Does Card Counting Work and Other Blackjack Misconceptions

Top 5 Misconceptions about Counting Cards


I don’t blame people for knowing very little about card counting, or the life of a card counter.

Most people assume that if you say you’re a card counter then what that really means is you’re some sort of super-genius who can turn $100 into a million dollars in a few minutes. But unfortunately, you’re breaking the law to and likely to end up getting pistol-whipped by Lawrence Fishburne in the bowels of the casino

Or something like that.

So to set the record straight, I thought I’d share the top 5 misconceptions I encounter:

Morpheus Meme1. Card counting doesn’t work. There are 3 groups of people that say this: people who don’t know any better, people who have tried and failed, or people who have done it successfully, but assume it can’t be done anymore. To all 3 groups, sorry, but you’re wrong.

In his book, “The Big Book of Blackjack,” Arnold “The Bishop” Snyder makes the argument that there’s no better time in history than now for card counting (I’ve shared elsewhere the same sentiment is held by Blackjack legend, Tommy Hyland).

Sure the games aren’t as easy to beat as they were decades ago, but there are more casinos than ever. And smart card counters are figuring out new ways to beat the games every year. The cat and mouse game continues. Again, I’m not saying it’s easy, but nothing worth doing ever is! We even made the video at the top of this page to set the record straight.

2. Card counting is illegal. This is the most common, and unfortunate, misconceptions out there. And I’m sure the casinos love that people still think it’s illegal to use your brain. I’ve been told by everyone from pastors to neighbors to police officers… all of whom I’ve had to gently correct (the police officer ended up asking if I would teach him).

I don’t even have the energy to explain it again, and obviously you know this, or else you wouldn’t be on our website. But for a more detailed writeup about it, click here.

Colin Math Genius 4. You need a photographic memory to count cards. I have a terrible memory. Seriously. My 3 year old kicks my butt at the game “Memory” every time.

Fortunately, with card counting, you simply need to drill the blackjack strategy charts into your brain (which just takes practice) and be able to remember the running count for a few seconds, until it changes again.

What you DO need is great focus, which I have. It has more to do with practice and repetition than being able to remember stuff like your room number or parking spot (thank God!).

 3. A card counter can turn $100 into $1,000,000 in a few hours. You can blame Rain Man for this one. But as any pro card counter can tell you, your chips don’t simply double every couple hours. It involves large wins and large losses, winning streaks and losing streaks, and ups and downs. In “Burning the Tables in Las Vegas,” Ian Andersen discribes a losing streak so bad, he had a friend verify that he was playing correctly. And unfortunately, any pro card counter who plays long enough, will have one of these streaks. It’s not a get rich quick scheme.

Casino Royale Daniel Craig5. You need to buy a James Bond suit if you want to play professionally. I considered wardrobe upgrades when I first started playing with real money, then quickly changed my mind.

Next time you’re in Vegas, walk through some high limits rooms and pay attention to what the people around you are wearing. High rollers seem more inclined to wear sweatsuits or Ed Hardy shirts than Versace. There may be a few people wearing suits, but if you look like me you’ll probably stand out more rather than blending in. And there are probably 50 things you could do to appear less like a card counter that have nothing to do with the clothes you’re wearing.

Hopefully this set a few things straight for you!


If you want to learn what it DOES take to beat blackjack for profits, start our FREE Card Counting Mini-Course…