Card counting is an interesting aspect of blackjack that professional players learn to increase their winning chances. It is a math-based strategy used in the game to determine whether the next hand will be of your advantage. Card counting gives players an idea of the remaining cards in the deck that are yet to be dealt, so they can make better decisions and minimize losses.
Learning to Count Cards
You can count cards to plan your next move. This is done by assigning a value to each card of the deck as the cards are dealt. Let us explain the trick step by step below.
Step 1- Assign a Value to Every Card:
You should start by assigning a value to each card in the deck.
2-6 valued as +1
7 to 9 valued as 0
10 to Ace valued as -1
As each card gets dealt, it should be either added or subtracted from the value. The counting starts at 0.
Step 2- Keep a Running Count:
As the cards are dealt, start the card counting at 0. If you have been dealt with a 2, 4, 7, 6, Ace, and a King, then the count is +2. You cannot count the dealer’s face done until it is flipped. The count goes on till the dealer shuffles the cards again. The counting continues as the cards get dealt from the deck, and betting decisions can be made based on it. A positive count means high-valued cards are still in circulation and vice-versa.
The same card counting can be used to play the game of online blackjack. Players can start counting after the cards are dealt. If the running count is positive, this means the undealt cards are mostly high. Hence, the players must increase the bet. In the opposite scenario, it is wise to decrease the bet.
If the running count increases, it is advantageous to the player, and if negative, it benefits the casino. In earlier days, when blackjack was played using a single deck, this running count was enough to decide whether to bet higher or lower. But now, casinos have started dealing with multiple decks to reduce cad counting practice and make it tougher for the players.
Hence, we strongly advise you to practice with a single deck first and then move on to multiple decks. Do not forget to add additional environmental disturbances while counting, as it will help you concentrate well in the real casino.
Step 3- Calculate the True Count:
As casinos got smarter and started using multiple decks to minimize card counting, using running count in a multiple deck game is not accurate. Instead, you have to count the True Count, which is the count per deck.
True Count is calculated by dividing the running count by the number of decks used in the game. For example, if the Running Count is 8 and we have 4 decks, the true count would be +2 (calculated as 10 ÷ 2).
So having a +8 running count with 1 deck is an entirely different scenario compared to 4 decks. With the second scenario, you know that you are at an advantage. This is why True Count is so important.
So, using these strategies, a card counter can have an extra edge over someone playing out of sheer luck. True count lets you know when it is time to change a strategy to make more money.
Step 4- Change Bets Based on the True Count Outcomes:
The game can get exhausting if you do not use the card counting technique. The proper use of card counting is to be able to change the strategy based on the True Count. You should raise your bet when the true count raises and small when the true count is neutral or negative. Without this final step, card counting is useless.
Why Does Card Counting Work?
So, when the remaining cards have a higher number of tens and aces, statistically, more blackjack will be dealt, and the dealer will bust (go over 21). On the other hand, when a higher concentration of small cards remains, statistically, fewer blackjack will be dealt, and the dealer is less likely to bust. Blackjack pays 150% of your bet. So mathematically speaking, this card counter can help you place bets if carefully you keep track of the count. Place bigger bets when more high cards exist and vice versa. But honestly, the execution is tricky and needs a lot of practice and expertise to execute well.
The Bottom Line
Though card counting is not cheating yet, several casinos find it against their rules. You can be kicked out if you are caught counting cards in a casino. But that happens only when you are an amateur. After some practice, you can count the cards in your head and not make it evident in the casino that you are counting cards. After all, it is a smart strategy that will help you win bigger.
Photo by Dusan Kipic