Blackjack card counters have been known to win millions at brick-and-mortar casinos by exploiting a flaw in the system. Although it may take some time and effort to perfect, most gamblers who are serious about increasing their odds of winning may master this strategy and use it to their advantage.
If you have the cash to spare, you may buy any number of books that claim to reveal the trade secrets of card counting. But I think you can learn to count cards effectively without ever setting foot in an Amazon store, and that’s why I wrote this piece.
A Definition of Card Counting.
In blackjack and related card games, card counting is a frequent tactic. Each card placed into play is assigned a numerical value, and the player tries to keep track of this total. When this tally puts the player ahead, the bettor raises the stakes. When a player is at a disadvantage, they tend to bet less.
Counting may seem like a simple concept, but there are actually several methods to select from. While some players are devoted to a particular system, others make it their goal to master as many as possible. Hi-Lo, KO, Omega II, Halves, and Zen Count are just a few of the more well-known names.
Online blackjack does not lend itself to card counting. Card counters can gain an advantage over live dealers since they employ many decks of cards and only shuffle occasionally. In the online version of the game, the decks are shuffled after each hand, so the advantage player can never have a good count.
Is It Wrong to Count Cards?
In conventional casinos, card counting is perfectly lawful. The presence of card counters is really welcomed by many businesses. That’s because most of them haven’t learned the craft yet, so their fancy strategies won’t amount to squat over the course of hundreds of hands. A novice card counter has as good a chance of going broke at the end of a session as someone who has never heard of the method.
Casinos have the right to refuse service to anyone, including professional card counters, and this is always the final resort. If a consumer is unable to play, the casino eliminates any potential loss. This turns into a battle of wits, with seasoned counters assuming disguises and trying to gain entry to bars where they’ve been turned away in the past.
Casinos in Atlantic City are not allowed to ban card counters from the premises. This is because of a 1979 Supreme Court of New Jersey ruling stemming from a case brought by Blackjack great Ken Uston.
Figure out the fundamentals
This is the foundation for winning at blackjack, as it details the optimal strategy for each of the 300 hands. It won’t ensure victory every time, but it will offer you a significant mathematical advantage over those who take a shot in the dark. It reduces the advantage the casino has over the player, which is always welcome.
This is the starting point for anyone serious about becoming a professional card counter. Anyone who dives into learning a numbering system before committing certain fundamental tactics to memory is setting themselves up for failure.
I won’t be able to cover every aspect of fundamental strategy here, but there are plenty of resources online that do. Better yet, it’s completely free of charge for your use.
Master the Hi-Lo system.
Hi-Lo is a popular card counting system in which the player is instructed to give a value of +1 to each card with a rank between 2 and 6. The values of 7–9 are interpreted as 0, and those of 10–Ace as 1.
If the count is high, you should raise your bets accordingly. Why? Because the count shows that inferior cards have been dealt, leaving the better face cards and aces for potential blackjacks.
If the tally is at or below zero, you should reduce the size of your wagers. This is due to the fact that many of the best cards have already been used, leaving you with the difficult challenge of creating a winning hand with just the lowest cards available, such as threes and fives.
To become a proficient card counter, you need just learn fundamental strategy and the Hi-Lo system. Then it’s just a matter of practice and hopefully not getting blacklisted from any of the local gambling establishments.
The Importance of Real-World Practice
Playing in a real casino is better than playing at home no matter how much experience you have. Since this is the end goal of all your hard work, you might as well familiarize yourself with the difficulties you’ll face when you get there.
The game’s tempo is the most noticeable change, however the loud crowd and constant noise are also factors. The casino staff have to be taken into consideration as well, especially since some of them may approach you if your success as a card counter becomes clear.
My greatest recommendation is to try out several games in a real casino with relatively little stakes. After you’ve gotten used to the action, you can return with more money to play for keeps.
You don’t need to spend money on books to learn how to count cards well; there’s enough of it freely available online. Once you understand the fundamentals of the game, all it takes to get better is practice.
However, keep in mind that learning how to count cards might be a source of frustration. People long beyond their undergraduate years may feel unprepared to memorize, and the live environment of a casino is much more merciless than your home table. Some inexperienced card counters may be overwhelmed by the presence of one or more hostile pit bosses.
Card counting is a proven method for improving your odds of winning at blackjack, despite these challenges. It’s the most effective strategy for reducing the casino’s advantage and, with any luck, coming out ahead.