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robdamel's avatar

Can one make a living by playing poker and blackjack?

Asked by robdamel (786 points ) December 7th, 2011

What do you think?

Is luck too much of a factor and both games? Is there any skill at all? Is there a way to ‘master’ it and live off earnings by gambling with these two games?

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10 Answers

wundayatta's avatar

Nope. Luck has little to do with poker and only somewhat to do with blackjack. Poker is based on knowing people and knowing when to hold ‘em and when to fold em. You have to read people well.

Blackjack can be beaten consistently if you count cards. If you know what cards are left in the shoe, you can calculate your chances of receiving any particular card, and thus the chances of winning against the other hand.

In Vegas, they don’t like card counters and kick them out if they catch them. Poker is all about people and is not much about luck. It is a fascinating sport.

marinelife's avatar

@wundy beat me to it. Counting cards. People do make their living gambling, but it is not easy.

robdamel's avatar

I find it interesting that Casinos don’t simply reshuffle the decks after every round- that would eliminate the threat of card counters entirely. For those that don’t count, reshuffling the deck after every round wouldn’t mean anything at all.

6rant6's avatar

Certainly in the short run, poker players can make money. But if you read the stories of the top tier players, they often have bad runs where they lose everything. I read an interview recently where a top tier player was asked if he thought it was possible to live the life of a poker player and never go broke. He said he didn’t think so. He is married to another poker pro, by the way.

Of course many of the top tier poker players are just degenerate gamblers when it comes down to it. There are many stories of players using their heads to win oodles of money in poker and then losing it on sports betting, proposition bets, or other casino games. TJ Cloutier has won millions at poker and lost as much at craps, and is notorious for begging stakes from everyone he knows. Mike Matusow won a two million dollar prize and was broke before he left the casino. He couldn’t pay taxes on the winnings and did time. Barry Greenstein was asked to donate to some charity and he wrote out a ten thousand dollar check. The solicitor asked if he could afford it and Barry said, “I’m already so far in debt, what’s another ten thousand matter.”

The answer is clearer for black jack: no, they won’t let you win. In casinos you get banned if you win. There’s no presumption of innocence around card counting; if you win, they don’t want your business. I’m sure online that they tweak the rules so that no one can win. Perhaps they reshuffle every hand?

zensky's avatar

How does half a mil sound?
Annie Duke

GladysMensch's avatar

Counting cards to make money in blackjack is more than just counting cards. You need to do it so incredibly well that the casino doesn’t know you’re doing it. The casinos might blacklist you if they suspect you. Once blacklisted, it’s all but impossible to do it enough to sustain an income.

Zyx's avatar

Exactly “one” can, anyone else who tries loses their money to that “one”. This is how it works and asking the question differently doesn’t change the fact you don’t know who’s going to win in advance.

HungryGuy's avatar

That doesn’t seem fair that the casinos can kick card counters out. If you’re doing it in your head, without any electronic aids, you’re playing according to the rules.

Is it really against the rules of gambling to have a brain? Oh wait! Dumb question…

Sunny2's avatar

Some people do. They are greater risk takers than I am.

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