Back when I used to play blackjack for a living in 1998 to 2002 in the UK, it was vital to be able to spot a profitable game. Unfortunately what made the situation so difficult in the UK wasn’t that the gaming staff were so clued up and spotted you but in the few available games there were to choose from. It is difficult as a card counter to play in the same casino repeatedly and so you need to move around a lot. However this involves travelling time and that eats into your playing time.
So it then becomes very difficult to play blackjack for forty hours per week. So you need a fairly high hourly rate if you are only going to play for say twenty hours per week but if you include down time and travelling time then twenty playing hours could come close to a full time job. In the UK back then there were only about 120 casinos and although that sounds a lot, many of those were part of the same companies. So Grosvenor Clubs (as it was then), Stanley’s (as it was then), Staki’s (as it was then) and London Clubs were the four biggest companies and these represented the lion’s share.
Staying Ahead of The Pack
So you could be detected in just four clubs but yet find it difficult to get a game in the entire country. Most casinos only had one blackjack game open and if that was being dealt by a trainee dealer or the game was full then the number of hands per hour dropped alarmingly. Blackjack is similar to poker in many ways and you can read about poker on my poker blog at 888 poker if you care to take a look. Game selection is pivotal to your success in both games and when you only get poor games to play in then you are not going to earn any money.
If a dealer is giving poor penetration which means that they are only cutting say half a shoe and the game is six deck then you are essentially wasting your time. Playing six decks doesn’t make it impossible to make money from card counting but it does make it very difficult. So remember that choosing the right blackjack game is very important. A game needs fast pace, be preferably four decks and not six and the dealer needs to be dealing around two thirds to three quarters of the shoe.
We can also add to this that we ideally need a dealer and casino staff that doesn’t have much clue as to how to catch a card counter either. If you can find these avenues and capitalise on them then you may just place yourself into a position to make money from playing blackjack.
Carl Sampson is an online poker player and poker ambassador for 888poker