Card counting is one of the most frowned upon blackjack strategies that you come across. Many negativities surround the skill of counting cards in blackjack, and there are many myths about it. Many casinos could ban you from the casino for counting cards. This blackjack strategy gives players an edge over the house, meaning the casino could potentially lose money before you can even get started with counting cards. You need to understand how it works. Our experts are sharing inside information on blackjack card counting below.
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The act of card counting is essentially a system where you keep track of the ratio of high and low cards. It requires both skill and speed, and once you are comfortable with the blackjack strategy, it will become easier for you. The blackjack skill requires you to be good with math and have a good memory. Card counting uses a lot of probability and statistics; therefore, understanding mathematics works in your favor.
How the system works is that it helps you figure out what the odds are for a card of decks having more cards that are worth aces or 10. This particular deck of cards will be favorable to you, other than the dealer allowing you to bet more.
The idea of the strategy is that you will assign blackjack card values to the cards in the deck depending on their value. You will need to keep an accurate count as the cards get dealt, as you need to be able to keep track of the running value of cards left in the deck. By using the strategy well, you can bring down the house edge to 0.5%.
Here is a step-by-step on how online blackjack card counting works.
- You will assign the cards a value. For example, card 2 to 6 will be +1, cards 7 to 9 will be zero, and cards 10 to ace will be -1.
- Each time the dealer deals a card from the deck, you must keep a running count of the cards that are left in the deck using the values that you have assigned.
- If at the end of the round, your count is negative, you will then have to increase the size of your bet. This is simply because they are lower-value cards that remain in the deck. Should at the end of the round your count as positive, you will lower your bet size.
There are several systems or strategies that you can use when counting cards. Below we look at the top three most popular techniques.
1. Card Counting Basic Strategy
The most accessible blackjack card counting system is known as the hi-lo strategy. This is how the strategy works.
- Cards ranging from 10 to ace are known as high cards and carry – 1.
- Cards 2 to 6 are known as low cards and carry a value of +1
- The remaining cards, which include 7, 8, and 9, have 0.
With each card dealt, you will either subtract or add 1. For example, should the Queen be dealt, you will then subtract 1 as this is a high card. If the dealer deals a 4 next, you will then add one. This means your total is now at 0. This entire process is known as a running count, and you will continue doing this until the deck is reshuffled.
2. Omega II strategy
The strategy is a more balanced technique where zero is used at the base. A positive count in this strategy means they are more low cards that are present in the deck. And negative count means that there’s a larger number of high cards that is remaining in the deck.
- 2, 3, and 7 carry the value of 1
- 4, 5, and 6 carry the value of 2
- 8 and Aces carry the value of 0
- 9 carries the value of – 1
- 10 to King carry the value of -2
3. Wong Halves
This is an advanced strategy which was named after its creator Stanford Wong. The strategy uses fraction values, and once the deck is dealt completely, your count should be at zero. The strategy is advanced as it uses fraction values rather than hold values.
- 3, 4 and 6 carry the value of 1
- 2 and 7 carry the value of 0.5
- 5 carries the value of 1.5
- 8 carries the value of 0
- 9 carries the value of -0.5
- 10 to King carry the value of -1
FAQs About Counting Cards
Is Counting Cards Illegal?
No, the playing strategy is not illegal; however, it is frowned upon as the odds are in favour of the players.
You will need to give cards in the deck a value then keep a running count of the cards dealt from the deck. Depending on the number you have at the end of the deck, you will increase or decrease your bet amount
If the player increases or decreases their bet amount in patterns unfamiliar to you, you’ll be able to tell if they are counting cards. When playing at land based casinos, you will also tell by the utmost concentration on their face. However, if you’re not familiar with counting cards, you can easily look past this.
When starting with the strategy, it can be hard to grasp counting cards. However, the more you practice, the easier it will get.
It is important to remember that counting cards is not illegal. Of course, the casinos frown upon this strategy and may ask you to leave the casino, or they could ban you. However, that’s as bad as it can get.
There are several blackjack counters. Ben Affleck, Ida Summers, Thomas Hyland, Dominic LoRiggio as well as some members of the MIT blackjack team are known as the best card counters.
Some casinos will not have an issue with you counting cards, such as web-based casinos. It is difficult to count cards as these games are played with a random number generator. However, with land-based casinos, some frown upon it and may ask you to leave or ban you from the casino.
Yes, this is a skill that some players will always have. Of course, card counting only works best at land-based casinos because it is better to see and not use a random number generator to create outcomes in blackjack.
Yes, it is also best to use this skill on your own to avoid prying eyes or getting into any kind of trouble. Having a person count cards on your behalf may also come across as cheating, and we don’t recommend it.
Yes, several professional blackjack players count cards. Not only have they focused on becoming professional players of the game, with the commitment that they put into the game, they can easily count card while playing the game well and managing their money skills.