How to Know You’re Ready

September 17th, 2014

I recently got this letter from one of our members…

I totally dig your thought on investing rather than gambling. I am just in the middle of memorizing the charts, but as you know life in your 30’s is busy.

I really want to make some cash from this, I know it is not quick and easy and that is why I chose your site and expertise.

If you have any advice to pass on like, when you know you are ready. When the first time you visit a casino is and so on, it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for the inspiration

First off, I appreciate that he is asking this question. Rather than getting over-ambitious and going into a casino before he’s ready, he’s asking, which is awesome!

Here are a few suggestions to know i you’re ready to count cards in a casino:

  1. You are stunted in your learning curve. This means you already know basic strategy and understand AND have practiced counting and you want a more real life training scenario.
  2. You have some money that you can afford to spend on training. That’s right..I said SPEND! While you are training you should NOT EXPECT TO MAKE MONEY. It is seen as an investment expense. If you can not afford it at this time do not go into a casino.
  3. You are ready to follow up casino sessions with homework. What’s the point of finding the holes in your game if you’re not going to fix them. Don’t kid yourself in thinking that you want to be a card counter if you’re not willing to put the work into learning it.

Do NOT go if:

  1. You care more about how much you win and lose vs how much you learned. Just in case you did not hear me the first time: you should NOT expect to win money.
  2. You have not learned everything that you can BEFORE entering a casino. How well do you know basic? 99%? Forget it! Stay home till you know it 110%. This is the biggest mistake we see people make.

And finally, a few tips for your first time counting cards in the casino:

  1. If you cannot control your game, you shouldn’t play. Otherwise, you are just gambling. The moment you find yourself making mistakes (basic strategy, counting, deviation, betting), step away from the table. Early on in your career, I’d recommend calling it a night. You can back count a few tables for practice, but don’t put any money down if you are not playing perfectly. It’s time to put some more time in at home.
  2. Focus of the quality of your game, not the results. When you are first playing at a casino, we recommend that it is simply for practice, not to “win.” Lots of players go to the casino for the first time and get all caught up in whether they are winning or losing. That doesn’t matter. If you play properly, you will win over the long haul. One of the worst things that can happen to a new card counter is to win a little bit of money, not realizing that their game still isn’t strong. This happened to me and happens to many card counters. We used to tell our players that if they won $100,000 but made a mistake, we weren’t happy. If they lost $100,000 but played every hand perfectly, we didn’t care. That’s how deeply we trust the MATH.
  3. Be prepared for financial swings. The best card counters in the world lose roughly 45% of their sessions and win only 55% of the time. I’ve had sessions where I’ve lost $40K in 2 hours and others where I won $40K in an hour. I was playing perfectly both times. Card counting is for the emotionally strong. Learn to have thick skin, play like a computer, and again, trust the math.

Remember, card counting is about generating positive expected value over the long haul. It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon of making money over the long haul. So focus on perfection and wise “investing” at the tables and I GUARANTEE you it will pay off over enough time.