Reasons You Should Never Count Cards

min read
The four playing card icons with dice.
BetMGM Jun 17, 2024, 10:11 AM

For years gambling has been, and still is, a popular pastime for many people around the globe. The thrill and possibility of winning big is what keeps many gamblers coming back. Naturally, many gamblers approach their favorite games with one thought in mind – how to gain the upper hand over the house. This is true for those who play at a live or online casino, as the premise of casino games remains quite similar in both cases.

Gamblers employ different strategies and tactics to try to strike it lucky, one of which is card counting. As the term suggests, card counting applies to casino card games such as poker and blackjack rather than games such as slots or bingo.

What Is Counting Cards and How Does It Work?

Those looking to elevate their gameplay may expand their knowledge by reading some of the best gambling books or trying different strategies, such as counting cards. Card counting is essentially a strategy of keeping track of which cards are being dealt throughout a round to make a reasonable deduction as to which cards your opponents are holding, which cards are likely to still be in the deck and the probability of those cards being drawn. The ability to deduce which cards are being held and which are likely to be drawn assists in guiding gameplay. It can help you decide whether to call, raise or fold.

Is Counting Cards Illegal?

Counting cards isn’t illegal, although some casinos frown upon it and, to an extent, consider it cheating. Casinos may have different measures in place to detect it as it reduces the house edge and potentially reduces the casino’s profit margins.

One of the ways in which casinos combat card counting is by having the dealer shuffle the cards more frequently to make it difficult for card counters to keep track of the cards that have been played. This can significantly reduce the accuracy of their count.

Some casinos even keep information on those players they regard as undesirable because of their card-counting practices. Dealing with card counters also involves casinos deploying technology to detect and monitor them. Sometimes casinos employ former or known card counters and place them in camera rooms to pick up someone they believe is card counting, based on their own experience. A player may be asked to leave the casino if they are caught out, and if the player refuses, the casino may resort to charging the player for trespassing.

In extreme cases, a player may be banned from playing in the same casino again or in that town or city. It is, therefore, clear that there is more risk than benefit in card counting, albeit that if a player applies it consistently over a long period without being caught, there may be a handsome profit to be made.

Reasons Why You Should Never Count Cards

While there’s a possibility of improving your odds and tipping them in your favor with card counting, it’s generally not recommended. Below are a few of the reasons why you should never count cards.

  • It can tarnish your reputation: Because some casinos have put measures in place to quickly spot card counters, it can reflect badly on you if you get caught. Not only will your reputation be tarnished, but you also risk being excluded, suspended or completely banned by some establishments and platforms.
  • You miss out on the fun of playing: Regardless of whether you play for leisure or professionally, the thrill of the game can be overshadowed by your card counting. It’s easy to focus so much on counting cards that you miss out on being present in the game and enjoying the experience.
  • Low margins: Many gamblers dream of walking away with a hefty profit at the end of a night of playing, but the reality is that’s not always the case – even with card counting. The margins can be quite low because the wins happen slowly and gradually. Of course, luck may be on your side every now and then, but generally speaking, the margins from employing a card-counting strategy are often nothing to write home about.
  • It’s hard work: The mere thought of card counting can be overwhelming and it might take some time to master – but it doesn’t end there. Once you’re confident in your ability to keep track of the card deck, you must focus on how you act around the table. The last thing you want to do is put your card-counting approach on full display.
  • It can be mentally demanding: It goes without saying that to effectively count cards, you need to be on top of your game and ensure a high level of concentration; otherwise, it’ll prove to be futile. This can be mentally draining and possibly even cause you more stress and anxiety, which might even compromise your gaming as well.
  • The likelihood of getting caught is high: This isn’t to say that you’ll get caught the first or the second time you count cards, but it’s not a sustainable gambling strategy. Somewhere down the line, you’re bound to get caught, especially if you’re a regular gambler. One bad day of card counting is all it takes to get caught.

Enjoy More of Your Favorite Card Games at BetMGM

Clearly, card counting may not be the best strategy to enlist in the long run. The drawbacks of this practice compromise the credibility of gambling, so it’s best to play responsibly and work to improve your game through consistent and transparent gameplay. 

Thanks to the advent of online casinos, your favorite casino games are available at your fingertips around the clock. From online slots to live dealer online casino games, BetMGM has these and more to offer. Register to gain access.

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Our BetMGM editors and authors are casino experts with a wealth of knowledge of the online casino industry at all levels. Their coverage includes company news, game reviews, how-to instructional articles, strategy guides, and editorials showcasing BetMGM’s superior product and game library.

Our BetMGM editors and authors are casino experts with a wealth of knowledge of the online casino industry at all levels. Their coverage includes company news, game reviews, how-to instructional articles, strategy guides, and editorials showcasing BetMGM’s superior product and game library.