Gambling is essentially a game of luck. However, players can use legal skills to gain a little advantage over the dealer and increase the winning rate in the long run. Card counting is one of the allowed and quite popular strategies in the gamblers' community.

Casino card counting describes how players keep a mental track of the cards that have been dealt so they can learn about the cards that haven't been dealt. From there, they will have more basis to make the following decisions instead of relying entirely on improvisation and the element of luck.

In today's article, we will discuss the legitimacy of this age-old practice and its pros and cons. As a result, you will know the advantages this tactic offers and the possible disadvantages you will encounter if you adopt this strategy.  

Is Counting Cards Illegal? 

Is Counting Cards Illegal? 
Blackjack card on red table (source: Freepik)

The answer to the biggest problem with this card counting skill is that it's completely legal. Card counting distinguishes it from other fraudulent acts in the casino, where it depends solely on the player's intelligence.  

Card Counting Is Not Cheating!

The essence of card counting is to use your brain to remember which cards have been dealt. From there, you can narrow down the prediction range of the cards about to be dealt on the table. Thus, you simply apply your super memory instead of surreptitiously swapping cards with other players for an advantage. So you are definitely gambling legally. 

However, there is still a common sense among gamblers that card counting is not valid. That can come from gambling movies, where players with top intelligence have engaged in bloody wars over their card counting behavior with casino owners. Even so, that is not true in practice. The director only does this to increase the film's drama, which is paramount for the audience to enjoy the movie.

Also, there's another reason some people think card counting is illegal. We will talk about that now.

The Casinos Can Ask You To Stop Playing

That sounds ridiculous, but the reality is, at land-based casinos, casino owners have the right to refuse you if they find out you're counting cards during your gambling period. Even though you're doing legal, the operator simply doesn't want you to fight them anymore because you're too good. While they are willing to pay huge winnings for one lucky player, as for casino owners, players who win less but more often through superior card counting skills are a danger in the long run. 

However, remember that you are not a bad guy or a cheater because of your card counting behavior. On the contrary, if you optimize this skill, you are a player who has worked hard, determined and learned to master how to create your own advantage. Therefore, you should be proud of yourself. If you want to adopt this strategy, act discreetly to avoid the casino owners finding out about their intentions.  

While It Is Legal, You Should Not Count Cards

Counting cards can be a smart and legitimate strategy for players to increase their odds of winning in the long run. However, we will still analyze its disadvantages for you to consider whether to adopt this strategy or not.

Profit Margins Are Actually Pretty Thin

If you think card counting can help you win millions of dollars, like the gambling geniuses in Hollywood movies, you are wrong. Some players can win a huge amount of money through gambling, but that comes not only from the player's skill but also depends a lot on luck.

The reality is that card counting won't give you any tangible results, and you won't see a sudden increase in the value of your wins or the frequency of your wins. This strategy only gives you a small advantage over the casino, or in other words, a meager few percent increases in your chances of winning. Today, you can win a small amount of money by counting cards. However, it is possible for you to lose ten times that amount the next day even if you still use this strategy, and that is completely normal.  

It's Not Much Fun

Most people gamble for fun. If that's also your goal, then sorry to say, card counting kills the whole entertainment of the game. That is very easy to understand. Instead of sitting around chatting with other players, enjoying the casino atmosphere, or sipping your drink, card counting will force you to sit for hours focusing on your cards and other players. 

More sadly, even if you accept to sacrifice the entertainment of the game, this strategy is no guarantee that you will win. To increase the effectiveness of this strategy, you will need to practice it for a very long time, only to get a few percent more favorable in return. 

Therefore, unless you are on your way to becoming the most skilled gambler and want to sacrifice all other jobs to make a living, card counting is unnecessary as it will take away all the fun gambling can give you.

It’s Difficult to Master the Skill

As we just mentioned, card counting is the job of gambling professionals, and you cannot become an expert in no time. This strategy requires an amazing amount of persistence when you have a ton of theory to start with. Even the card counting will vary between variations of the casino game you are playing, making it a big deal to accumulate knowledge, let alone practice them. 

Besides, acting skills are also required if you want to apply this strategy. If you want to count cards, be as natural as possible and keep the calculations in your head. Stay sober and don't give any indication that you are counting cards, or as said, you will be kicked out of your casino unjustly. 

Your Bankroll Management Will Not Be In Your Plan 

The effectiveness of card counting will not increase immediately. If you want to see your profits grow steadily with this strategy, you will have to monitor your bank account weekly, monthly, or even yearly.

Therefore, if you don't prepare yourself financially, you run the risk of going bankrupt before seeing that strategy's effect. The top-skilled gamblers you usually come across will always take a long time to practice before they succeed, and the price they pay for practicing card counting is a huge amount of money you will be surprised to hear. 

So, if you really want to start making a profit from card counting, prepare a large enough budget to survive the losses. Of course, you can't beat a casino owner with just $100 in your budget and wits. 

As I Mentioned, You Will Get Caught 

Casino owners are more important to card counting than you think. If you think that the worst thing about card counting is when you lose, you are wrong. You will risk being kicked out of the casino immediately if discovered by the casino owner. Plus, you'll go bankrupt having all your chips confiscated. 

Things don't stop there. You will be permanently banned from the casino where you are found to be counting cards. Security staff always know your identity information, and you will never have a chance to return to that casino again. It's a shame if that's your favorite casino. 

The best you can do is to choose another land-based casino. Even so, it's not as easy as you think. You will see more of this in the next section.

Then You’ll Get Banned from the Land-Based Casino

In the worst-case scenario of you being caught counting cards at a casino, you won't just be banned from one casino. Instead, you will be banned from most local casinos, where your image and identity will be made public among casino owners. As a result, you will have to wait years for the ban to change, or even never. For whatever reason, even if not for the purpose of gambling, you will not be allowed to step foot in your local casinos. 

If that really happened, we are very sorry for your situation. Although what you do is legal, the casino owners have the final say when you play at their premises. If they think you are a danger, they will exclude you. The best way to deal with this is to gamble on online sites, where no one can tell you are counting cards because the casino owner doesn't even know your face.

So, What Is The Lesson?

Card counting, as mentioned, is a legitimate skill and can help you win in the long run. However, it comes with many risks that can make you bankrupt and many other requirements, such as that your budget must be large enough, and you must sacrifice time and the entertainment of the game to practice it to the master level.

So, consider all the benefits and risks of card counting mentioned in the article to see if you should be counting cards when gambling. If you feel insecure but still want to try it, online casinos may be the more suitable approach.

Published: 22 July 2022 10:13