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Card Counting - How Does It Work?

If you've already decided that blackjack is the game if you want to make some cash, you are on the right track - this is the casino game with the lowest house edge. If you are already fluent in the basic strategy and use it to hit ("hit", the player draws another card), standing ("stand", the player does not draw another card) and doubling ("double down", the Player draws another card and doubles his bet) without questioning it, you already enjoy a house edge of only 0.5%. Still curious to try and beat the house like so many have done and make some money on the side? Then you need card counting. You get a 1% advantage over the casino. Read on to find out all about it. If you from India – you can choose rupee casinos for playing Blackjack Here.

What is card counting?

Card counting is exactly what it seems - card counting in blackjack. It refers to paying attention to every card dealt to you, the other players, and the dealer. Knowing which cards have been dealt gives the counter a better idea of ​​which cards are likely to come up next, so you can increase or decrease your bet as you go. We will now look at the card counting requirements, the actual process, and the different types of counting strategies that can be used.

Anyone can do it

Contrary to popular belief, you don't have to be a mathematician to count cards. You don't even have to be good at math. Anyone with the desire to learn and the devotion to practice can learn how to do it right. A significant advantage for beginners who would like to start with it is the fact that there are different levels of how to do it; and, consequently, that there are types of strategies that are appropriate for people just starting out and others that are more advanced. But before we look at these strategies, let's look at the card counting process.

Card values ​​& the card counting process

The simplest card counting technique is called Hi-Lo. It divides all cards into three groups and assigns them a positive, negative or neutral value. Low cards like 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 have a value of 1 point, since removing them from the deck is cheaper for the player. Cards 7, 8 and 9 do not change the odds of winning, so they are 0 points. Eventually, the high cards 10, J, Q, K, and A are valued -1 because removing them from the deck is less beneficial to the player and gives the house an edge. So that's it. You keep your running count by writing down each card and either adding or subtracting from the count. If the count is positive, you bet more. If the count is negative, bet less.

Running Count Vs. True count


Edward O. Thorp was the first to cover card counting in his 1962 book Beat the Dealer.

Keep in mind, however, that what I just explained applies only to single-deck games. This means that the current value or running count is not enough for you to know which cards will appear in the deck when the game uses more than one deck of cards. In this case, you have to perform further calculations to determine the so-called true count. How do you do this? It's easy: divide the current value by the number of decks remaining. For example, let's say your current value is 8 and you estimate the remaining decks to be 4. Divide 8 by 4 and you get your true number 2. Don't worry too much about an exact number, and if the result is 1.75 for example, just round it up to 2 to keep things simple.

Types of strategies

There are different types of strategies depending on the success rate and level of difficulty. Of course, there are counting systems that would give you a better success rate, but as you might expect, they are more complicated and take months to learn. The strategy that I discussed earlier, the Hi-Lo strategy, is by far the most appropriate. It has an excellent ratio of success to difficulty, and if it's good enough for the MIT team, it's good enough for us to use it too.

“There is no such thing as the 'best' card counting system unless you are a robot. In that case, you would keep an eye on every card. "

Michael Dalton (Blackjack Review Magazine)

Tips to improve your card counting technique

So you think you're ready to use your card counting skills to make money? Wonderful! But before you withdraw your savings, hoping that you will multiply them many times over in a few hours, take a look at the checklist we have prepared for you and make sure you are really ready. This little detour will be worth it, I promise, and you might even be reminded of something important that you somehow forgot.

  • You have memorized the basic strategy - there is no how to deal with it, and knowing "most of it" is not enough. You will need to know the basic strategy by heart and trust it even if you lose because there will be times when you will lose.
  • You have memorized the points of the card values ​​- once you have chosen a strategy, say the hi-lo system, stick with it and make sure that you have no doubts about the value of each card. This means that before you can identify a card as the queen of diamonds, for example, you should think -1.
  • You have practiced many times - having a look at the basic strategy chart and watching some videos online about what card counting is will be an improvement; more than blindly trusting your luck to make the right decision. But it won't do much to improve your advantage. You have to practice - alone as you go through a deck of cards ending at 0; with a partner at increasing pace; in a real casino.
  • You can count cards quickly in any setting - you may have the perfect eye for detail when you're home alone and all the noise is blocked out. However, when ordering drinks, can you keep an eye on the running count and don't seem to pay much attention to other players' cards in a noisy casino? Think about it - casinos won't make it easy for you to count cards, quite the contrary
  • You have a consistent wad of money - you will need to be able to invest some money in perfecting your skills. It won't be like the movies where someone stakes their last $ 100 only to walk away with a fortune a few hours later. You will also have to invest time, but money could be a problem. Don't forget that both basic strategy and card counting take some time to work and you will still have hands that will lose no matter what.
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