mentioned how he had been using one of the must under-rated training tools we offer: our iOS app.
I know the frustration of trying to train yourself at blackjack. Unless you have someone else to deal to you, there’s no way to know if you’re doing things right (and even with a training partner, it can often be the blind leading the blind).
When I trained myself, I used (the free-play version of) online casino software. It never told me if I made a basic strategy mistake. It never told me if my count was wrong, if I missed a playing deviation, or calculated the true count for me. I had to completely guess if I was playing correctly.
And unfortunately, once I convinced another pro card counter to deal to me, I discovered I was making mistakes I was completely unaware of.
This frustration, that I watched with dozens of people that played for the Church Team, and now with hundreds of people at Blackjack Bootcamps, is what led us to create the Card Counting Trainer Pro iOS App… a tool for card counters by card counters, that you can use wherever you are to improve your blackjack skills. If you have an iOS device and haven’t used it, you should definitely check it out.
Practicing card counting should be a systematic process. Start with JUST playing basic strategy. When you can do that, learn how to JUST keep the running count. Then, start doing the two together… you get the point. The iOS app doesn’t have all the training drills that we make available with our membership, but it sure can do a LOT for a $5 app!
I’ve spent plenty of hours playing on the iOS app, and one of the things that surprised me is how the app is perhaps the most efficient ways to practice card counting and blackjack. In a live casino environment, you’ll play roughly 100 rounds/hr (50 rounds/hr if you play a full table). But by removing the time consuming elements of other players, shuffle time, buy-ins, payouts, and table fills, you can get in as many as 400 rounds/hr. That means you are getting in 4x (or even 8x) the training time that you would get from a live casino. Even dealing to yourself at home, which I think is essential, is slow. But if you’ve got 15 minutes of down time, you can get in an hour’s worth of practice in on the iOS app.
One of the issues I consistently see people struggle with when I train them is implementing their bet spread. It’s one thing to have it on a sheet of paper, it’s another thing to fluidly place the correct bets out for every true count. Don’t make mistakes with your bet spread at the casino when you can dial it in first on a practice environment; spend an hour or two getting comfortable with your bet spread on the app first.
The last thing you need to be focusing on when you start putting all your training together is the growing or shrinking stack of chips that represent REAL MONEY or the innumerable sights and sounds of a casino. You will have to adjust to the real casino environment eventually, but that should be only when you can consistently play perfectly in a controlled environment.
Probably the most common mistake I see new card counters make is playing too soon. Card counting isn’t complicated, but it takes more time to become perfect than people expect. And if you can’t master a card counting app, you won’t be able to do it perfectly in real life. So why not take the time it would take to grow a virtual bankroll before putting your real bankroll at risk?
What do I mean by this? Well, it generally takes at least 100-200 hours to overcome variance (aka
“luck”) and get to the long run. If you can play 4x as many hands on the iOS app as you can in real life, why not put in at least 25 hours of perfect blackjack play, watch your bankroll grow, and enter a casino with the confidence to know you’ve proven that you can consistently play perfectly, hour after hour (at least in a virtual environment).
I know it’s frustrating, but the reality is that card counters lose almost as often as they win. Card counters have losing hands, losing hours, losing days, and losing weeks. But card counters don’t have losing careers.
Get used to the swings involved in card counting by experiencing it in a virtual world. That way, you won’t be shaken when it happens in real life. Losing streaks suck, but it’s unavoidable. So you might as well learn how to handle them emotionally.
Seriously. If you’re a card counter, it’s fun to play. Nothing beats a real casino, but growing a virtual bankroll from $1,000 to $25,000 has its own level of satisfaction. =)
If you have an iOS device and don’t have the Card Counting Trainer Pro app, you can get it here…*
*Sorry non-iOS people… we don’t have an Android app. We will definitely announce it if that ever happens.