All You Need to Know About Blackjack Card Counting
Known for its low house edge, Blackjack is the first choice for many gamblers. Read on to find out more about the Blackjack counting card strategy.
- What is Blackjack?
- The Basics of Card Counting
- Understanding the Deck
- Assigning Values to Cards
- Implementing the Strategy
- Advanced Techniques
- Potential Pitfalls
- Counting cards in Blackjack is not cheating
What is Blackjack?
Blackjack is one of the oldest table card games in the world, dating back to the 1700s. The rules of this game are pretty simple.
You place a bet, and then the croupier deals one card from a standard deck of 52 to you and one to himself. This game aims to get as close to the number 21 as possible without exceeding it.
If you are closer to that number, you win the round; if not – you lose the round. That is why you need to decide whether to ask for a second card or stick with the one you have.
The Basics of Card Counting
In its essence, card counting is a strategy you can apply to the game of Blackjack to determine whether you have the advantage, the next hand or the dealer.
This strategy finds foundation in the statistical evidence that high cards, such as Aces, Jacks, and Queens, tend to benefit the player more than the dealer.
Getting high cards can benefit you in multiple ways, which is why card counting is popular among players.
High cards can increase your probability of winning a natural, create additional splitting opportunities for you, and increase the possibility that a dealer will bust.
Who can apply this strategy?
Card counting is a strategy accessible to everyone as it doesn’t require memorising every card in the dealer’s deck.
Instead, you need to apply a system that assigns values to each card and then keeps a running count of the sum of these values.
If you are open to other strategies, another good beginner strategy is the Blackjack Double Down Strategy.
Understanding the Deck
The standard deck consists of 52 cards, which Blackjack croupiers use. You will see that in Live Dealer casinos or land-based casinos.
However, assigning values to 52 cards is much simpler, enabling you to count cards and put yourself in a winning position.
- This is one of the reasons gaming establishments use multiple decks instead of one.
- The other reason is that Blackjack card decks are not reset after each hand, which is why most modern variations of this game include 6+ decks.
However, counting cards and tracking the sum of the value of the cards throughout six decks are much more complex and lower your odds of winning.
Blackjack is a game with variable rules, and that’s why you need to prepare yourself for different types of Blackjack games. Before applying different strategies, learn more about how many decks in Blackjack there can be.
If the croupier utilises the modern standard six decks, there are 312 cards in play, which impacts your winning odds significantly.
So, the more decks involved in the game, the lower your chances of applying this method effectively.
Assigning Values to Cards
Though many pop culture Blackjack iterations present counting cards as the ability to track and remember each card, that is a myth.
This game’s fundamental approach to counting cards is much simpler, based on assigning values to the cards.
Counting cards as a strategy has several approaches, depending on the circumstances and the individual player.
The high-low system is the most popular approach to assigning values and counting cards for an excellent reason. It is straightforward and enables you to count cards even with multiple decks in play.
Counting cards in Blackjack Hi-Lo
So, if you opt for the high-low system, or the Hi-Lo, as it’s more commonly known, you need to separate the cards into three distinct categories and assign values to those categories.
Cards ranging from 2-6 have a value of +1, whereas cards from 7 to 9 have a value of 0.
When it comes to the so-called high cards or the most valuable ones to you as a player, you can assign them a value of -1. This system lets you easily count all the cards, including all the other shoes.
Implementing the Strategy
Once the croupier starts dealing with the cards, you must keep a watchful eye on all the cards, not just the ones in your shoe.
In doing so, you assign values to each card and keep a running count of the value of the cards no longer in the deck.
In addition to the running count you keep, you should also remember how many decks are in play.
Let’s take an example
If you have a +5 count with 1 deck in play, five extra high cards remain in the deck.
Alternatively, if you have a +5 count with six decks in play, that means that five high cards remain throughout all six decks in total.
Being aware of the running count and the number of decks in play will enable you to change your betting approach and adjust it accordingly.
Regarding counting card techniques, specific options are more advanced than others. Two such advanced techniques are the true count conversion and team play.
Each of these approaches has its advantages and disadvantages. Ultimately it is up to you which one you opt for.
When it comes to true count conversion, you first need to understand how to calculate the accurate count from the running count while playing.
If you are utilising a basic Hi-Lo system, the actual count is derived from the running count divided by the number of decks that haven’t been dealt with. You can also calculate this by establishing an approximate average card count per round.
While this is an advanced technique, it is a relatively simple approach to applying the Hi-Lo system for all players – regardless of experience.
Another option for Blackjack players
Alternatively, you can attempt to win big on a Blackjack table by enlisting the help of a friend.
This method is much more inconspicuous and probable to succeed. Instead of you counting and adjusting the betting approach accordingly, which can raise some red flags, you can do the counting and have a friend join the table when the odds are better.
That way, you can keep your stakes steady and are unlikely to draw suspicion while enabling your teammate to place bets on almost certain winning odds.
If you prefer playing online Blackjack, the first thing you need to do is choose a reliable operator among the various real money online Blackjack casino sites.
Blackjack is a game of chance and risk, and so is this method. For as many advantages as this strategy has, it has just as many disadvantages.
First and foremost, you must be aware of all this approach’s key pitfalls before deciding whether to employ it.
The risk of being caught is the most apparent disadvantage of counting cards in Blackjack.
Though this strategy has several basic techniques, it still requires a fair amount of concentration and adjustments. Gaming establishments constantly look for anyone trying to cheat them, so anything slightly out of the ordinary will immediately alert them.
What happens if you get caught?
If you try to count cards with a team, your signals and communication could alert the responsible people.
If you are caught counting cards, chances are you will be banned permanently from that establishment, even though this strategy is not illegal in the UK.
Moreover, the impact on the overall house edge is another major disadvantage. To achieve this successfully, you need to play many hands in Blackjack. The more hands you play, the more significant the house advantage’s influence, which results in you losing more money per bet.
Counting cards in Blackjack is not cheating
Blackjack is one of the most entertaining table games, and counting cards seems like a surefire way to win big and turn your entertainment into profit.
It would help if you always researched playing conditions and thoroughly weighed the advantages and disadvantages.
Once you have considered all the aspects of this strategy, you can decide whether it is something you want to attempt at a casino.