Dispelling Blackjack and Card Counting Misconceptions

December 7th, 2010 by admin Leave a reply »

It seems like every day I hear or read a new misconception or an old myth relating to blackjack and card counting. Since I have been a card counter for over 30 years I feel that it’s my duty to dispel some of these myths and misconceptions.

Myth: The object of Blackjack is to get as close to 21 as you can without going over 21.

Truth: That’s totally wrong. The object is to Beat the Dealer, nothing more.

Myth: Card counters, if caught, are taken into the backroom and are mentally and physically abused.

Truth: That may have been true in the old days when the mob ran most of the casinos, but it just doesn’t happen today. In fact, with a good lawyer you could probably retire from counting if it happens to you.

Myth: Card counters must remember every card in the deck.

Truth: Not even close. Counting cards is basically the act of adding and subtracting cards as they are seen. Cards are given a value of +1 or -1 in order to get a running count total. This total is used to determine how much the next bet will be. In some cases it will determine how you will play the hand. This part is called a basic strategy deviation.

Myth: Card counting is illegal and if caught the card counter can go to jail.

Truth: Nowhere in the world, that I am aware, is card counting illegal. Nowhere! However, casinos WILL take steps to stop you from counting. Two countermeasures they use are to shuffle the cards when a suspected card counter makes a big bet. The other is to bar counters from the casino.

Myth: Card counting doesn’t work. It’s a myth.

Truth: It works. The players advantage can be a double digit percentage in some cases and a double digit disadvantage in some cases. All card counting does is point out the times when the player has either an advantage or a disadvantage. The player then raises or lowers his bet accordingly.

Myth: You have to be an MIT grad to be able to count cards.

Truth: There are some very good card counters that didn’t even graduate high school.

Myth: Even if you are a great card counter you won’t get away with it for very long. The casinos will bar you in a very short time.

Truth: I, for one, have never been barred and I’ve been counting cards for 31 years and I’m not an isolated case. This is true because I decided early in my career that longevity was better than making fast money, getting barred and then getting a (shudder) job.

Myth: Basic strategy doesn’t help you win. There’s too much luck involved.

Truth: Basic strategy players cut the casinos advantage from an average of 2.5% down to 0.5%. This is proven by math and is always true. The luck evens out in the long run and the math prevails.

Myth: Bad players will always adversely affect the outcome of hands.

Truth: It has been proven time and again that bad players making bad plays will have no long term effect on other players hands. They will help, hurt or be a no factor. In the long run they will neither help or hurt as their play will have mixed effects and even out over the long run. What is true is that players losing because of a bad play will remember, while players winning because of a bad play will dismiss the bad play and believe that they were supposed to win, therefore they did.

Myth: The harder counting strategies are the best.

Truth: The opposite is usually true. The easier the counting system is to learn the better, unless you are an MIT grad. The easier the count, the fewer mistakes you will make. Mistakes cost you money, so keep it simple.

If you are interested in learning basic strategy and card counting, http://www.learn-winning-blackjack.com is a great place to learn. The lessons are free and they’re easy to learn. There are basic strategy charts and links to other sites with great information.

Ed Irion has been a professional Blackjack player for 31 years. He has made millions of dollars playing Blackjack in casinos all over the world. He still plies his trade in the casino today using many aliases. This article is part of a series of articles to help you learn and better understand Blackjack.

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