How card counting can go wrong

Here’s a look at the some common card counting mistakes that blackjack players make when they’re counting cards. Card counting is a skill that’s well worth mastering if you’re serious about your game of blackjack. By keeping track of the cards as they’re being played, you can give yourself the elusive advantage over the house. Now, card counting isn’t easy and, as we’ve looked at before, casinos have taken certain steps to make it harder than ever, but it’s still something worth persisting with. 

While card counting can lead to some serious wins (you just need to look at some of the biggest blackjack winners of all time) there are also things that can go wrong. 

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Card Counting Mistakes

Card Counting mistakes – Ignoring the limitations of their bankroll

This isn’t just a mistake made by newbies to card counting; it’s something that experienced players fall foul of too. The problem arises when they take a seat at a blackjack table where the minimum bet is say $25. They start their session with a bankroll of $250 thinking that will be sufficient as they’re set to win hundreds every time.

When it comes it using card counting effectively, you need to understand how many sessions and the long-term bankroll you need to reduce the risks of going broke. Simply put, it doesn’t matter your level of expertise as a card counter, without the correct bankroll your night is going to come to an early end.

Card Counting mistakes  – Choosing the wrong games

There are some games of blackjack that are more winnable than others. The mistake that some card counters make is treating all of the games as being equal. They approach 6 and 8-deck games where there’s only a 1 to 4-unit spread. Others bother taking the time to sit at a table with appalling blackjack rules such as no doubling after splitting, no soft doubling and the dealer hitting soft 17.

If you want to bring the house edge down, you need to consider the game that you’re playing. Yes, card counting works but you’re leaving yourself at a great disadvantage by opting for games where the rules are less than player-friendly. 

Card Counting mistakes – Avoiding the big bets

While we’ve already looked at how players fail to manage their bankroll, there is also an impact at the other end of the scale. Those who are too conservative with their bankroll, and are afraid to bet big, miss out on all that card counting has to offer.

Often, the issues are not around actual bankroll. It’s more to do with emotions and trying to reconcile such a big bet in their heads. The thing is that part of card counting means that you have to take those big bets. It doesn’t matter if you’re going through a losing streak or anything else, these bets need to be placed. 

Card Counting mistakes – Playing for too long

There are some blackjack players who like to pick a table and then go for the longest session possible. Now, when it comes to being a casual player this is all well and good. However, as a card counter, this is something that you really need to avoid. There are two reasons why long sessions will lead to doom:

  1. Card counting is all about concentration. The longer that you’re playing the more likely you are to slip and make a mistake. These mistakes can get costly
  2. Long sessions mean that the dealer gets time to weigh you up. Being in the same seat for so long brings attention your way and, as a card counter, attention is something that you need to avoid

Being too obvious 

We’ve explored the legality of card counting numerous times before. Suffice to say, it is perfectly legal but casinos really don’t approve. If you get caught out you could be asked to leave or you could even be banned from your favorite casinos. That’s why you can’t make it too obvious that you’re a card counter.

Those who are card counting tend to show no emotion. Whether they win or lose, they retain their stony face and this just makes them stand out. To give yourself cover you need to act more like a typical gambler. Look frustrated when you lose, celebrate your wins and mingle with other gamblers.

Fear of losing big

We’re sure you know already but casinos love a loser. That’s because it’s losers who put money into the coffers. Players who are serious about the game can’t stand to lose and losses build up they become obsessed with trying to recover this. It may mean playing for longer hoping that your luck will turn or it may mean placing larger wagers to win back all that you’ve lost. Both are bad ideas. 

Know when it’s time to walk away and accept your losses. This makes you a healthier gambler but it also has other advantages: the casino sees you as a loser. Being seen as a loser makes you look like a regular player who has good and bad nights. This removes the suspicion that you could be counting cards.

Performing badly

One of the main reasons that it all goes wrong with card counting is down to the fact that players have bad games. now, we’re not talking about being dealt bad hands or anything else that’s out of a player’s control. We mean where they simply fail to concentrate, get sloppy and make mistakes.

To be effective at card counting you need to take the game seriously. That means that you only turn up to lay when you’re well rested, feeling fit and well and not in a rush to leave. Turn up tired, ill and in a rush and you can guarantee that your losses will grow.

Final thoughts 

We’ve sung the praises of card counting before and you can be sure that we will do it again. That’s because it’s a solid skill that every serious blackjack player needs to master, apart from basic blackjack strategy. However, to make the most of this you need to be aware of what can go wrong so that you can keep your game on track. 

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