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by Colin

Colin co-founded and managed "The Church Team," one of the largest card counting teams in the past decade, taking millions from casinos along the way. They now bring their card counting training, resources, and stories to others through

I wonít lie to you: the margins are thin at professional blackjack. When people first start researching card counting, they think itís going to be a get-rich-quick scheme where they spend a couple hours learning the magic formula and then go collect their riches at the tables. You could read a book on your flight to Vegas and probably understand the concepts behind card counting, but it takes much more than that to be successful at it. Nearly 10 years after starting my career as a professional card counter, Iíve played thousands of hours, winning more money than I ever thought Iíd make in my entire lifetime. Our success came from obsessing over the details. Here are five tips I give every card counter (beginner to seasoned professional) to increase their expected value.

  2. Before you roll your eyes at me, hear me out. I have yet to find a card counter who does not make mistakes, me included. We arenít computers. Some of these mistakes are unavoidable flubs. "Whoops, I just waived to Ďhití when I meant to signal Ďstayí." Itís happened to the best of us. However, weíve found that not all of these mistakes are infrequent, unavoidable snafus. Some mistakes are systematic flaws. Iíve trained individuals who have gone on to take over a million dollars from casinos, yet they have let one or two weaknesses sneak into their game. For example, one student busted his hand, and he got lazy about catching the dealerís undercard so now his count is off. His deck estimation is off by a quarter deck, meaning heís under-betting several hands per shoe. While dealing to him, I was able to pull off a sneaky miss-pay. (Dealerís arenít computers either so they make mistakes, sometimes in casinoís favor. If you miss one of these per session that could negate your entire advantage.) If he would have fixed these mistakes a year ago, he might have won $1.2M instead of $1 Million. Before you think, youíre too good to have your game evaluated, get together with a fellow card counter, and deal to each other. Make it a competition. Whoever makes the most mistakes has to buy the other guy or gal dinner. I guarantee this will improve your blackjack game.

  3. Avoid Negative EV Whenever Possible.
  4. For every true -2, you need a true 3 to have the equivalent positive advantage. This became an obsession for us. We started our careers in the tiny card rooms in the Seattle area. There would be one blackjack table to play, so you couldnít just move to another table if the count went south. Instead, we would casually sit out hands whenever it was negative, "catching up on the sports scores," while continuing to count down the shoe. Once the count was positive again, it was time to "help out the table" by jumping back in. Itís important to remember that, just like every positive round played is money made (positive EV generated), every negative round avoided is money saved (negative EV avoided). You make money at blackjack by saving pennies and making pennies each round. You add it up and your expectation can be hundreds or even thousands per hour, but the game is beaten pennies at a time. At least thatís how we trained players to think.

  5. Increase your....

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