Most blackjack players are told that card counting is the “secret weapon” and that you can do anything short of resurrect the dead as long as you master this trick.Card counting helps, but there are some things that it can’t do. It’s best to correct these misconceptions now than have you march into a game and then get really frustrated that “it’s not working the way it should”.

One myth that you’ll be glad to see completely busted is that complicated card strategies are more successful. The level of difficulty has nothing to do with it. You can have a very simple, but tried and tested formula—the kind that makes you hit your hand on your forehead and say, “Duh! I should’ve thought of that!” Or, you can have that long, absolutely confusing, and totally useless list of do’s and don’ts, that require a Mensa membership and at least three PhD’s.

What to look for? LOGIC. The strategy has to make sense. You’ve got to see the thought flow, if only to help you remember it during crunch time.

Another myth is that card counting lets you guess the card sequence. Just think about it: there is a mindboggling range of possible sequences, and you can’t tell which of those thousands are going to come next. If you want to guess the cards, learn magic, not poker.

The last and most disappointing myth is that if you master card counting, you’ll be so invincible that you won’t need a lot of money to win. It’s like being able to guess which lotto number to pick: why buy ten when you know the golden number? The fact is that even the best players have losing streaks, and though you may get a slight edge if you know how to count cards, you still take risks. That’s why it’s called gambling, right?

Come and play poker with Carl “The Dean” Sampson at 888poker

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