Posts Tagged ‘card counting strategy’

Card Counting Basics

Wednesday, May 5th, 2010

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.

Blackjack Card Counting

Monday, May 3rd, 2010

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.