Over the years, Hollywood has certainly played a part in building card counting into a legendary way to beat the house and take home big cash. From 21 to Rain Man and even The Hangover, crafty players have been able to turn small sums into huge wins quickly with a relatively simple strategy at the Blackjack tables.
True, card counting is a way to eliminate the house’s advantage in Blackjack and even slightly pull the odds into the player’s favor, but there are plenty of misconceptions surrounding the play strategy that are far less accurate. Let’s take a look at a few.
Misconception #1: You’ve got to be a genius to count cards.
The truth is, despite its substantial lore, counting cards is a relatively simple strategy. Basically, the count is determined by giving cards a value of +1 or -1 in order to determine a running count. When the count becomes favorable, players increase their bets in order to maximize their chances of cashing in on favorable odds. Most successful card counters rely on simple strategies that minimize the odds of mistakes and keep the money coming their way.
Misconception #2: Card Counters Never Lose a Hand
In most card counting films, the star is shown winning hand after hand, consistently piling up a huge stack of cash. In fact, the benefit of card counting relies on a statistical advantage that could pan out over time. Even the best card counters lose their fair share of hands at the tables. The difference, however, is that they have a better idea of when to make larger bets that have the best chance of helping them overcome their losses.
Misconception #3: Casinos have a back room ready to physically deal with card counters.
Years ago, this may have been true, but today’s casinos are massive money making ventures that can’t afford the negative press. In fact, if a casino suspects a player of counting cards the most likely solutions are either a quick shuffle of the cards or barring the player from the casino. In any case, card counting isn’t illegal, and significant consequences other than being ejected from your choice of casino are increasingly unlikely in modern gambling venues.
Misconception #4: Card Counting works in every casino.
Players aren’t the only individuals who have their eye on card counting strategies. In an effort to combat losing their house advantage, casinos take a variety measures to make counting much more difficult, even for experienced players. Simply by using multiple decks, the casino can effectively eliminate or minimize the slim advantage that card counting provides players, turning the statistical advantage back into the house’s favor.
Misconception #5: It’s possible to count cards at online casinos
Online casinos normally shuffle cards at the end of each betting round, which is the equivalent of resetting to the first hand after every round. In other words, counting cards at online casinos isn’t an effective strategy.
Despite its reputation in Hollywood, card counting is, at best, a way to increase the likelihood of winning at the blackjack tables. While it can certainly lead to big winnings over time, it’s important for beginners to realize that the strategy is far from a sure thing.