VALUE OF TEAM PLAY vs SOLO PLAY
Colin has been running Blackjack Teams that have won millions of dollars from casinos over the past decade. He currently runs acard counting training website at BlackjackApprenticeship.com with fellow card counter and Blackjack Team manager, Ben. Colin and Ben are also the subjects of an upcoming documentary, Holy Rollers.
My first blackjack team was the result of a combination of inexperience and boredom. Armed with only the book "Professional Blackjack" by Stanford Wong, I had studied like crazy and been counting cards on my own for a couple of months. I even managed to double my initial measly bankroll; however, there was not a day that went by that I didnít have some sort of question that I couldnít answer on my own. On top of that, it was tough not having anyone to talk to about my blackjack exploits (and my wife just didnít share the same enthusiasm, where I would tell her about that crazy true 6 where I split 10ís four-times). Fortunately for me, the only other card counter I knew was just as bored playing blackjack solo, so Ben and I decided to join forces and play as a team. You could even say we started a team by accident.
Since that fateful winter, Ben and I have played as a team, and ran teams, for nearly 10 years, taking millions of dollars out of casinos. Through the process, we made tons of mistakes and had to learn a lot the hard way. Ironically, since then, we have met most of the people who have run every other major Blackjack Team, and found that we had reached many of the same conclusions about how and why to play as a team (as well as what to avoid). Here are a few of the top lessons Iíve learned over the past 10 years.
The Value of Flying Solo
Before asking someone to start a blackjack team with you, you need to ask yourself why you shouldnít start a team with them. There are many reasons not to join forces with other card counters. To me, the most important is that the wrong person is worse than no one. Card counting is a crazy job. You are using cash, you have a slim advantage, and there is no boss looking over your shoulder to make sure you are behaving properly. Unless you plan on sitting at the same table, 100% of the time (which is worthless), you need to be able to absolutely trust every facet of the other person. Will he be honest with the money? Will he make every playing decision, exactly like you would? Will he have the same philosophy (and self control) with tipping, keeping track of money, recording time played, card penetration, play as many rounds per hour as you, not excessively drinking on the job, etc. Some of these questions can be solved by training together. But, if you cannot completely trust the integrity of someone else, you just canít work with them at this job.
The Value of a Team
There is great value in teaming up with others, the least of which has to do with strategy or camauflage. In my opinion, the most important reason is...
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