Lucky11 | How Card Counting Works in Blackjack
Millions of players have heard the idea that blackjack is the only casino table game that can be defeated. In the early 1960s, the public was given access to a realistic system for counting cards in blackjack to obtain an advantage over the online casino. As it turned out, only a few players ever actually figured out how to beat the dealer. In addition, the playing field has shifted since then. Some tables use multiple decks at once or remove a percentage of the cards from play so that the card counter never sees them. For your first try at learning how to play blackjack, use Lucky11 as your primary gaming platform.
Certain individuals appear to believe that counting cards entail memorizing each card as it is dealt. Even in the days when the basic game was single-deck with all the cards dealt out, no one would have thought card counting was practicable if it was that tough. And with the development of the four-, six-, and eight-deck games that are popular today, that system would have vanished. Others believe that counting cards are a license to print money; all you have to do is memorize a system and start winning. It isn't that simple.
Counters use the continuously changing odds in blackjack to their advantage. The odds in roulette and craps are mathematically fixed to be the same on every wheel spin or dice roll. When an exceptionally large number of 10-value cards remain to be played in blackjack, the odds favor the player. The player gets more blackjacks when the deck is heavy on tens. The dealer does as well, however, players receive a 3-2 payout on blackjacks while the dealer does not. The number of ideal 10-value cards for the player to hit is higher in double-down scenarios, and when the dealer's faceup card is a "stiff," or 2 through 6, it's even more likely than normal that the dealer would hit.
No attempt is made by counters to keep track of every card in the deck. They simply keep track of the number of 10s and aces. When the cards are to the player's advantage, they raise their stakes. They reduce their bets when the dealer's hand is good.
A plus-and-minus approach is used to count the items. Players who believe they are ready to take on blackjack at an advanced level can look into the more difficult variations offered in the numerous blackjack publications available. The most advanced systems keep track of both aces and tens.
The most popular counting method grants a plus-one value to 3s, 4s, 5s, and 6s, and a minus-one value to 10s, jacks, queens, and kings. The rest of the cards are considered neutral. Add one to the count every time a 3 through 6 is dealt. Subtract one every time a 10-value card is dealt. The total is referred to as a "running count." The running count is plus-six if ten 3s through 6s have been played but only four 10s. This must be converted to the number of decks in the game by dividing by the approximate number of decks left in the shoe or the dealer's hand. If the running count is plus-six and around three cards are remaining the shoe in a six-deck game, divide plus-six by three to achieve a "true count" of plus-two.
A word of caution: Because you increase your stake whenever the deck is favorable, using a counting technique demands a significantly greater bankroll than flat betting, which involves spending the same amount every hand. When flat-betting, you might be fine with buying 10 bets' worth of chips ($10 at a $1 table, $50 at a $5 table), but when counting cards, you'll need at least 30 bets' worth.
Card counters, like any other basic strategy player, lose more hands than they win, regardless of their skill level. They're hoping to make up for it by winning larger bets in favorable circumstances. However, occasionally advantageous scenarios just do not present themselves; it is conceivable to count down six-deck shoe after six-deck shoe without ever encountering a truly favorable situation. Even on a favorable count, the cards might sometimes go in the incorrect direction. Even for those who know how to count and what to do, there are no assurances.
Finally, if the casino suspects you of card counting, it may take action. Card-counting is not prohibited anywhere in the United States, but Nevada courts have ruled that casinos are private clubs with the right to impose their own rules and that counters can be barred from playing. Players cannot be barred in other states, but casinos can increase the percentage of cards taken out of play to make the countless accurate. They can also take steps to make the player feel uneasy, such as having a supervisor stand behind the table and stare directly at the player while another supervisor stands behind the player's shoulder.
If you want to learn how to count cards, start at home. Play cards with yourself or on a computer. Continue practicing until you can count without moving your lips, forehead furrowing with concentration, or showing any other telltale indicators of counting. Limit your wagers to one- to eight-unit increments. A broader range will raise the suspicions of the casino. Also, keep your sessions to a minimum. When counting cards, don't stay in one position for more than an hour.