Card Counting in Blackjack

Blackjack, often known as twenty-one, is one of the most popular casino games globally, with over 100 million players annually. In this high-stakes card game, you must try to defeat the dealer by collecting as many cards as possible that total 21 points or more. While the dealer must adhere to a straightforward set of betting rules, the gambler can employ any method they see fit. And, contrary to common assumption, anyone can learn to count cards in blackjack with enough practice, and, even though you’re “counting cards,” you do not recall which cards have been played.

What is card counting?

Don’t be alarmed if you believe you have to recall every card dealt to you; this is not the case. That is not the case. There is a mechanism in place to assist you in keeping things simple. Assigning numerical values to cards makes it easier for a player to keep track of how many cards he has. Counting cards 2-6, 7-9, and aces are tallied as -1, whereas face cards and aces are counted as +1 and 0, respectively. It is a typical card counting approach utilized by blackjack players worldwide. The house edge in blackjack is relatively low compared to most other casino games played. To win money at the blackjack table, you must first and foremost reduce the house edge to a positive number. A card counter is an individual who can better forecast which card will get chosen from the deck, and doing so requires both talent and knowledge on the part of the counter. You must also keep track, at least mentally, of all the cards that are no longer in play since they got played at some point throughout the gameplay.

Contrary to what any casino would like you to believe, card counting is not prohibited by law. You are not cheating; instead, you are merely out-thinking the house’s strategy. However, casinos know that card counters can cause them to lose money. They also use their authority to refuse service to anybody they choose by looking for and ejecting suspected gamblers from their establishment. The rule of card counting is to maintain track and tally of the cards in your head while having a glance at the high-value and low-value cards that have previously been handed out. When the player has mentally estimated the composition of the remaining cards in the deck, they may decide what to do next. As a result, he might increase his bets when the circumstance is good.

When a player uses card counting to evaluate whether the following hand will offer a probable advantage to the dealer or them, the player is referred to as the dealer. Card counters are considered “advantage players,” as they can reduce the casino’s house edge and increase their chances of winning. 

Counting card strategies in BlackJack

  • High-low

Other card counting systems are available, but possibly the best and most straightforward system is known as High-Low. Other card counting systems are available, but perhaps the most exemplary and straightforward system is known as High-Low. When using the High-Low technique, the card counter has to keep a basic mental tally of three sets of cards, which is very easy to remember. They deduct one from their total for every high number card played on the table (the tens and all face cards). The counter adds one to their total for every low number card (the twos through the sixes) that is dealt. There is no consideration to the middle cards (the sevens, eights, and nines).

If, for example, the running tally is at +3, this indicates that the future cards are more likely to be high, making it profitable for the player to place large bets on the hand in question. It is preferable to place small bets if your total is -2 because the dealer’s chances favor the low cards to be dealt with next. Furthermore, when the deck is shuffled, the count returns to zero. With enough practice, this basic tally will become second nature. Practice, on the other hand, is the key to success. A long-term strategy, card counting, requires you to play by the book game after game while keeping track of the cards being dealt and flipped on the table. To maintain your 1 percent edge, you must play by the book game after game while keeping track of the cards being dealt and flipped on the table. And in a lively casino with a constant stream of players arriving and leaving, remaining focused is essential.

  • Ace five count

The ace-five count is the most straightforward counting method because it keeps two cards. A large betting spread must get used for the ace-five count to be effective. Whenever the count is positive, you double the value of your previous wager, and the count continues to rise as the count increases. Depending on the situation, you’ll have a spread of 1 to 16 or 1 to 32 units instead of a betting spread f 1 to 6 units.

With the ace-five count, you won’t see much improvement in overall playing efficiency. The link between wagers is accurate enough to provide you with a slight advantage in betting odds. Because casinos despise card counters, you’re likely to attract the attention of the casino’s security guards. However, the ace-five count is ideal for dipping your toes in the water.

  • Tens and aces

This line of reasoning would be impossible to carry out without the aces and tens in the deck of cards. It may seem clear why having a deck with a more significant proportion of such cards would be advantageous to the player, but I prefer to explain this concept with a simple example in the other direction. Consider a deck of cards in which all four aces got dealt in the first hand. The likelihood of getting aces has reduced to zero percent in the absence of any aces. A blackjack is unachievable without having an ace and a 10 in your hand at the same time. Every ace that you are dealt decreases your chances of being dealt blackjack in the future. Aces are more valuable than tens, which is why some games utilize a side count of aces to help them plan their strategic decisions. The tens are also crucial, although they are perhaps less so because there are so many in the deck. There are also four jacks and four queens, and four kings in the deck in addition to the four tens. While some card counting tactics include the nine as a high card, the 10s and aces are typically given greater weight in such systems, which is why they are called “high card” systems.

  • Group play

Some card counters work together as a team to complete their task. This advantage is that numerous decks on various tables may be counted simultaneously, saving time. The team members communicate with one another using signals to avoid being detected. They can use this information to instruct hovering players to join a hand and wager big or little money.

  • Card counting apps

Although it is simple to explain blackjack card counting as a strategy, learning and mastering the skill is extremely tough. Because card counting is a mental game, participants must not only be able to memorize, but they must also have a mathematical bent of mind and be able to process numbers in their heads exceptionally quickly. There are, however, applications available for blackjack players to utilize to master the card counting strategy, which makes the work a little simpler. A few gadgets can also assist players in card counting when playing blackjack in a casino setting. Although these applications and devices help learn the skill, they should not get used in a real casino where such assistance is prohibited.

Can one count cards on online blackjack?

When playing blackjack online, you can keep track of your cards. However, because most online casinos utilize software that shuffles the cards every time a new hand is given, it might be difficult to tell which cards are. You can use several programs to count the cards for you, but they usually are not permitted to be used.

In exchange for these advantages, you may count cards from the comfort of your own home without the chance of being caught by the casino, as could occur if you attempted to count cards in a traditional land-based casino. You should not count cards at a land-based blackjack table unless you have practiced and are confident in your ability to count cards online. If you opt to play for real money online, you should be aware that some sites use software that shuffles cards virtually every time a new hand is given, so be cautious. Due to this, it is becoming increasingly difficult to count cards and earn money online.

How do casinos counter card counting?

  • Banning winners

It is a pretty visible countermeasure that casinos frequently use to combat card counters in their establishments. Even though it is unlawful to stop any player from playing in a casino unless he has broken any rules, some casinos block blackjack players who have won huge sums of money from returning to the casino. According to this theory, all future victories are the product of card counting procedures employed by the player in question to increase their odds of winning.

  • Continuous Shuffling Machines

Card counting can significantly reduce its effectiveness when used in conjunction with Continuous Shuffling Machines. In this scenario, the dealer returns the cards previously dealt with the machine for reshuffling. The dealer essentially puts the cards back in and pulls them out of the machine virtually continually, resulting in such a shuffle of the cards that card counting would be exceedingly impossible.

  • Using multiple decks

Card counting appears to be more difficult in a six- or eight-deck blackjack game than it is in a single-deck game of blackjack. The bigger the number of cards in play, the more difficult it is to track how many remain. As a result, casinos prefer to use many decks of cards to avoid card counting to the greatest extent feasible.

Concluding thoughts

To catch card counters, casinos use the most extraordinary professionals available. The vast majority of casinos employ former or retired card counters. They used to participate in the game; thus, they are well-versed in identifying other card counters. Casino security is on the lookout for things like large bet spreads, defined as the difference between the table’s lowest wager and the player’s maximum stake during a favorable counting situation. Counters frequently shift from placing a little bet to placing a large one in a short time. They are also on the lookout for players who arrive at the table in the middle of the game and place enormous bets. 

These players often employ a spotter to seem to be high rollers while being low rollers themselves. Because of this, some casinos outright prohibit players from joining in the middle of a shoe. Additionally, card counters tend to stray from sound strategy in various ways, such as splitting 10s, standing on 15 or 16, or double on a soft 19 or 20. When casinos detect the presence of a card counter, they will urge them to leave immediately. They will then inform the other casinos and submit surveillance video of the card counter placed on watch lists. Card counters may quickly become banned across numerous casinos, requiring them to migrate from casino to casino and even from town to town to continue playing the games they love.