How Blackjack Card Counting Works

Blackjack can be considered a game of skill due to the fact that player’s decisions can seriously affect the final outcome, but that this not the only reason the game is so popular among both land-based and online casino enthusiasts. The Las Vegas classic also features the lowest house edge among all card and table games, at times less than 0.5%, and as such, it clearly gives the player a decent chance of turning a profit. And if we tell you that correct card counting strategy can lower the house edge by 0.5% to 1%, you will definitely want to learn more about the unique approach to Blackjack.

Blackjack Card Counting

The best thing about card counting is that you don’t have to be a genius to practise it, but it is rather quite easy to improve your winning chances using the standard Hi/Lo strategy. It is important to point out that card counting is not considered illegal, although the casino staff may still ban you from playing at the tables if they believe you are using said strategy to improve your winning odds.

Seeing as how ten value cards (Ace, King, Queen, Jack and Ten) favour the player and low-value cards improve the dealer’s chances of winning a hand, you need to know when the number of ten value cards left in the deck is higher than the average. That way, you can increase your standard stake to take full advantage of enhanced odds, and, at the same time, you can lower your stake when low-value cards dominate the deck.

In order to keep track of the overall tally, we need to assign a value to each card. All ten value cards appearing on the table are assigned -1 point, while cards 2 through 6 are assigned +1 point. Since they do not have such a big effect on potential outcome, cards 7, 8 and 9 are considered neutral and do not change the current point total (assigned zero points).

As you see, there is no need to memorise any of the cards on the table, but rather take notice of each, assign the corresponding value and calculate it into the current point total. Having said that, you will want to see the point tally at +4 or +5 before increasing your stake, since that means that remaining cards in the deck are more likely to be ten value and thus favouring the player over the dealer. If the current point tally is negative, the dealer has an extra advantage over you, so you will be better off lowering your stake.

Seeing as how the dealer is required to hit when his point total is 16 or lower, extra ten value cards in the deck are more likely to make him bust and thus help the player turn a nice profit, while cards 2 through 6 can help him get closer to 21 and likely win the hand in question. This is the reason why card counting can seriously improve your winning chances, letting you know when you should bet more due to having the extra edge over the dealer and when your stake should be decreased given that it is the dealer who has the advantage.

Blackjack Card counting is not too difficult to master

Card counting is not too difficult to master, but it takes some time to practise it so as to ensure that you can do it effortlessly and thus avoid getting caught. As we have already said, this kind of strategy is not illegal, meaning you don’t have to fear any repercussion, but considering that the casino staff knows all too well that expert card counters are able to neutralise the house edge, they will not exactly welcome you with open arms if they see what you are doing.

The casino staff will suspect foul play if they see that you are fully focused on keeping track of all the cards on the table, since that is not really how an average Blackjack player is expected to behave. You should rather try to seem as relaxed as possible, chatting with the dealer and fellow players, but at the same time not forgetting about your strategy.

And while card counting depends on fairly regular alterations to your stake, make sure not to double your stake as soon as the point total is positive, but rather increase your wagers gradually to avoid raising red flags with pit bosses. A good idea is to start changing your stake for different hands from the very moment you sit at the table, as that may tell the casino staff that it is your normal modus operandi, rather than a strategy tied to card counting.

To sum it up, card counting is undoubtedly the best possible strategy for winning at Blackjack, but make sure to only start using it in brick and mortar casinos after you have mastered all the aspects, since that is the only way to avoid unwanted scenarios.

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