My final conclusion on card-counting

Discussion in 'Skilled Play - Card Counting, Advanced Strategies' started by matt21, Feb 4, 2009.

  1. matt21

    matt21 Well-Known Member

    Hi everyone, i introduced myself to counting just over a year ago and spent just over 400 hours counting last year, as well as maybe another 200 hours of practicing, studying and mathematical modelling. I have now decided to stop my venture into this, as there are more profitable ventures for me to pursue!

    I found this forum very very helpful in my journey and wanted to say thanks to all of those who were willing to share some of their knowledge. For people starting out in counting I thought I would post my conclusions for stopping:


    1. It is definitely possible to make money by counting cards. The requirements are that the player completes some study and practice, has a sufficient bankroll and finds good playing conditions. 1.5 units per hour is a good aim. But this doesnt allow for travel time or travel costs!
    2. Some people will be better suited to card counting than others. People with a good memory, good and fast basic mathematical skills, and who have a great discipline and persistence will be better suited to counting.
    3. In terms of bankroll, multiply your standard bet by 1,000 to determine your required bankroll. Thus if you are looking to make $7.50 an hour then you require a $5 unit and a $5,000 bankroll. For $75/hour a $50,000 roll and for $150/hr a $100,000 bankroll.
    4. Preferrably card counters should be living in places where there are numerous casinos within easy travel distance - this reduces travel costs and allows the player to play for more hours across a range of casinos every week.
    5. If you are planning to use a large bankroll, say $100k or more, then BJ is not such a good business proposition because it is difficult to consistently clock up large amounts of playing hours without getting barred.
    6. Card counting is really only beneficial over the long-run – i.e. hundreds or thousand of playing hours – only then can the player virtually expect to make money.
    7. Card counting can be seen as a “last resort” type if there is an abundance of free time with little else productive to do.
    8. A lot can be learned from card-counting – probability & statistics theory, understanding of EV, standard deviations, probability models – understanding of long-run expectancy – much of this can be applied in other games of chance or in the financial markets
    9. Additionally card counters will learn patience, persistence, memory, chit-chat skills and will have a lot of fun too.
    10. Possible opportunities to increase returns are forming black-jack teams and learning more advanced card techniques.
    11. A surprising potential "cost" of counting is the impact on the player’s personal life. Over the year of my counting career I found that many of my friendships suffered – partly because I was playing during times when I would have spent time with my friends, and secondly because I was being secretive about something that was quickly becoming a large part of my life.

    So whilst I am up some 600+ units after 400+ hours of counting, I am quitting while I am ahead.

    Good luck to you all out there!!
  2. Sonny

    Sonny Well-Known Member

    What a fantastic post! Thanks for taking the time to give us your insight. I think it will be incredibly helpful for anyone who is considering becoming a card counter. I'm going to make this a sticky post so that all the new players will see it.

  3. Lonesome Gambler

    Lonesome Gambler Well-Known Member

    Agreed. Great insight from someone who's learned the specifics, made them work, and decided that it wasn't for them. As I've seen on here a million times: it's a very hard way to make easy money. Still, congrats on coming out ahead!
  4. callipygian

    callipygian Well-Known Member

    If you're still around to answer some questions ...

    What's the furthest you were ever ahead? The furthest you were ever behind? Biggest winning streak? Biggest losing streak?
  5. RingyDingy

    RingyDingy Well-Known Member

    What a great piece of advice.

    Congrats on your positive outcome Matt and good luck to you in the future
  6. matt21

    matt21 Well-Known Member

    Detailed Results

    Yes, no problem. I have attached my detailed results log here.

    Attached Files:

  7. PrinceDragon

    PrinceDragon Well-Known Member

    Congrats on your successful adventure in Blackjack.
    Wish you luck and have fun with whatever you decide to do in your future:)

  8. iCountNTrack

    iCountNTrack Well-Known Member

    Good post, although i disagree with you on a few points:

    Your 1.5 unit/hour is a rather very conservative aim, it is also indicating that your are not playing the best games out there. i personally would not chose to play a game where is the expectation is only 1.5 unit/hour. Normally, i would aim for 2.5-3.0 units/hour
    400 hours of playing time, is not a lot of hours, it is less than 8 hours a week which is less than half the hours for a part-time job. Yes, granted there is some travel time depending on your location but still that is not a lot of hours. You should be able to rack up more hours easily.

    As far as personal life, you don't have to be so serious and so secretive about it. Being AP requires a lot of discipline, but it doesn't mean you can't add some fun to it. You can plan a long weekend with family/friends at a nice casino resort, you can work out a schedule, be able to play 15-20 hours and spend sometime with them.

    At the end, playing BJ is just like any other business, you will need to find the thin balance between adapting your lifestyle to your playing and adapting your playing to your lifestyle...
  9. Brock Windsor

    Brock Windsor Well-Known Member

    Congrats Matt. You have reached the point in your career where it is time to move "Beyond Counting". From your log it looks like you still need to experience pitch games, flashing dealers, and barrings before you can color up for good... but maybe you left out a few details.
  10. celadore

    celadore Well-Known Member

    Give it a month or two - you'll be back. Trust me.
    I'm sure you are not planning on abandoning card counting completely after investing over 200+ hours in training.
    Just cut back to a socially acceptable playing amount, like once a month or so.
  11. Count

    At the end, playing BJ is just like any other business, you will need to find the thin balance between adapting your lifestyle to your playing and adapting your playing to your lifestyle...[/QUOTE]

    Count, BJ is not "like any other business", it can become very addictive, the game and the lifestyle, and if you are not highly skilled and disciplined you can lose large amounts of money, "just because it happens". What you are asking Matt to do is dance with the devil, just not real close. Foolish:whip:

    It can also easily destroy ones family and life style.

    If Matt wants out I say good for him! Let all here STOP trying to talk him out of his decision. Keep your Jones to yourself:(

    If any of my kids took up Bj as a serious pastime I would be mortified.:eek:

  12. iCountNTrack

    iCountNTrack Well-Known Member

    Count, BJ is not "like any other business", it can become very addictive, the game and the lifestyle, and if you are not highly skilled and disciplined you can lose large amounts of money, "just because it happens". What you are asking Matt to do is dance with the devil, just not real close. Foolish:whip:

    A business is a business, businesses might be different in appearance, but they all have the same building blocks for success: good planning, dedication, ,good management... all of which could heavily tax your time.
    So this is where good time management that suits your lifestyle preferences.

    If they become steaming gamblers surely, not if they understood ev, variance, SCORE, risk of ruin...
  13. 31showtime

    31showtime New Member

    Hey im playing this game at my casino that is identical to 21 but there are no 10's in the deck only face cards....does this change everything....can i still count?
  14. Pelerus

    Pelerus Well-Known Member

    Not to hijack the thread, but...

    The game you are describing is called Spanish 21. The removal of tens from the deck is greatly disadvantageous to the player, but the game features several rule modifications from standard blackjack which decrease the house edge to between 0.40 and 0.76 percent, depending on the variation.

    This page from the Wizard of Odds outlines the basics:

    Until a few years ago, the prevailing notion among the AP community was that "counting was not as advantageous as in blackjack but you could get away with a lot more. I know of no published material on this," to quote the Wizard from March 6, 2004.

    That all changed with Katerina Walker's "The Pro's Guide to Spanish 21 and Australian Pontoon," in which she dismissed a lot of misconceptions about the game, showing it to be not only beatable, but potentially lucrative. The one downside for an existing blackjack player who has learned the basic strategies for the various standard games plus accompanying index deviations is that he would have to learn an entirely new set of basic strategies + deviations for Spanish!

    Nevertheless, if you have not yet spent a lot of time studying standard blackjack, and there are plenty of Spanish games available to you, going the Spanish route is an entirely feasible option.
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2009
  15. bartmanxoxo

    bartmanxoxo New Member

    being new 2 these boards .... id like 2 thinck the compsyouve recieved would be quite considerable ,unless that is that u dont usee a comnp card 4 reasons im not aware of ,2 day is my first day on thi s blog
  16. vingtetun

    vingtetun Active Member

    Agree with the Panther

    Blackjack is not like another job. You get to play a game that catches many people with addiction. You even have to pretend you are one of them. The more addicted and even degenerate and drunk you seem the better for your cover. But inside, you know its not true and its all an act. But if you don't watch it you can easily fall over the fine line.

    If you don't have a high level of self control your "AP" play can easily become a gambling habit. If someone wants to leave our little past time I say let them go, they're probably better off.
  17. tribute

    tribute Well-Known Member

    Thanks for your post. Now I know why I am NOT a card counter! You have explained it better than I ever could.
  18. matt21

    matt21 Well-Known Member

    it's time for an additional post on this thread .....

    1. re-considered my decision-driving variables and other business opportunities out there.
    2. made some changes to my betting ramps.
    3. continued playing.
    4. got lucky (+459 units in 64 hours)
    5. have now doubled my bankroll. After 523 hours i am ahead by 1,005 units.
    6. & met lots of good-looking (female) dealers
    7. but agree with other people's comments that it's very hard work

    happy counting ;)
  19. UncrownedKing

    UncrownedKing Well-Known Member

    Glad to have you back
  20. tribute

    tribute Well-Known Member

    On this, I concur. Sometimes I ask myself, "What is the reason I am willing to drive 5.5 hours for an opportunity to play a few hours at a simple game with high variance, sit next to cigar smokin', intoxicated, sometimes rude beings, and hope to be able to take a little more cash away than what I brought?" It must be due to:
    1) Pure enjoyment of the game.
    2) The challenge and satisfaction of beating the house, at their game, on their own playing field, where the odds are tilted toward them.
    3) To escape from the weekly "routine"
    4) My compulsive nature (Maybe I'm just hopelessly addicted)
    5) Win or no win, the house still pays for my room and food, sometimes extra cash.

    What better form of entertainment could be found?

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