Gamblers always look for an edge whenever they place a bet. They do this with sports betting, poker, pokies, and casino games. Counting cards is one way of gaining the upper hand at the blackjack table, but does card counting work?
Card counting is a casino card game strategy that is mostly used for blackjack. Players “count cards” to help predict what cards are coming from the dealer’s shoe. This gives them a probable advantage and actually helps reverse the house edge. They do this by keeping a running tally of the high and low value cards.
Players adept at card counting bet larger when their count gives them an advantage. It helps to reduce losses too. It all sounds too good to be true, being able to predict the next cards, but card counting does this.
Several card counting techniques are used to this very day. A Hi-Lo system is the most common and the easiest to learn and keep track of.
Cards are assigned a value of zero, one or minus one when using the basic Hi-Lo system. Tens, jacks, queen, kings, and aces have minus one as their value. Twos, threes, four, fives, and sixes are plus one. Sevens, eights, and nines receive a zero.
These figures are assigned because sevens, eights, and nines don’t really affect the player’s expectation. The more twos, threes, fours, fives, and sixes add to your expected wins, hence the plus one. Tens, jacks, queens, kings, and aces that are already dealt lower your expected wins which is why they’re assigned minus one.
Card Counting in Practise
Counting cards while a round of blackjack plays out is quite simple using a hi-low strategy. Hi-Low counting strategies can get complex but the entry level version is easy. Add up, and subtract, the ones from all the cards displayed during the round to get your running total.
A neutral running count is when all the cards you counted add up to zero. This means there are as many low and high cards remaining in the deck.
There are more large cards in the deck than small ones if your running count is positive. Conversely. A negative running count means there are more low cards than high cards still to come.
It doesn’t take a genius to work out you bet larger amounts during a positive count and less with a negative. Betting like this gives you the upper hand because you bet more when you have the edge. You bet less, therefore, lose less when the casino has the edge.
This is the simplest form of card counting although it is effective. The more complex counting systems are more accurate but are very difficult to learn.
Does Counting Cards Work?
Card counting does work both in live and online casinos. Blackjack players are counting cards while you read this article. The practice is not illegal regardless of what casinos try telling you. Casinos see card counting as poor sportsmanship because they like you to lose your money!
Do a quick Google search for the MIT Blackjack Team to see how effective card counting is. These mathematicians made millions of dollars counting cards around the world.
It does work but blackjack in today’s modern casinos and online casinos makes it difficult for counters. It doesn’t matter that six or eight decks are used because you just count for longer. The problem lies in they change decks frequently and reshuffle them. Some live casinos euse an automatic card shuffler that continually shuffles the cards.
These measures from the casino make card counting less accurate. Online blackjack also plays much faster than live so counting is more difficult. Online casinos offering live dealers are the best place to try card counting. You can open a calculator and use that for your running count. Just be aware that these dealers change the deck frequently so ou have to restart your count.