When I talk about my blackjack playing with people for the first time they almost always ask the same question: ‘do you count cards?’ They’ve seen the movie 21 or read articles about Ben Affleck getting kicked out of casinos and assume that anyone who is as passionate about blackjack as I am must be a card counter.
I’ve read a bit about counting cards and my math skills are probably solid enough to keep pace, but as of today I’m not interested. I’ve never really thought about why I haven’t tried card counting until I recently started a new job. The new job is good, but the money makes it nearly impossible to walk away even if I wanted to. Basically it’s a job. And that is what I’m afraid card counting might do to blackjack – turn my passion into a job.
I enjoy the idea that every trip to the casino brings the opportunity for wins and losses and the thought that my ‘system’ gives me some advantage over the average player. I know that no system is truly mathematically sound and over time I’ll likely never make any real money unless I go the card counting route, but the illusion of control keeps me going.
I want my hobby to be fun and if I think that I have to win every time I play because I’m counting cards it will lose some of the attraction. It’s like my golf game when I was in high school, I expected to go out and shoot a score every round and when I didn’t it drove me nuts until the game wasn’t fun anymore. Now when I go out and play golf I have low expectations so I can appreciate the good shots and when I have a blow up hole its out of my head as soon as I step up to the next tee.
Maybe when I retire I can dedicate myself to counting cards and use that as a way to generate extra income to make up for the failures of Social Security. Until then I’ll keep playing my system, hoping for the best and having fun.