Counting Cards

There are 4 ways to play blackjack.

1. No clue. Dealer shows a 3, you have a 13, you hit because you feel like it. Loses money most rapidly.

2. Basic strategy. You follow the simple mathematical rules shown in the color chart. The house still wins. But only a little at a time.

3. Counting cards badly. You track aces and tens dealt. When there's a high proportion of those cards left in the deck, you increase your bet. This actually puts the odds a bit on your side, maybe 51 to 49.

My buddy JG counted badly this weekend. The badly refers to 2 things.

First he gets the gist right (which is enough), though sometimes loses track. Second, he's so focused on counting he can't do anything else -- order a drink, banter, etc. So if we were playing for big money, he'd get caught pretty quick.

4. Counting cards well. Like in Bringing Down The House.

Novice Teaching is like blackjack. A very common pathway is Year 1 No Clue followed by Years 2 to 35 Basic Strategy.

Nobody counts well, but some good rookies at least manage to start with Basic Strategy. Great rookies "count badly" but still manage to eke out "wins."

Moreover, those novices at "Level 3" can move up to "Level 4" (counting cards well) next year.

How do you get good at counting cards? You practice, over and over, until it becomes automatic. Same way you get good at teaching.

Now here's where things get weird, even shocking. Is it easy to practice teaching moves? No!

Despite the fact that 200,000 rookies enter the profession each year, we haven't developed squat to allow folks to practice all night. Usually the only way to practice is to assemble a bunch of kids to sit there! We call it "student teaching." Insane.

Is it easy to practice counting cards? Sure. 100 hours on this baby and you'll be gold out in Vegas.

Hope on the horizon? Maybe. These guys are talking to software people about creating classroom management simulation software.