Famous Players who knew Counting the Cards

Famous Players who knew Counting the Cards

Following the Ben Affleck blackjack card counting story that made headline news, he was spotted out in public for the first time in Los Angeles filling up his vintage car at the gas station laughing it off and taking it all in stride.

Card counting is not illegal, however Casinos reserve the right to ban any players caught doing it. Learning how to count cards in Blackjack is widely accessible through books written on the subject, videos and online articles.

One thing that players must be completely aware of who are attempting to count cards is it’s not as easy to do as you may think. If it was Blackjack would be eliminated from the tables at all Casinos.

For those players that have mastered it, they have reportedly made millions over a period of time before getting caught.

It takes three basic talents to become a master card counter:

  • Fantastic memory
  • Fast countdown of a deck
  • Appear as a casual player, hiding the fact you are counting.

f you do not have any of these important qualifications you’re best to play Blackjack like the majority of players.

Another important aspect worth mentioning is it takes patience. You’re not going to become a millionaire overnight. While winning results are possible right away, your bankroll will fluctuate faster than a runaway train in the short term.

Over a long period of time is where the results are rewarding requiring hundreds of hours of playtime.

The system behind card counting is knowing when you as a player are at an advantage and when the dealer is. A deck that is plentiful of smaller cards is ideal for the dealer, a deck that is full of tens and aces is ideal for the player and that is the time to strike and bet more.

The player must be able to keep track of what cards are already out and what cards are still left in the deck.

The strategy of betting when the odds are in your favor is knowing when it’s best to stand, double or split your hand.


Each card has a point value assigned to it from +1 through 6 and -1 for tens through aces. A note that should be considered is the number of aces and tens left in the deck. While aces offer a chance to get Blackjack, it’s the tens that have the most importance. Some card counters keep a separate count for aces.

At the beginning of the Blackjack hand your starting point is zero which is followed by a series of adding and subtracting as the deck of cards are dealt.

A good count for the player means the majority of cards dealt are small resulting in larger cards still in the deck. The next step is to establish the true count by dividing the cards played by the number of decks still not played.

Next is determining the best way to play your hand and the amount of bet to wager. If the true count means there is still a lot of high cards in the deck that’s the time to bet heavier.

This is the basics of card counting and barely scratches the surface for a professional card counter with many other strategic factors taken in account.

Perhaps the biggest challenge of all is not getting caught and avoiding suspicion from the dealer and pit boss every time you raise your bet size at the right time for a winning outcome.

In the event you are considered a card counter you may be escorted right out of the casino or the cards will be shuffled every time you increase your wager resulting in a disadvantage to the counter.

“Casinos reserve the right to ban any players caught doing it”

  • Card counting huh, loved your card counting story pokergranni. And good work on your part catching that little card counter. It's more real when you have something to relate it to. I don't really care for card games so card counting would be of no use to me unless I get a job in a casino, not likely..........
  • Saw this topic - guys really watch Kevin Spacey's movie called 21. It's some pretty awesome stuff about card counting and pretty realistic movie. While watching the movie it kinda also tells you how hard it really is but at the same time the movie tells you how the whole technique works. It kinda got me interested of counting cards - tho with my math head it would be impossible to count cards really.. Still I suggest people to watch that film if they are interested in card counting and of course for Kevin Spacey fans! :)
  • I personally think its scandalous that casinos can eject players for utilizing this technique regardless of who they are - using your own brain to increase your chances in any gambling game should be permitted and the casinos should be the ones to implement measures to counteract it if necessary - if they offer a game beatable by counting, they should expect it to be beaten.
  • Blackjack is by far my FAVORITE game to play IN a casino. My favorite table to play (which I don't even find anymore, unless I venture FAR off the strip into the super scummy type Fremont St casinos (not all!!) would be 2 deck, hand dealt bj~! i would never say "I count cards" however my natural crazy memory for numbers and cards, definitely has the advantage! Now, the standard 6 deck show takes definitely more concentration and doesn't go so well with alcohol haha, so then i pretty much play with my raising system of first hand one chip, if i win, press bet by one chip, each consecutive win I press bet by one, and pull back the remaining chips given...but, as soon as i lose a hand i MUST drop down to the one original chip(denomination doesn't matter in my system, but you cannot switch it up hahaha). The downfall, in my opinion, was the invention of the casinos buddy, The Shuffle Master, that darn machine that gives continual shuffle, meaning once a hand is over, the dealer puts all the played cards right back into the machine, so there are never any less cards, or therefore, taking away that advantage of knowing somewhat how many of each card is left to come out....now dang it, I want to run to the casino and play...hmmm 50 min drive....i love a good game of bj!
  • Being in the casino business for many, many, years allowed me to see card counters first hand. A good floor person (pit boss) must be able to count cards themselves to determine whether or not a player is counting. Of course these days, I would guess that the first suspension of a card counter would come from the eye in the sky (surveillance). I have dealt to card counters in the past (as this article mentions) and I was allowed to shuffle if I suspected a player was counting. I was dealing to one gentleman and as I counted the deck in his favor and he raised his bet significantly, I just broke the deck (shuffled). After this back and forth action continued for about five minutes, when I broke the deck the gentleman asked me, “why do I continue to do that?” (meaning shuffling) I politely answered him, “because you keep doing that.” (meaning raising his bet significantly) A couple of hands after I answered his question, he picked up his chips and left the table. The whole time this situation was going on the floor person and the eye confirmed my thoughts exactly! The gentleman was counting and management politely told him he was more than welcome to play any of the other pit games the casino had available, BUT, he was not allowed to play blackjack anymore, period. Which meant he was 86’d from playing blackjack at the casino forever. Also, a picture was snapped of the player and entered into a logbook for future reference. These log books are sometimes shared between casinos, so if this gentleman thought he might try his counting skill at a different casino he might be in for a surprise when the casino backs him off (meaning not allowed to play) before he even gets started playing. So counting cards is not worth jeopardizing your ability to visit a casino. I say this because some casinos are not as lenient as the one I worked at. Many casinos will just tell a card counter that he or she is no longer welcome to visit. My comment is just offered as some food for thought for those players that were or are considering card counting. Not Worth It!
  • Not so easy for people like me, for example. I am total dumb in math, and for me it is hard to understand even how it works.
  • Hi and Lo counting cards system is quite easy to learn ( +1, -1, 0 ), but will take you bit of time to master as it comes down to your ability to concentrate at table and not to be distracted.

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