Card Counting Basics

As I said on Monday, I am not an advocate of card counting. Though it is legal, it is frowned upon in casinos and can get you in a lot of trouble, including being banned from the chain. Not only that, but it is impossible to count cards when playing online blackjack. However, for those who want to know about the technique, I have decided to share a little about it.

Card counting is based on the fact that high cards are better for the player than the dealer, due to house rules such as blackjack paying out 3:2. For that reason, a card counter will increase the bet when he determines that a deck is rich in tens. But how do you count the cards?

First of all, there are single-level counting systems and multi-level card counting systems. The single-level system is the simplest and easiest to learn. In this system, every card gets a value of +1 or -1. In this system, high cards are given a value of -1 and low cards are given a +1 value. When the count gets high, that means there are still a lot of high cards remaining, in which case it is wise to increase the bet.

Multi-level card counting systems are a little trickier and take more time to learn. In these card counting systems, instead of having only two values – low and high – you rank the cards by how low and high they are. Many multi-level counting systems will assign values of +1, +2, +3,-1, -2 and -3 to the cards. These card counting systems are more accurate but are much more difficult to do. Also, these systems are more difficult to do covertly and remember that you don’t want to get caught counting cards.

Card counting systems can also be balanced or unbalanced. In a balanced card counting system, the starting total is always zero. In a 52-card deck, there would be 26 positive cards and 26 negative cards that cancel them out. If it’s a single-level system, for example, that means there are 26 cards with a +1 value and 26 with a -1.

Unbalanced card counting systems do not have all of the points add up to zero. Instead, the count starts with a number that is determined by accounting for the number of decks in the game and now far into the deck the dealer is.

There is, of course, much more to learn when it comes to blackjack card counting. I might cover it in more detail in the future, but now you have the basics. Remember that even if you wanted to count cards at an online casino, it won’t work. The computer programs and lack of a real deck make card counting techniques worthless when playing online blackjack. Instead, you should simply stick to basic strategy.

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