Card Counting in Blackjack
A card counter is one who keeps track of the cards already played from the deck. By doing so, a card counter can make larger bets when the odds are in his favour. Since successful card counting turns the advantage to the player, many casinos will ban a skilled counter from further play. Card counting for Blackjack is a numerical system of going through the details of each card dealt from the deck to understand which card is left in the deck to play with. In fact, you do not to be an expert to learn the strategy of counting cards. If you really want to be a successful Blackjack player, then it is imperative to get familiar with the strategy of card counting. Certainly, by using this skills, you can definitely become a pro and eventually beat the house. Nonetheless, never try to become skilled at card counting before understanding the Blackjack basic strategy.
The basic rule of card counting lies in the belief that a huge level of high proportionate cards in the deck is beneficial to the player and vice versa. When a favour is made on your end, it is the time to raise the bet and similarly, when the deck favours the casino house, you need to bet the minimum. This high proportion of high value cards amplifies the dealer's chance of being busted, whereas a deck of low card reduces this chance.
Practically, it is suggested not to memorise all those cards, which are already being dealt or played, especially from a seven-deck shoe of cards. Instead, a new point system has been introduced to keep a track of this and to count the percentage, when the Blackjack cards are being dealt or played by the casino dealer. Right card counting can increase your edge about 2%. In addition, you have several methods, so you can choose the most easily memorable for accurate counting.
Casinos have attempted to make card counting more difficult by dealing from multiple decks. Since some online blackjack games can be dealt from an unlimited number of decks, card counting online is impossible in that case. However, if you join to live table in an online casino, the counting of cards can come in handy.
Over the years there has been a mystique about counting cards. Hollywood made the idea of counting cards famous in the movie Rain Man about a challenged man who had a fascinating and nearly phenomenal ability to remember things. He was able to remember exactly how many of which cards has come out of the shoe at the casino, and was, in turn, able to exploit that knowledge in order to determine the most probable timing for winning hands. When the odds were good, he would bet high, and more often than would win. This form of counting is very unlikely to prove rewarding to most players as the vast majority of the population cannot remember the cards and count into a six deck shuffle. The odds are significantly against anyone who wants to count cards in this manner. That being said, there is a new method of counting cards, not a secret but rather popularised once again by Hollywood in the Kevin Spacey movie 21. In this movie, there are high achieving graduate students from MIT who had the exceptional memory as well and were trained to count cards and practice their counting techniques ad nauseam before entering the casino. This method is also based on using the principle of penetration of the deck in order to know statistically when the odds of pulling a high-value card are very high. The deeper into the deck the dealer deals, the more concentrated high and low-value cards can become. When more high-value cards remain, there is a likelihood that the dealer may bust (go over twenty-one) when they pull the next card. The worst case scenario is that the dealer has a hand that looks like they will bust, but they pull a lucky low card, and don't bust but beat the table. This and its opposite case of knowing when they are likely to pull a high-value card and bust are increasingly possible with the use of counting cards in blackjack.
The good news is that this technique is not only statistically proven to increase a player's odds against the house from losing averages to favourable averages, it is also relatively easy to learn.
If a person is able to read cards as they come out of the deck, add and subtract by ones or by twos, then they are already equipped with the necessary skills to learn how to count cards. The skill doesn't necessarily come overnight, but it is learnable, and with a little bit of practice, can be mastered by nearly anyone. You do not need to be an MIT grad, let alone even have gone to college in order to learn this skill. You may be a high school drop out, a white collar worker, or even the guy who collects trash every week. It does not make a difference. The only thing you need is a pack of cards and the willingness to practice over and over until you are confident about your skill. If you play in land-based casinos, then there is no reason you wouldn't spend a little bit of time mastering how to count cards. Basically, anyone who spends a day learning the different card counting systems will be able to implement one of the them into their strategy. When you play blackjack in the casino the house will always have a slight advantage over you, but if you use a card counting strategy then you will be able to minimise the house edge.
There are several different systems out there including both balanced counts and unbalanced counts. We would suggest that if this is your first time counting cards that you start out working with a balanced count because it's much simpler. To count cards in the casino effectively you will need to remain very concentrated at the tables, but you will also need to make sure you aren't making it obvious that you're counting cards.
When you count cards the goal is to find out when the deck is going to be hot and you're supposed to raise the amount that you're betting when it becomes hot. If you don't raise your bets properly and you make it suspicious, then you're going to run into problems. If the dealer or the pit boss suspects what are you doing they will be able to ask you to leave the casino generally although they will need to pay you the money you won.
Most systems out there will only require that you're able to do simple addition and subtraction. Generally, you will need to add 1 to the count, subtract 1 from the count or keep the count the same depending on what card it is. The best tables to count cards on are the tables where there are only 1-3 decks being used. When you start playing on tables with 4+ decks then it becomes a lot more difficult to find hot spots in the deck to open up your bets a little bit.
Another strategy that some players use to this day is the back counting system. This is where you simply stand behind the players on the table and count the cards as they are being dealt out. Once you get a nice count running then you should sit down on the table and play some hands with an increase unit bet then you normally would bet. You'll want to make sure that you don't get up after you win a few hands because this could become suspicious, but you could lower the amount you're betting if you wanted until the shoe is done.
Most players who don't count cards are not doing so because they have never seen how easy it is. If you could win more money then there really is no reason why you wouldn't want to spend a day learning how to count cards. Make sure you start out learning the basic balanced counts first before moving onto the more advanced systems out there.
Although, there are several effective card-counting systems, Blackjack hi-lo card-counting system is the most effective and easily understandable one.
The High/Low card counting, also known Plus/Minus, is the level one count or a single-level (as the count increases or decreases by one number only). Harvey Dubner introduced the high-low system. This system was created, especially for newbies and not for full-time Blackjack players. It can be used in team games, because of its user-friendliness and capacity to comply with the principles of the game properly.
The strategy of Blackjack high-low count is simple to anyone, who is familiar with the basic ideas of math. To be a pro in card counting, it is necessary to study those numbers that correspond to every card dealt at the time of play. Here all small cards such as 6, 5, 4, 3 and 2 are counted as +1 and 9, 8 and 7 are counted as 0. In addition, 10, King, Queen, Jack and Ace are counted as -1.
When the game begins, the initial count will be 0. Here, the main point is to know the proportion of high cards present in the deck. The more the high cards, the more will be the chances of receiving a Blackjack or dealer busting. If you accidentally lose the count, you may continue playing the game by relying on the knowledge of your common sense.
- In 1st example the card count is +1.
- In 2nd example the card count is -3.