Let's say you're one cuthroat, green visor, no-f***kin'-around hustler of a counter. You own at least 6 personal practice decks of cards that are all well-worn from your nights at the kitchen table practicing your drills. Or maybe you've gone electronic and spent the $90-150 bucks on high-end blackjack training software. Maybe you went to school for it. Or maybe you just sacked up and have stacks of oldschool flashcards that you've flashed through every day for so many goddamned days that, holy shit: you DO know your stuff:
Here is what you will win:
for every 100 hands at a $5 table (assuming you are the absolute REAL DEAL) you will avg. maybe a 2% edge over the house. Which makes:
$10 profit...(the house is really screwed now!!)
$10 profit for every HUNDRED hands. If you make the occasional "look Mr. Suspicious Pitboss, I'm really just a dipshit" play, you make less.
Some of you 'experts', I know, are thinking, "I don't just COUNT! No no NO! I count using the Dalai Lama Hi-Opt Zen Triple-Zero Unbalance count and I do it PERFECTLY!!" Well I don't care if you push your edge to 3% or even 4%. The kinds of mental gymnastics required to maintain an edge like that would induce to me to blow my brains out at the end of a losing night.
If you're truly enlightened, you would spend 30 minutes studying basic strategy and easily learn it cold. You never have to practice. Say you just make a trip to Vegas to gamble once a year, you can warm up in the cab on your way to the casino. Or if you really love the Gaming Experience, you could go every week to your local indian money factory or riverboat casino. Either way, using simple basic strategy you can drink like a fish, smoke all the cigarettes and drugs you want, talk to friends at the table, and just generally fuck around since it takes about 30 IQ points to play basic strategy blackjack. You've invested 30 min. of study time, bought no books, software, or classes, and can still interact with people in everyday social settings and occasionally even get laid...
For every 1,00 hands, my friend, with a house edge of .06%, you will loose:
I consider $6 a fair price for NOT having to sit at a table, ignore everyone around you, drink O'douls, refrain from smoking, and just basically look like the seedy guy who spends every week's paycheck at the local casino.
With just mild ambition, you will drink and enjoy enough free, real alcohol-containing drinks over the course of 1,000 hands to justify the $6.00 loss.
I'll take this one step further and say, BET PROGRESSIVELY (some of you are really boiling at this point, and you've got stacks of statistics and simulations with which you're just foaming to rebut me). But I say bet progressively because betting $5 all night SUCKS! It's mind-numbing! The people at your table will either fall asleep because there's no action, get pissed off because they're losing, or piss you off because they're winning money by some miracle of standard deviation and, at the same time, explaining to you why you should always take even money on a blackjack and split 9's against a 7). Because to them you probably look like a loser. To a gorgeous little blonde, 20-something first-timer sweetheart in Vegas, a guy who stares at a table with rapt attention betting mostly $5 and $10 all night bouncing from table to table is about as interesting as a janitor. That is a fact of casino life.
When you bet progressively, you add EXCITEMENT! With easy basic strategy you will be up more often than most people around you and they will be IMPRESSED. When you're up, you can shoot blatant glances at the discard tray, dart your eyes at all the cards, and act like the Rain Man. Girls will be intrigued, the pit bosses will go crazy, and you can get drunk and have a good time. You don't have to go to the casino every week to 'maximize playing time.' You can save up for a trip to vegas, wear a tuxedo, play high-roller, and get comp'd like your last name is Kennedy.
Real card-counters are not glamourous (as most seem to freely admit). There is absolutely nothing impressive about going to a casino and profiting 52% of the time at a small-stakes table.
Good economists would say learning and practicing cardcounting carries with it too great an 'opportunity cost.' There are much more profitable or even just life-affirming ways spend your time.
Take my advice: Go less. Bet more. Bet fast. Play basic strategy. You'll get much better comps, have more fun, and for chrissake, just get lucky!