There are a variety of card counting training materials out there, and we're going to look at which ones are right for you.
Card Counting Training Methods
If you want to practice how to card count and get good with it, there are a range of different ways you can improve your skills.
Card Counting Online Classes
If you're serious about card counting, this is the method that will get you to a professional standard the fastest. You get to learn from professional card counters who can answer any questions you might have on the topic.
- High-level lessons on card counting - when you use an online course to learn card counting from a verified card counter, you know you're getting the highest level of training available. These aren't just people who know the theory, they were able to put that theory into practice and can teach you how to do the same.
- Certifications - Some courses will give you a certification once you've completed the course to prove your proficiency. This is less about getting the certificate but more about being able to pass the final exam that proves to them and yourself that you are a competent card counter.
- Contact with experts - The best resource you'll have with these online courses are the teachers running them. It's invaluable to have experienced card counters on hand to ask any questions you might have about what you've learned. Being able to ask questions about what you've learned and make sure you understand it is what you don't get from any other training method.
- Expensive and time-consuming - While this method of training is the highest level, it's also the most expensive. Some of these courses will set you back over $500 before you've even sat down at a table. On top of that, you have to arrange a time that works for both you and your teacher which can be tricky.
- Few institutions will recognize the certificate - When you do get certified, it's not much use beyond a token representation of your achievement. It will look out of place on a CV and make sure you never bring it to a casino!
Card Counting Trainer Apps
An easy way to get into card counting is to download a training app. These apps give you an interactive way of learning the mechanics of card counting and with mobile apps such as Blackjack All-In-One Trainer as well as Card Counter by TMSoft Games are becoming more and more popular, you can learn from anywhere.
- Accessible - There are card counting training apps for both your computer and mobile, meaning wherever you are in the world you can open your device and learn how to count cards.
- Free/affordable - Compared to a full-on training course, these apps are great value with a lot of them being free to download and use. Some of the more premium apps will charge you but even then it's rarely more than $5 to download it and once you've done so you don't have to pay again.
- No in-depth tutorial on card counting - The biggest setback to this training method is that you don't get the in-depth training you would get from a training course. Sure, the app will give you the basic rules of card counting but beyond that, you're left to figure things out for yourself. If you had any questions on the mechanics of card counting you'd be left searching for answers online which may not always be accurate.
Card Counting Video Tutorials
Another popular method players use to learn card counting is watching video tutorials. With the popularity of video platforms such as YouTube, a lot of expert blackjack players are posting instructional videos online, such as the Blackjack Apprenticeship Channel, as a way of earning extra revenue.
- Free - If you want to learn how to count cards for free, this is a great resource to use. You get access to insights from experienced card counters without having to pay a penny.
- Available anywhere - With YouTube being a built-in app on almost every device you can buy now, thousands of hours of video content are at your fingertips no matter where you are. It's a great way to spend your commute if you take public transport.
- No interaction - Most people learn best by doing. This is what makes training apps a great learning method as you have to interact with them and learn how to make decisions. You don't get that same level of learning by watching someone tell you the theory behind card counting.
- Limited online communities - If anything confuses you or you don't fully understand something, there's not much of a community to assist you. You can take your chances by asking a question in the YouTube comments - but we all know what those are like!
Card Counting Software Trainers
This training software is an advanced version of the training apps you can get on your phone. These are higher-quality applications with more in-depth mechanics that can cover a wide range of scenarios you will face when card counting. This includes learning about hi-lo card counting and other methods.
- More engaging than apps - Bespoke card counting software such as CV Blackjack V5 gives a more in-depth experience than a free card-counting app. They allow for a variety of different rule sets and bonuses, as well as detailed statistics on how you played and what your expected value would have been at the table.
- Online communities - As the software is sold by dedicated companies for motivated card counters, more of a community exists between the people who buy the software. They help each other with set-up as well as any questions players might have about the game.
- Most are not free - The majority of bespoke blackjack software you'll find is not free, and the ones that are free are often missing a lot of features. Depending on the number of features the software offers, you can see prices get close to $100 for a single license.
- Only available on computers or laptops - The other downside to using software over apps is that they're only available on computers/laptops so you lack the flexibility of where you can learn.
Card Counting Books & eBooks
If you want to take it back to basics, this is how to do it. The very first card counters had to learn through books and if it's good enough for them, it's good enough for you. You'll often find a book, such as Modern Card Counting by Patrick Linsenmeyer, that is a lot more in-depth than a 4 minute YouTube video and will give you lots of examples for you to look over.
- Now in digital format - Gone are the days when if you wanted to read a book you'd have to lug around a big hard-backed copy of it. Almost all books are now available in digital format meaning you can read them from a Kindle, your computer, and even your mobile phone.
- Affordable and can be bought anywhere - Most blackjack books you'll find nowadays won't set you back more than $20 for a physical copy and even less than that for a digital copy and once you buy it, it's yours forever.
- No interactive learning opportunities - As with all training methods where you're not being directly taught, there aren't any opportunities to interact with the material and learn for yourself. While there may be examples you can try out yourself, it doesn't adequately recreate the experience of playing in a casino.
Card Counting Brief Explanation
Card counting is what it sounds like - counting cards.
The aim of blackjack card counting is to keep track of how many low and high-value cards have been removed from the shoe, giving you an idea of how what the rest of the shoe looks like.
The fewer high-value cards you've been dealt, the more there are left in the shoe. If you know the shoe has a lot of high-value cards left in it, you can increase your bet as you're more likely to be dealt hands like 19, 20, and 21. The idea is to increase your bet when there are more high-value cards left in the shoe and decrease your bet when there are more low-value cards left.
Counting cards must be done following one of the multiple counting systems and methods, each being a tradeoff between ease of use and accuracy.
Card Counting Training: FAQ
Do all professional blackjack players make money using card counting?
A professional blackjack player makes their money by having an edge over the casino. The majority of the time this will come from card counting but they can also exploit comps as a way of making money.
Can I use my card counting skills in any casino?
You can use your card counting skills in a casino as that's how most professional blackjack players make money. However, it takes a lot of practice to get to a level where you can accurately count under casino conditions.
How do I choose the best card counting trainer?
The best card counting training method for you will depend on your level of commitment. If you've decided that you're going to dedicate the next 5 years to beating blackjack no matter what, then get private lessons; if you just want to learn it as a hobby, look at the cheaper training materials.
Are all card counting trainers guaranteed to help me improve my blackjack game?
There is no guarantee that any card counting training material will help you improve your game. No matter which one you choose, it takes a great deal of effort on your part to improve. You can't just buy the software and expect it to magically make you a better player.
Are card counting trainers worth the time and money?
This depends on what your overall goal with card counting is. If it's to make money over the long-term and you have the commitment to do so then they are worth the money. If it's more of a hobby then it's not worth splashing out on private lessons.
While card counting is very hard to master, there are a lot of card counting training materials out there that can help you become a profitable player and beat the casino.