It started about four months ago when my bankroll was growing rapidly and life was good. I was not happy with my current job and my second means of income (blackjack) was making more than double the income of my part-time job. So, I made the decision to quit my job and try blackjack while finishing school.
I had three to four months of living expenses set aside, and what I thought was a decent size bank. I also had a second form of advantage play other than blackjack to supplement my bankroll along the way.
Well, the last four months have been an emotional roller coaster. And the last month or so, it seems as if the coaster derailed. Along with the big losses, I had a lot of unexpected expenses arise that were not planned.
Recently I have felt tempted to play on a "hunch" -- i.e., the count is high, I “have to” win the next hand! I do have to pat myself on the back for walking away in these situations, positive shoe or not. There are those rare times to leave a positive shoe -- when your emotional attachment to money begins to show itself, it is best to walk away.
When I began to play for a living, the game lost a lot of its enjoyment. Before this was my only source of income, I enjoyed going to the casino -- now I have to motivate myself to go. I thought my bank was sufficient for the swings, but I was wrong. I feel if I would have been a little more aggressive with other advantageous situations that arose, I would have managed the swings. But there is no need to look back, as it won't change anything.
My bank has decreased rapidly the last month. If I play it out things could change, but I'm afraid to find out. I landed a decent job and have made the decision to put blackjack on the back burner for now.
This is only a brief synopsis of the last four months. If anything it is advice for the person out there considering taking the plunge. I think it would be very difficult to make a living "solo" at card counting. You would need a second form of advantage play, or use team play.
I also believe others do not consider the emotional side of the game. Anyone can add +1, -2, +4, but can you stomach one max bet after another lost? Your 11's that are supposed to have 10's drop are slapped with A's and 2's. Or you split A,A and receive 2,3. Ugh!
I wrote this for two reasons; one just to vent, it feels good to share personal experiences about the game. The second is to put the emotional part of the game into perspective. Anyone can count the cards, not everyone can handle the emotional side. I see a lot of players getting into the game asking about bank size. The bigger the bank the better, but I find it hard to cope when I lose 10, 15 even 20 max bets in one session. And then just to have it continue on the next two, three or four sessions afterward.
Overall, you have to be a certain "breed" to play blackjack exclusively full-time, machine-like if you will. I couldn't imagine playing for a living. It feels good to have a job again. The job produces what I call "sure" money. I know on Fridays, I will have a set amount deposited into my account. In blackjack, you can be paid one day and have it taken away the next.
I look forward to playing again blackjack primarily for enjoyment. Good cards to all.
Originally published on bj21.com Green Chip, edited for this format.