Tons of articles have been written and millions of dollars (or whatever other currency) have been earned through blackjack card counting. Not to mention the numerous films that have been shot, including some quite memorable ones such as “Holy rollers: The true story of card counting christians”, as well as the popular “21”.
Nowadays, you can also find apps or various other software on the Internet to help you train your skills on this well-known blackjack technique. MIT even has a blackjack team that is well-known for its card-counting expertise and was even featured in a documentary about it. Here’s what you need to know about blackjack card counting.
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What is card counting in blackjack?
If you are like many blackjack players, you might have often asked yourself that question. The act of card counting is a strategy used to determine if the next card or hand of blackjack will have dealt cards that will give the dealer or player an advantage. But, how does blackjack card counting work? Those who count cards do so by maintaining a tally of all cards dealt. This allows card counters to bet high when the count is in their favor, and reduce risk by betting smaller amounts when the count is not favorable.
Blackjack card counting: 4 steps to do it like a boss
There are many who have asked if counting cards is illegal. Well, it’s not. The reality is though, most casinos do not appreciate players using this strategy. Those who count cards are only able to practice this when playing in online live blackjack casinos, as card counting is not possible in regular mode due to the use of a random number generator that produces the next card dealt from the deck. This article serves as your go-to “how to count cards for dummies” guide, even for those of you out there with no previous experience in this well-known technique. If you want to count cards like an absolute guru follow the steps below and stack some cash for that next trip to Vegas or any other gambling Mecca.
1. Give every card a certain value
Every card in a deck has a value, and understanding how a high low card counting system can be used for blackjack from a strategic point of view will increase your odds of success. Hi-lo assigns each card in the deck a number such as – 1 or +1. Cards shown as 2 through 6 are given a +1, numbers 7 through 9 are deemed 0, and all high cards 10 and above are assigned a number of +1.
Hi-lo strategy can only begin to be used after the cards have been shuffled and the first card is dealt. As each card is dealt from the deck, hi-lo card counters will mathematically determine the value of the cards. An example of this would be K, 4, 8, J, 6; this would give a count of +1, -1, 0, +1, -1 for a total value of 0. If the total score is negative, it means that there is a large number of high cards remaining in the deck, but if the score is positive, then there is a larger number of smaller cards remaining in the deck.
2. Maintain a running count
In order to become efficient in blackjack card counting, you need to learn how to maintain a running count accurately. The first step needed is to memorize the card values and do so accurately and quickly. To be effective in card counting, it is ideal to begin with six decks.
The process goes like this. Count the decks and take a single one. Assign the values based on the score mentioned above (-1, +1). After counting the last card the count should equal zero. However, if the score you got is -1 or +1, then your count was incorrect and you need to start the process again. Ideally, you should practice this continually until you can complete the process in under thirty seconds or less.
This will give you the skills to maintain a running count and be better positioned when applying those skills when at a casino. As a recommendation, when first playing for real money, go for low limit blackjack to reduce your risk until you are confident you have perfected the technique.Best live dealer blackjack casino sites
3. Can you count cards when there is more than one deck?
Card counting indeed puts the casino at a disadvantage. While not illegal, it is frowned upon and to combat the practice of card counting, casinos use multiple decks in blackjack. This commonly will see 6-8 deck shows in use and therefore, much harder to follow the count, although not impossible for skilled blackjack card counters.
The best card counting system for 6 decks requires extreme discipline and a good player understands that it is crucial to retain a true count in blackjack. Most will avoid sitting down at a table until the decks are due to be shuffled. This allows them to get a true count based on factoring in the additional decks and therefore accounting for an increased number of -1 scores and +1 scores.
They do this taking the running count and dividing it over the number of decks in play. This lets them take the information and mathematically determine when playing with an advantage or without one.
4. Adjust your bets according to your true count
Adjusting your card counting bet size is critical to long-term success and profitability. Why? Because you have to adjust your game as cards are dealt out. This, of course, changes the odds either for you as a player or for the house, so adjusting your betting size will be determined by the true count.
The reasoning behind this is to wager an equal amount to that of the advantage percentage. An example would be if the true count gives you a 2% advantage and you are playing with a $1000 bankroll. In that case your bet should be equal to 2% or $20.00.
Most blackjack experts use card counting as a strategy to increase their odds of hitting larger wins. However, it is important to understand that casinos employ multiple tactics to identify those that count cards and if suspected, they are banned from those places. Therefore a smart card counter will not bet aggressively higher amounts as this will generate interest from the dealer and pitboss.
The objective of blackjack card counting is to give you an advantage and to generate a profit. Generating a smaller profit over time turns into a larger profit eventually. In other words, count cards but play conservatively, make a profit and move on to the next casino.