Most games like roulettes or slots rely on luck and chance. The house always has the advantage, and most players lose more than they win. There’s very little you can do to control these games, which means the casino continues to make a profit while players win occasionally and lose often. Blackjack is different because it is possible to control the game and shift the advantage in your favor. You can do this by card counting, which doesn’t require you to be a mathematical genius of any sort.
What Is Blackjack?
In this game, the player needs to get as close to 21 points in cards as they can while playing against the dealer. Players are free to use any strategy to place their bets, but the dealers have to follow a series of simple betting rules. This gives you a slight advantage over the house, and card counting can improve that advantage by a considerable margin over time.
A Brief Look At Card Counting
It all started with a mathematician named Ed Throp. He figured out how to make a positive expectation and devices a number of strategies to help improve the odds. Throp went on to write the bestselling book “Beat the Dealer.” He got the ball rolling, and several professional Blackjack players followed in his footsteps. Many came up with their unique card counting strategies and techniques.
Card counting works because the logic behind it is simple. If there’s a high concentration of big value cards like tens and aces in the shoe, there’s a high chance you’ll get blackjacks, and the dealer will go over 21. If there’s a low concentration of high-value cards in the shoe, the dealer is less likely to go over 21, and you’re less likely to get a blackjack.
When you understand these odds, you can come up with a way to keep track of the type of cards in the shoe and place your bets accordingly. This isn’t as easy as it sounds and requires a lot of mental focus, but it can be done. You just need to master a card counting technique that fits your abilities and practice as much as you can.
Card Counting Strategies
There are several different counting techniques. Some are easy and suitable for beginners while others require a flair for numbers and experience. One of the most basic and common strategies used by card counters is Hi-Low. Before you learn card counting strategies, take the time to make sure you understand the game well. Here’s a look at how it works:
1. Understand The Basic Concept
In the Hi-Low counting technique, you need to assign a specific value to high cards (-1) and a specific value (+1) to low-value cards. So numbers 2 to 6 are assigned +1 values, numbers 7 to 9 are assigned 0 values, and numbers 10 to Ace are assigned -1 values. As the cards are dealt, you can assign one, subtract one, or do nothing based on the number on the cards. It is important to understand it fully before making a choice.
2. Maintaining a Running Count
The next step is to maintain a running count of all the cards you have been dealt with. You will need to maintain this count throughout the game and ensure you don’t lose track of it. Here’s a look at how you can do this:
- Look at the card in the shoe and assign the value according to guidelines mentioned above.
- You need to add or subtract based on every card you see in the shoe.
- You need to do this for every card that comes out of the shoe. Keep counting until the dealer reshuffles all the cards.
This is sufficient to understand how much of an edge you have in single-deck blackjack games. Unfortunately, the days of single deck games are long gone. Today, most casinos use multiple decks to confuse card counters. Fortunately, it is easy to learn and master how to count cards in blackjack with 6 decks or 8 decks. You just need to learn a more advanced strategy.
3. Calculating the True Count
The best way to defeat the multi-deck game is to run a true count, which is the count per deck. Here’s a look at how to run the true count on six decks:
- Determine the running count following the method mentioned above.
- Divide the running count by the number of decks remaining. For example, if you have determined the running count with the first deck and five decks are remaining, divide the count by +5. If your running count is +5 and you have five decks remaining, your true count is +1.
- Take a look at the discard tray between hands to determine how many decks you have left. It is important to keep track of the number of decks in the game to ensure your true count is accurate.
This strategy can also be applied to 8 decks, you just need to adjust the numbers accordingly. It is a good idea to practice how to count cards in Blackjack with 8 decks before attempting to play. This requires more focus and mental capabilities because the values are higher.
4. Where To Bet
Once you understand how to count, it is easier to understand where to place your bets. You’ll have a better chance of winning at blackjack with positive numbers that go beyond +2. The higher the count, the more you should bet. If the count is below +2 or in the negative, it is best to avoid betting or betting low.
Most people believe that card counting is illegal, but it isn’t. You’re not cheating, just using your powers of observation to outwit the casino. Naturally, the casinos don’t want it and will do their level best minimize their losses.
When they spot a card counter, they exercise their right to deny service and kick them out. They look for players who are fully focused on the game and stop their play. You can avoid detection by simply making sure your focus isn’t obvious.