Top Reasons Why You Should Never Count Cards

Many gamblers try to gain an edge in blackjack by keeping track of the cards that have been dealt, hoping to predict the cards that remain. This strategy, known as card counting, is not illegal, but casinos don’t like it and may remove players who they suspect are using it.

While some people think card counting is a clever way to beat the casino, it’s important to consider the drawbacks before trying it. This version avoids using the phrase “card counting” as much, and instead uses more general terms like “keeping track of cards” and “this strategy.” It also shortens the passage and highlights the key points.

Not Very Fun

If you’re looking for a thrilling night out at the casino, card counting might not be your best bet. Forget the glamorous image of MIT students raking in millions—for most people, card counting is more like intense mental work than exciting entertainment.

Imagine being glued to a chair for hours, meticulously keeping track of cards while trying to act casual. Say goodbye to carefree laughs and lively conversations with fellow players, as your focus shifts entirely to calculations. Is that the kind of fun you had in mind?

Difficult to Learn

Forget the Hollywood dream of waltzing into a casino and instantly becoming a card-counting master. The reality is far less glamorous and much more demanding. Before you even think about counting cards, you’ll need to invest serious time and effort in mastering basic blackjack strategy. This isn’t a walk in the park; it requires dedication and discipline.

But the learning doesn’t stop there. You’ll also need to choose and perfect one of the many complex card counting systems, each with its own intricacies and nuances. Think you’re ready after all that? Think again. Now comes the crucial part: maintaining a cool, composed demeanor at the table. 

Even the slightest hint of suspicion from the dealer or casino staff could get you kicked out. So, unless you’re prepared to put in the hard work, studying, and practice, and can handle the pressure of acting completely natural under scrutiny, card counting might not be the shortcut to riches you imagined.

In Actuality, Profit Margins Are Rather Small

Don’t let the flashy stories of the MIT blackjack team fool you. While they managed to win millions through card counting, they were the exception, not the rule.

For most people, card counting offers only a tiny advantage over the casino. This means slow, gradual wins, not overnight riches. Sure, you might get lucky and win big once, but the odds are equally high you’ll lose it all back just as quickly.

Must Start With a Lot Of Money

Forget the myth of card counting as a guaranteed path to riches. While it can give you a slight edge over the casino (think a few percent, not a magic winning formula), that doesn’t translate to instant profits. Be prepared for a marathon, not a sprint. You might wait weeks, months, even years to see any significant gains.

Remember, card counting is a long-term game demanding patience and planning. Don’t be like those who underestimate the time commitment and run out of steam before seeing any return. That’s why the MIT team, for example, started with a whopping $89,000. Your average $200 bankroll, while hard-earned, might not be enough to weather the ups and downs.

Instead of chasing quick wins, consider card counting as a skill for dedicated players willing to invest time, effort, and a significant bankroll. If that doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, there are plenty of other ways to enjoy the casino without the pressure of complex strategies and long-term planning.

Might get Caught

While card counting isn’t technically illegal, it’s crucial to understand that casinos strongly disapprove of it and have ways to deal with suspected counters. It’s not a casual strategy you can try without consequences.

Here’s what can happen if you’re caught:

  • Immediate ejection: You’ll be politely, but firmly, asked to leave the premises.
  • Losing your winnings: Any chips you’ve accumulated will likely be confiscated, leaving you empty-handed.
  • Public embarrassment: Getting escorted out can be a less-than-ideal way to end your evening, especially if you know people there.
  • Blacklisting: You might be banned from not just that casino, but potentially others that share information. This could significantly limit your future gambling options.

Remember, casinos are businesses, and card counting gives players an edge they don’t want. While they can’t arrest you, they have their own ways to protect their interests. So, unless you’re prepared for these potential consequences, card counting might not be the risk-free strategy you imagined.

Casino access may be restricted

It’s important to note that while card counting itself isn’t illegal, casinos reserve the right to refuse service to anyone they suspect of using the strategy. If you’re caught, the consequences can be substantial:

  • Casino Ejection: You’ll likely be asked to leave the premises and potentially denied future entry.
  • Shared Information: Casino networks often communicate with each other, leading to potential bans across multiple establishments.
  • Limited Access: This could restrict your future casino visits, including social events like work parties or simply enjoying other games like slots.

Ultimately, the decision to pursue card counting involves an understanding of these potential limitations. While online options might remain available, consider if the restricted access to physical casinos aligns with your desired gameplay experience.


In conclusion, while card counting may seem like a tempting strategy to gain an edge at the casino, there are several compelling reasons why it might not be the best route to pursue.

Firstly, the profit margins are often much slimmer than portrayed in popular media, requiring patience and perseverance rather than instant wealth.

Additionally, the process itself can be tedious and mentally taxing, detracting from the enjoyment of the casino experience for many players. Furthermore, card counting demands a significant investment of time, effort, and capital, making it inaccessible or impractical for casual gamblers.

Moreover, there’s the very real risk of being discovered by casino staff, leading to ejection, loss of winnings, public embarrassment, and potentially being blacklisted from other establishments.

Ultimately, the decision to engage in card counting should be carefully weighed against these factors, as well as personal preferences and risk tolerance, to determine if it aligns with one’s goals and circumstances.

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