Counting Cards Won't Make You Rich

December 17, 2018

There is a fascination with counting cards in blackjack. Everyone wants to learn how to cheat the system and leave the casino a millionaire, but the truth is it's nearly impossible to do so.

FULL TRANSCRIPT

Speaker 1: [MUSIC] I want you to count how many face cards you see,

Speaker 1: jacks, queens or kings.

Speaker 1: So, how many were there?

Speaker 1: There were five face cards,

Speaker 1: six if you count the ace,

Speaker 1: and seven if you count the 10.

Speaker 1: You actually just started counting cards.

Speaker 1: But now you have to consider

Speaker 1: the low cards and the old cards,

Speaker 1: and even if you get really good at keeping count,

Speaker 1: you still won't make millions counting cards.

Speaker 1: So, I was a blackjack dealer

Speaker 1: in Philadelphia for a few years

Speaker 1: and the question I got the most was,

Speaker 1: "So, do you ever catch anybody counting cards?

Speaker 1: For those of you who don't know what counting cards is,

Speaker 1: it's a strategy that helps you keep count

Speaker 1: of the cards that were already played,

Speaker 1: and what types of cards are left in the deck.

Speaker 1: Based on that, you figure out how much you want to bet.

Speaker 1: There's this fascination with counting cards,

Speaker 1: everybody wants to learn how to do it,

Speaker 1: how to cheat the system and how to go home rich.

Speaker 1: But the truth is it's nearly impossible to do so.

Speaker 1: Movies like Rain Man,

Speaker 1: The Hangover and 21

Speaker 1: romanticize the notion and make it seem like

Speaker 1: you'll be rolling in dough by morning

Speaker 1: especially when the latter is based on a true story.

Speaker 1: But the casinos have seen all the same movies we have,

Speaker 1: read all the same books and know all the same tricks.

Speaker 1: They're always one step ahead of you and you will get

Speaker 1: caught especially if you're working in teams.

Speaker 1: But let's say you're headed to the casino by yourself,

Speaker 1: all the cameras are off,

Speaker 1: everyone took the day off but

Speaker 1: the dealer it's just you and you won't get caught.

Speaker 1: You're playing perfect basic strategy,

Speaker 1: you're keeping perfect count,

Speaker 1: you're still not going to make a ton of money.

Speaker 1: Here are the three reasons why

Speaker 1: you won't make millions counting cards.

Speaker 1: Reason number one, you need the time.

Speaker 1: It's a marathon not a sprint,

Speaker 1: and due to numerous circumstances,

Speaker 1: how many decks are in the shoe,

Speaker 1: how the cards are shuffled and

Speaker 1: varying house rules across the country,

Speaker 1: you likely won't make it to

Speaker 1: the end to make a ton of money.

Speaker 1: Not to mention, it gets awfully boring.

Speaker 1: Imagine sitting there playing blackjack for 20 hours,

Speaker 1: it all sort of starts to blend together.

Speaker 1: It needs to be your full time job.

Speaker 1: Aside from the 100 to 200 hours,

Speaker 1: it actually takes at home to learn how to count cards.

Speaker 1: You could still easily be in the negative

Speaker 1: after 500 hours of game play.

Speaker 1: And most people give up due to

Speaker 1: not having the amount of time it takes to

Speaker 1: gain a profit or they lose

Speaker 1: all their money which leads me to reason number two.

Speaker 1: You need a bankroll.

Speaker 1: You need to have enough money to let yourself dip

Speaker 1: extraordinarily low before you can

Speaker 1: swing back up and even make a profit.

Speaker 1: It's up for debate how much money you should bring

Speaker 1: especially since it determines your risk of ruin,

Speaker 1: aka the likelihood of you losing all of your money.

Speaker 1: According to most blackjack experts,

Speaker 1: if you bring 200 times the betting unit,

Speaker 1: your risk of ruin is around 40 percent.

Speaker 1: So, if you're playing $25 hands,

Speaker 1: you need to have at least $5,000.

Speaker 1: I say at least because you're likely

Speaker 1: going to press your bets to be pretty high.

Speaker 1: But, if you bring 500 times the betting unit,

Speaker 1: your risk of ruin is only 10 percent,

Speaker 1: which means that at the same $25 table,

Speaker 1: you would need at least $12,500.

Speaker 1: One thousand times the betting unit

Speaker 1: will give you a one percent risk of ruin,

Speaker 1: that's your best bet which means you guessed it,

Speaker 1: you'll only need $25,000

Speaker 1: to play with and be okay with losing.

Speaker 1: But even if you're playing at a comfortable $25,000 you

Speaker 1: could maybe end up making $50 to $75 an hour,

Speaker 1: and that's on your best day ever.

Speaker 1: That means in order to make one million dollars,

Speaker 1: you need to put in just over 13,000 hours of game play.

Speaker 1: That's at least 1000 of your best days ever,

Speaker 1: if you're playing for 12 hours a day.

Speaker 1: And if you don't live near a casino,

Speaker 1: you can take out food,

Speaker 1: travel and lodge from those winnings too.

Speaker 1: Reason number three, you need to be undetectable.

Speaker 1: This hypothetical is just a hypothetical.

Speaker 1: At the end of the day it takes

Speaker 1: about 10 to 15 minutes for a card counter to be detected.

Speaker 1: Because of what card counting used to be,

Speaker 1: the casinos now know exactly what changes need

Speaker 1: to be made so that they can keep the advantage.

Speaker 1: When I first started dealing cards,

Speaker 1: I had the same exact question that everybody else has,

Speaker 1: what do I do if I catch somebody counting cards?

Speaker 1: My pit boss said to enjoy the show

Speaker 1: because they're gonna walk away empty handed anyways.

Speaker 1: Here's a friendly reminder,

Speaker 1: the house always wins.

Speaker 1: My suggestion, take out

Speaker 1: a couple hundred dollars that you'd be

Speaker 1: happy to see go down the shredder,

Speaker 1: go with your friends to Vegas and just have a good time.

Speaker 1: Uh, and always tip the dealer [MUSIC].