The term card counting is something that most Americans are familiar with, even if they don’t know much about gambling. Card counting is a term used to describe certain techniques that a gambler can employ while playing a Blackjack in order to reverse the house edge and give themselves the advantage. For this reason, many players from the USA are very curious about this technique and want to know more. We here at Casino US thought we’d put a detailed article together about the subject and tell you all about card counting, what it is, when it works, and when it doesn’t.
Card Counting, What Is It?
Before we get any further in this article, we should probably briefly define what the term means. The term card counting refers to a technique where a player is able to track what cards have already been dealt. If they know what cards have been dealt, they have a better idea of what cards remain. This allows card counters to better predict what cards will be dealt next and they can increase the size of their bet if they have a better chance of winning. If done correctly, a player can reverse the house edge in a game of Blackjack and give themselves an advantage of between 0.5 and 1% over the casino.
Players must keep in mind that card counting is not some magical way to win every hand. There will still be losses of money, especially if done incorrectly. For this reason, a large bankroll is normally required for counting cards. In addition to this, while it is legal and not officially considered cheating, it is still frowned upon by casinos. Typically, most players who try to count cards do it incorrectly and the casino benefits, but if you’re doing it properly and winning large sums of money, expect the casino to ask you to leave if you’re caught.
Why You Should Consider Counting Cards
When it comes to getting an advantage over the casino, counting cards is simply the best way to do it. Other options, such as past-posting and base dealing, are 100% considered cheating and should not be done at all. If an American player is caught doing these, they will definitely be prosecuted. Counting cards, on the other hand, is legal, as technically it is just a way of playing strategically.
Using any aids to count cards, such as apps on your phone, is not though. As long as the player is doing everything in their head, it’s legal to do. So, there really isn’t any reason not to do it, but players should make sure they don’t get caught. While a player can’t be charged, the casino is likely to ask them to leave.
When it comes to playing at an online casino, unfortunately, counting cards is largely ineffective. This is because of the way the games are set up and the random number generators that are used to determine the next card that is drawn.
Card Counting Method of Choice
Finally, the moment many of our readers have been waiting for. So, how do you actually go about counting cards? Well, in truth there are several methods that can be used. Many of these methods are overly complicated, so we’d recommend starting off with the simplest method. Called the Hi-Lo system, it revolves around assigning a number to cards of a high value, low value and neutral value. This allows you to figure out if there’s a better chance of high or low-value cards being dealt next.
Players need to start the process as soon as the round begins. Cards with a value between 1 and 6 are low-value cards and are assigned a value of +1, 7-9 are neutral and get a value of 0. Everything above 9 is a high value and gets assigned a -1 value. Once all the hands have been dealt, you total everything up, and if you have a positive value, then it means that there were more low-value cards dealt in the previous round. Card counting is less useful at the beginning of a round but gets more accurate as more card are dealt.
There are many other card counting methods, but many of them are more complicated. Some believe the more complex systems allow the counts to be more accurate. There might be some truth to that, but in practice, there is little to no benefit in using them. The more complex the system, the easier it is to make mistakes and the slower you’ll have to play. Playing more rounds, more quickly is the best way to go.
How to Keep Your Card Counting a Secret
Using a simpler card counting method, like the Hi-Lo technique we just spoke about, is the easiest way to stay undetected. You don’t need to be a mathematical genius to do it, and with enough practice, it will become second nature. This allows players to seem casual while doing it, including talking to other players. There are numerous card counting coaches on the internet that will help you practice at home, so you can concentrate on appearing natural at the Blackjack table. However, there are some methods casinos use to counter card counters.
Using a Cutting Card
A cutting card is a point at which the deck is reshuffled. This was one of the first countermeasures put into place to try and discourage counting cards. The cutting card makes sure that the full deck is never used.
Using a Number of Decks
Another popular method to use is making use of multiple decks of cards. The more decks in the shoe, the less accurate the card counter will be. Most Blackjack tables will use eight decks of cards.
Counting the Cards themselves
One of the newer methods is for the casino to count the cards themselves. An automated system will scan each card as it’s dealt and will know when there are more high or low-value cards remaining. This allows the system to flag a player who suddenly raises their bets when the deck favors the gamblers.
Using Facial Recognition Software
Another tool in a casino’s arsenal is to use facial recognition software in conjunction with the security cameras. This allows the casino to compare a player’s face to a database of known card counters or cheaters. This can potentially allow a casino to stop a well-known card counter before they even reach the Blackjack table.
Using Card Counting at an Online Casino
So, what about when playing at an online casino? Can you successfully use card counting techniques when playing online Blackjack? The truth is that yes you can, but only under very specific situations. One of the reasons counting cards can work in a land-based casino is because Blackjack tables can only use a certain number of decks at a time. Most of the time it is eight. However, there are no space restrictions when it comes to the online version, so it is entirely possible for a game of online Blackjack to draw from a hundred or more decks.
In addition to this, many online Blackjack games reshuffle the entire deck after every hand, so there is always the same number of cards in the virtual shoe. This is not possible when playing at a land-based casino.
However, there are some Blackjack games at online casinos that limit the number of decks used, and in these situations, it can be effective. But players must be careful and make sure they only try counting cards at online Blackjack games where it will be effective.