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It is interesting to note that the longer a person has played Blackjack i.e.,., the more and the broader his Blackjack experience is, the less he is likely to be a card counter. Card counting, in the long run, is just a phase that the devoted player goes through. I mean devoted to serious learning, as well as playing. The average player tends to go through an identifiable sequence of learning phases. First, he plays and quickly learns how tough the game is and what an enormous quick cash drain it can be. Most quit at that point. Others are driven either by a need to get even with the casinos or a yearning for knowledge. So they begin to “read up” on the blackjack. Either way, they typically go to the gaming section of a bookstore, look at the myriad of “knowledge” available and buy several books by their covers and maybe a quick glance through. These will most likely be card counting books because that is mostly all that is available in most bookstores. Pouring over these blackjack books at home, the first thing they will notice is that these books do not compete with one another at all but, rather, strongly agree with one another, and even recommend each other. This unity gives the reader tremendous confidence in his “project.” Soon we will see him home practicing card counting with a stopwatch. His first attempts will have him counting down a deck in something more than 35 seconds and usually making several mistakes. Typically his first goal will be to beat 30 seconds without any errors, most have more difficulty, at this point, with the card manipulation and less and less with keeping the count correctly. Twenty seconds becomes a tough barrier to overcome until his card handling catches up to his counting skills. A few will eventually beat 15 seconds but most never quite make 20 seconds. During this phase, our devoted counter in training tends to live, eat, sleep and talk Blackjack often to the exclusion of all life’s other interests. He quickly becomes a “bore” to most everyone around him, much to his surprise, and learns that Blackjack is not a spectator sport and is utterly boring to the average person.


He finds that nothing will clean out his section of the lunch table faster. He longs for and searches for others with mutual interests. And he finds them. He quickly learns that counters are numerous and have their magazines, more books, and internet groups. He becomes a counter groupie and quickly learns that this group is well organized with its hierarchy. The length of this phase depends largely on two factors. How much he plays and how much of that play is in Nevada. Many students of the game who can’t afford to play find themselves on the groupie trail for a long time because there is nothing to discourage them, like losing play, and everything to encourage them. They are constantly bombarded with encouragement on the merits of counting as well as the discouragement of any other method. If the students play is limited to Nevada or mostly Nevada, this is also likely to prolong his counting phase simply because counting works better in Nevada than anywhere else because of single and two deck Blackjack as well as 6 as opposed to 8 deck shoe games as well as the reduced average players per game in Nevada. He may even become a successful counter in Nevada although this will almost always entail self-taught improvisations like sticking to a single deck and developing a talent for when and where to play – items he is not likely to find in his book collection.


Outside of Nevada, however, the counter often becomes quickly discouraged and either quits the game or develops other ways, or learns alternate methods of play. I won’t say that there are no successful counters outside of Nevada, but I will say that if there are, they are an extremely rare breed and have adapted to a situation by improvisation. The quick discouragement of the outside Nevada counting student comes from three sources. He quickly sees losses far more than those talked about in counting books and far more than those explained away by “standard deviation.” And those losses are usually confirmed by other counting students around him. Next, he soon realizes that the outside Nevada casinos have no fear of, or respect for, his card counting efforts. That wasn’t in the books. The books talked about having to wear disguises and perfecting a good act. And finally, the real world of Blackjack Biases hits him like a brick. Since this subject wasn’t even touched on in the books he read, he quickly suspects his books are lacking in real-world fact and familiarity. At this stage, some counting students revolt to the point of book burning ceremonies.

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