I tell people that there are two things they need to beat the casino: brains and a bankroll. While both are essential, many people want to jump to the second issue while taking the first for granted.
Or the other way of putting it is: You could have a $1 billion bankroll, but if you don’t have a PERFECT blackjack game, you will eventually lose the entire thing. The number of betting units is irrelevant if you don’t have an optimal game. Sorry if we sound like a broken record, but we just have to emphasize the most important thing.
Does that mean all you need is brains? No.
The Honest Answer
Well, it depends. I’ll give you a neat, clean, mathy answer about it in a minute, but honestly it’s complicated . And while many professional card counters are quick to say, “I wouldn’t bother getting into card counting with less than $20,000,” I cannot give you that same answer. Why? Because that’s not our story.
I started with $2,000. though I don’t think I ever bought in past my first $1,000 stake. Ben started with $800.
Did we start with a perfect game? Doubtful. But we worked our tails off to get perfect at blackjack.
Were we patient? Absolutely. I estimate that I was generating about $5/hr to 7/hr for the first couple months, but we were growing something so it didn’t matter!
Were we lucky? Probably. Our risk of ruin (the odds of losing our entire blackjack bankroll) would give most card counters (not including Ben) severe hypertension.
Were we aggressive? Insanely. We weren’t worried about backoffs, and would play a 1-20 bet spread or higher, always playing the table minimum below a true 1 and leaving the table at a true -1.
While a $20,000 initial stake would be great, that’s not our story, nor is it realistic for many people. But, you’ll have to be patient, aggressive, have a perfect game, and you may need to be willing to take on a little more risk. But then again, never starting your card counting career is also a risk.