Winning at Blackjack and Poker

Most poker players and even more blackjack players will lose more money than they win in their lives.  To be a winning blackjack player or a winning poker player, you will need to be an above average player.  You need to practice and improve your play no matter which game you choose.
    In blackjack you are going to have to count cards to get an edge over the casino.  In poker you will need to get an edge over the other poker players at the table and the edge must be big enough to overcome the rake at the table.  Both games involve skill, but luck will also have a deciding factor in the short run.  A professional poker player doesn't necessarily make a good blackjack player and a good blackjack player will usually lose at the poker tables.


Pros and Cons for the Card Counter

A blackjack player that knows how to count cards, can get an edge over the casino.  Over the long term, the card counter will have a 1.5% to 2% edge, depending on the betting spread and the counting system.  The card counter will have many winning sessions as well as some bad losing sessions, but in the end, he should squeeze out a profit of 1.5 to 3 initial bets per hour in profit.  Luck does play a role in the short term, but if you are a great card counter, then you should never go broke with proper bankroll management.
    The card counter is not nearly as welcomed as the poker player inside the casino.  The card counter can be mildly harassed and distracted by the casino management.  He will also have to travel quite a bit, if he wants to stay below the radar in the casino.  Travel and accommodation cost can eat up your daily profit quickly depending on the location.  You will also have many bad trips, where you couldn't find a decent table to play in.

Pros and Cons of being a Poker Pro

A poker player that can make a living playing poker is quite rare.  Most poker players that think that they are winning poker players are losing poker players.  Less than 20% of poker players make any money and only about 5% of players could make a sustainable living from it.  The reason why there is so few winning poker players is because the poker room takes 5% from each pot or 10% if you are playing at a land based casino.  The edge that the house takes away is just too much to overcome for most players.  Sure, you can beat the weakest players, but you are losing to the rake against the average poker player at the table.
    Many poker players can be burned badly or make a decent profit depending on their luck.  Sometimes the worst poker players can make it all the way to the final table, while some of the best players are knocked out early.  This is true for single table tournaments, multi table tournaments, at the regular poker tables and at some of the largest poker tournaments.  Skill does play a role, but without luck, you won't get very far.
    The casinos love poker players, they come in and play for hours paying rake the whole time.  They are social and some of the regulars will know the dealers and the rest of the staff quite well.  The casino does not care if you are a winning poker player, because they know that the winning poker players are what keeps a poker room alive.  If you are a regular you will stick it out for hours, while paying rake against your competitors and take advantage of the newbies that come by occasionally.  Sure, they would have preferred if the newbie popped his funds in a slot machine, but they still made out okay with all the rake the new liquidity will create.  Best of all after you have won your money at the poker tables, the casino will have a chance to earn some of your bankroll as you play the slots and gaming tables.  There is a reason that the poker tables are generally at the far back corner of the casino, and that is to ensure that the least amount of money leaves the casino.
    When you are a professional poker player skill is great, but luck is better.  The casino likes you and will routinely comp you.  Your bankroll swings are high, which could ruin your bankroll, even with proper bankroll management.  That is probably the worst part of poker.  There is a whole lot of skill, but not even some of the best poker players in the world can't go through their careers without at least once losing their entire bankroll.  Professional poker players can go days, weeks, months and sometimes even years without making any money, where as blackjack players hardly ever have a losing week.