While in Las Vegas for a recent Blackjack Bootcamp, I had the opportunity to meet “Ryemo”, a successful full-time card counter who happened to be in town for a blackjack trip. It was clear that he not only had what it takes to be a great card counter, but he was also a really great person.
When asked how he got into card counting, “Ryemo” revealed that a friend of his introduced him to it at the beginning of 2014. This friend had boasted about his winnings on Facebook, which caught “Ryemo’s” attention. He had looked into the subject previously and was intrigued. That sparked his interest in blackjack, and it’s also how he adopted the Zen count as his system of choice.
He has been counting for almost 4 years now, with the first 2 or 2.5 years being purely recreational. However, blackjack has been his primary source of income for the last year and a half or so. By the end of his first year, he had become more confident in his skills and had reached over 1,000 hours of play.
One of the biggest challenges he faced was trying to balance his career as an advantage player with family life. He mentioned that many APs lose their ability to play at home, and he hasn’t been welcomed in his local casinos for quite some time. Despite this, his wife has been supportive of his endeavors.
“Ryemo” had some sage advice for up and coming players, emphasizing the importance of doing thorough research, networking with others, and not allowing emotions to dictate the way they play.
He also highlighted the positive experiences he has had as an advantage player, such as having the opportunity to travel to destinations he wouldn’t have visited otherwise and meeting many great people along the way.
When asked about his favorite thing about being a card counter, “Ryemo” mentioned that he enjoys the idea of beating the system legally, knowing that he has the edge. He finds it psychologically satisfying to beat the house.
“Ryemo” shared that the most he ever lost in a single session was about $23,000, while his best winning session was when he won just a little over $11,000 before getting backed off and trespassed. He also had one trip where he won just over $22,000 in just under 9 hours of play, which was his best trip so far.
One of the most memorable moments in his AP career was being forcibly backroomed at a casino that he had been previously backed off from. This experience stands out in his mind as a memorable story from his card counting journey.