Blackjack Card Counting

Okay, I have put off writing about card counting for this long, for a variety of reasons. The most obvious reason is that this website is primarily geared toward online blackjack and card counting does not work online. However, I have covered other topics that are applicable only to blackjack games played in a brick and mortar casino.

Other reasons I have put off writing about card counting is that if you do it wrong, you could lose a lot of money. People often increase their bets when they think the count is in their favor and then get cleaned out because they were counting cards wrong, had the wrong number of decks, or made some other sort of mistake. For that reason, before using it in a casino – if you do it at all – then you should make sure you know what you’re doing.

The other major reason I do not advocate card counting is that casinos frown upon it. It is true that card counting is not cheating and it is not against the law. However, if a casino catches you counting cards, you will be removed from the premises and possibly banned. There are current court battles over whether or not that practice by the casinos is legal. Rest assured, though, that you do not want to get caught counting cards. For that reason, I do not advocate that strategy and instead say to use blackjack basic strategy, which reduces the house edge to a miniscule 0.5%.

Having said that, though, I know that a lot of the blackjack players who visit websites such as this one want to know about card counting, either to simply further their knowledge or so they can try it for themselves. For that reason, I have decided to cover the basics for card counting and will write a series on the subject this week. Here is some basic information just to give you a little background. Again, remember that card counting does not work in online blackjack.

The idea behind card counting is the fact that a deck that is rich in tens is beneficial for the player. Because of rules like splitting, doubling and the 3:2 payout for a natural blackjack, 10-value cards help the player more than the dealer. Therefore, when counting cards you are attempting to discern how many tens remain in play. If the deck is rich in tens then you would increase your bet but if it is low in tens you would be more conservative.

Rain Man introduced most of the world to card counting and in doing so, it perpetuated a myth about the strategy. That myth is the idea that you have to be either a mathematical genius or a savant to be a card counter. That is not true. In fact, if you can count to one, you are capable of card counting. The simplest form of card counting is a high-low count, where each card that is dealt is given either a value of +1 or -1 . You then either add or subtract one from the count whenever a card is dealt and raise or lower your bet depending on how high or low that count is.

That doesn’t sound too tough, does it? That’s because it’s not. Certainly card counting is more complex than counting to one and there are many different types of card counting techniques, though. I will cover the subject in more depth throughout the week.

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