Card Counting

Card Counting is one of the best known blackjack strategies in the casino world. While most blackjack players know of card counting, only a small majority actually bother to learn and apply the concept. This is because too many people are under the misconception that blackjack card counting takes a savant level of mathematical skills.

When it comes down to it, blackjack card counting is actually very easy to learn. Anyone who can do basic addition and subtraction can learn to count cards. As far as successfully implementing a blackjack card counting system, you’ll also need a decent memory to keep up with the count.

Basic Card Counting

The most basic card counting system is very effective when properly applied. All you have to do is give each card a value of +1, 0 or -1. When you see a card that falls into that group, add 1, subtract 1 or do nothing. The grouped card values are…

2-6 = +1
7-9 = 0
10-A = -1

So if a 5 is seen, add 1 point. If a King is seen, subtract 1 point. It’s really that simple.

If you start with a single deck of 52 cards and work your way through, one card at a time, using the counting strategy above, you will end with a value of 0. If you do not end at zero, you did something wrong.

In fact, this is the best way to practice card counting, by running through a single deck of cards and learning to count them correctly. The more you practice, the easier it becomes, and faster you’ll be able to do it.

So you know how to count cards, but what do you do with these numbers?

Blackjack card counting will tell you how to bet at any given time. You start out with a medium bet size. Let’s say your medium bet is $10. When the count is near 0, you place a medium bet. If the count becomes high, +4 or better, you will change to a high bet, doubling to $20. If the count becomes low, -4 or better, you will decrease your bet to half, $5.

The idea is that when the count is high, there are more Tens, Face Cards and Aces in the deck. This increases your chance of hitting a Blackjack, therefore warrants the double size bet. A low count means there are more low cards of 2 through 6 in the deck, giving the dealer more of any advantage. So we lower the bet to half to minimize potential losses.

Blackjack Card Counting at Live Casinos – Tips & Advice

Unfortunately, blackjack card counting is not an option while playing blackjack online. The online casino software randomly shuffles the deck(s) of cards with each new hand that is dealt. Blackjack card counting is a strategy that can only be applied to live casino blackjack.

It is highly recommended to practice card counting to a proficient state before attempting to use it at a live casino. Casinos are well aware that players may be trying to count cards, and though it is not illegal to do so, casino management frowns greatly on the practice, to the point you may be removed from the premises and/or banned from the casino altogether.

By practicing card counting and learning to do it without concentrating too much on the cards, you will be a lot less obvious at the tables. You should be able to communicate with the dealer and other players while maintaining a proper card count. If you are staring at the cards the whole time, and visibly reacting to the high or low count, you might as well put a big sign on your forehead that says “Hi! I’m counting cards!”

Our last piece of advice is not to get greedy. Once you’ve made a decent profit, move on. The longer you stay, the more likely you are to get identified as a card counter. And the more profit you bring in, the less pleased the casino will be with you.

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