How to Count Cards (and Bring Down the House)
Blackjack Card Counting Guide Most casino players think of card counting as an esoteric skill requiring feats of superhuman memory and computer-like mathematical prowess.
The reality is that thousands of players know how to count cards in blackjack, and most of them have average intelligence.
Counting cards is one of the only ways to get a consistent mathematical edge over a casino, but it does require significant amounts of dedicated practice and study before you can reliably count on that edge.
Entire books and websites have been written about this particular method of advantage gambling.
They were afraid that mobs of blackjack players would start taking them for all they were worth, and so they made dramatic changes to their house rules in order to make it impossible to get an edge.
Before Beat the Dealer, it was common for a casino to deal blackjack from a single deck and to deal all the way to the bottom of that deck.
Card Counting Systems Card counting systems in blackjack are a means of advantage play in which you gauge how favorable or unfavorable the deck is, and then betting more or less based on that estimate.
This estimate is arrived at, not by memorization, but by a heuristic system which assigns a point value to various cards in the deck.
Once a card has been removed from the deck, it either makes the deck more favorable for the player or less favorable for the player.
How and Why Systems Work Imagine thatand you place a bet on red, and card counting techniques blackjack want to know what your chances of winning are.
The calculations are simple enough; you simply divide the number of red slots on the wheel by the total number of slots on the wheel.
No matter whether you win or lose on that bet on red, if you bet red again on the next spin of the wheel, are the same: 47.
The deck of cards has 18 red cards in it, 18 black cards in it, and 2 jokers.
If you bet on red, you have a 47.
Have the odds of getting another red card changed?
Now suppose you get red five times in a row.
The chances of being dealt a red card on the next play have gone down to 13 divided by 33, or 39.
Your expected value is 54.
On the other hand, if you remove all of the fives from a deck, the EOR is so great that it would make almost any blackjack game a for the player.
The higher the count is, the more you bet.
If you have a wide enough betting range, say anywhere from 1 unit to 10 units, this is a remarkably easy and effective system.
Most people are looking for more of an edge than this simple count offers, though, and they use slightly more complicated systems.
Not all systems are balanced.
All card counting systems estimate multiple factors related to their effectiveness.
We already discussed balanced systems versus unbalanced systems, but just to reiterate, a balanced system is one in which the count evens out to 0 when you count through the entire deck.
For example, the Hi-Lo system, which is quite popular, is a balanced system that counts aces and tens as -1 and counts any card ranked 2 through 6 as +1.
The Hi-Lo system is also an example of a single level system, because the cards are all valued at either +1 or -1.
A higher level card counting techniques blackjack might give different values to different cards.
For example, if a system counts aces as -2 and fives as +2, and then counts tens as -1 and 2s, 4s, and 6s as +1, then the system would be a multi level technique.
Some card counting systems go even further and require you to keep a side count of the aces that have been dealt.
The more complicated the rules for the system are, then the more accurate it is, but you need to remember that your system should also be practical.
Practice is necessary, but so is a simple enough strategy.
For example, if you spinand you source on black, then 18 of the possible outcomes are winners.
On your second spin, that same wager on black has the same number of potential winning outcome: 18.
In blackjack, though, the cards that have been dealt change the number of potential outcomes.
For example, if all four aces have been dealt, the probability of being dealt a natural 21 have been reduced to 0%.
As a general rule, a deck with a lot of high cards tens and aces left in it is better for the player, while a deck with a lot of low cards twos, threes, fours, fives, and sixes is better for the click />When the deck is rich in high cards, the player has a better chance of being dealt a natural, which pays out at 3 to 2.
Some of the advantage from counting cards is had from making some simple basic strategy changes.
When the deck is rich in lower ranked cards, to bust, making it harder for the player to win that way.
The 3 to 2 payout for a blackjack is where the counter gets most of his edge.
Most card counting techniques blackjack range their bets from 1 to 5 units based on source favorable the count is, but some even range their bets from 1 to 10 units.
You can see examples of camouflage in action inwhich shows one way in which a team takes advantage of a hot deck.
Card counting uses a heuristic method of tracking the ratio of high cards to low cards.
The Hi-Lo system is one of the most common ways of doing this.
In order to calculate the true count, you first estimate how many decks are still left in the shoe the device which holds the cards for the blackjack dealer.
Then you divide the running count by the number of decks left.
For example, if your running count is +4, and you estimate that 4 decks remain in the shoe, then the true count is +1.
The higher the count, the more you bet.
Competent counters can reducein which the player has a disadvantage of 1% or 2% to the casino, to an edge of 0.
In the short run, anything can happen, and even card counters with large bankrolls can go broke quickly if luck turns against them.
Besides short term fluctuations in the mathematics of the game, casinos will often refuse to let you play blackjack.
Other card counting strategies offer varying degrees of complexity in exchange for varying degrees of accuracy.
Most players look for a balance of practicality and play-ability when choosing a system.
Other pages on our site look at the card counting techniques blackjack of these other counting techniques.
Can Card Counting Beat a Continuous Shuffle Machine?
Members of a Christian card-counting group have had to wrestle with. card-counting techniques and sparked a smattering of blackjack clubs.
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