Card Counting in Blackjack – The Ultimate Guide

It assigns the following values to the following cards:. If you come up against a dealer using multiple decks in a black jack game, you can still enlist the same Hi-Lo strategy; all you need to do is divide the running count by the number of decks remaining to give you what is commonly called a 'True Count'. The trainer uses a random shuffle, and shows you when the shuffle happens. The High-Low system is considered a level-one count, because the running count never increases or decreases by more than a single, predetermined value. Card counters may make unique playing strategy deviations not normally used by non-counters.

PROS AND CONS OF CARD COUNTING

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As you will soon see, that is not true. In fact, card counting is a strategy that anyone with average intelligence can learn. And you can get started with the help of this trainer. Card counting is a technique that lets blackjack players know when the advantage shifts in their favor. When this occurs, card counters will increase their bets.

When the advantage shifts in favor of the dealer, the counter will make a smaller bet or no bet at all by not playing.

Counters can gain a positive advantage over the casino by varying bets in this manner. The remaining cards — sevens, eights, and nines — are essentially neutral. After the dealer shuffles the cards, there is an equal number of high and low cards in the deck s. Depending on which cards are dealt in the early rounds, the ratio of high to low cards in the remaining undealt cards most likely will change.

For example, if more low than high cards were played in the early rounds, then the remaining undealt cards must have a greater concentration of high versus low cards.

When the latter occurs, card counters will bet more because they have a better chance of getting a blackjack with a bonus 3-to-2 payout and winning a double down. In addition, if dealers show a low card, they will break more frequently when hitting their hand. If instead the undealt cards contain a higher concentration of low cards, this benefits dealers; by casino rules, dealers must hit their 12 through 16 hands, and the excess concentration of low cards will increase their chances of getting a pat 17 through 21 hand while decreasing their chances of busting.

In the popular Hi-Lo card counting system used in this trainer, the tags of each card are as follows:. Card counters must watch every card that is played and arithmetically add the tags for each card. The count after the shuffle always starts at zero. If the running count is positive, depending on how many cards have been played, the counter may have the edge on the next round and he or she will bet more. The higher the positive count, and the more cards that have been played, the greater his or her edge, and the more the player will bet.

The advantage of doing this is that multiple decks, on multiple tables, can be counted simultaneously. Signals are usually devised so as the members of the team can secretly communicate with one another while avoiding detection.

Thus signaling to the hovering players when to join in a hand, and whether or not to bet big. This strategy was famously employed by a team of students and alumni at MIT who used it to win millions of dollars from multiple casinos for almost a decade.

Once uncovered, their escapades later became the subject of a best selling book and eventually a high grossing Hollywood movie.

One of the ways casinos try to counteract card counting is by using multiple decks, in theory making it harder for anyone counting cards to keep track of the running total. However, this is easily thwarted. If you come up against a dealer using multiple decks in a black jack game, you can still enlist the same Hi-Lo strategy; all you need to do is divide the running count by the number of decks remaining to give you what is commonly called a 'True Count'.

It's your true count figure, rather than your running count, that will dictate the advantage when multiple decks are involved, so it's imperative you still keep an accurate running total to enable you to work out the True Count value. For example, if your running total is 5 and there are 2 decks remaining, your true count will be 2. The Count Far and away the easiest strategy to master is the Hi-Lo approach. For first time card counters it's advisable to start here and see how you get on.

As your ability increases you can choose to advance to an alternative strategy should you feel it necessary. No one strategy is superior over another and each one gives you the same advantage over the house, so it really is a case of weighing up the different systems and adopting the approach you feel most comfortable with. A great way to practice is by using one of our free games here at Casino. An advantage of practicing card counting for blackjack online is that you are in the safety and comfort of your own home, although be aware that if you do decide to bet for real money some online casino sites do employ software that shuffles cards almost every time a new hand is dealt, making it increasingly difficult to count cards effectively.

Although the legal situation for card counting is still undetermined, it is definitely not a practice welcomed with open arms when at a physical casino. Although a casino and its operator cannot prosecute a card counting player, they can definitely make a situation and matters very unpleasant for someone caught counting cards. Since casino operators are well aware of the practice of cards being counted, they take quite a few measures to keep you from doing so.

You will find cameras for surveillance whenever you look up. Dealers are often switched when a table is considered "hot" by a pit boss.

Sometimes, the pit boss will get the dealer to force a shuffle once the hand being dealt is over. Remember, counting cards can be and is a lucrative strategy that works in your favour.

But it is important to be responsible and to respect the rules of the house when you decide to walk into a casino. It's one of the most widely spread myths in the world of gambling, but for the record, it is not illegal to count cards. There is a grey area surrounding card counting at land-based casinos with the assistance of a mechanical device, but the same does not apply online. On top of that, card counting is a skill and a playing strategy above all else.

For these reasons, we can happily tell you that card counting falls firmly within the boundaries of the law. Card counting is a system for tracking the probability of the player receiving cards that are favourable to them during the course of a blackjack game. During a game, a dealer largely makes winning hands based off of low-value cards when he has a 16, 15, 14, 13, or 12 total on his first two cards — with such hands also being labelled as stiffs.

The opposite applies for the player in a sense, as while blackjacks Aces and 10s are consistently distributed between the player and dealer, a player gets paid more 3: With card counting, the idea is not to count the numbers of each individual card in order to know when we have an advantage over the house.

The idea is actually to know when the deck is poor or rich in high cards, the types of cards that are obviously favourable to the player. TV shows and movies depict card counting as something that a gambler can pick up in a flash and win huge sums of cash through.

That being said, anyone can learn how to count cards given enough time. You just need to get a grasp on blackjack as a game and understand the required counting system each time you sit down and play.

Looking at the simple mathematics of the equation, many consider that it takes over a month and a half to become proficient in card counting, with this considered to be a minimum. For example, if someone were to practice card counting techniques 2 hours a day, 7 days a week, then in 50 days they could reach a knowledgeable level. For that reason, if you are looking to learn how to card count, it would be fair to give yourself anywhere between 3 to 6 months to really master the skill.

Card counting has obvious links to the game of blackjack, but what may surprise you is that this method can be used within other card games as well.

Looking at other specific games that can benefit from a card counting-based strategy, there are two that immediately spring to mind. Baccarat is a game that can certainly be controlled via card counting, even if it does require an impressive level of skill to implement the strategy. The seldom mentioned - but always fun - 3 card brag can also have card counting implications, as the deck is only shuffled during specific game scenarios. Our dedicated "Card Count Like a Pro" game.

Crafted with both beginners and experienced blackjack players in mind, the basic tutorial will get you up to speed, while the demo play environment will let you put your new found skills to work.

Lastly, you can track your progress through the active leader boards and on-screen prompts. There are multiple strategies at hand, some of which will suit your way of play better than others. Standing at the top of the pile as the most accurate and — quite fittingly — the most complicated card counting strategy is Wong Halves.

However, its nature means that a high-level of blackjack proficiency is required should you want to implement it effectively. Blackjack has found a brand new home in the realm of mobile casino gaming; as such card counting has taken on a whole new dimension as well.

If you have a modern iPhone or Android device then get ready to take your card counting on the go! Advanced card counting systems come in a number of different forms, but there are two in particular worth noting — Omega II and Wong Halves. More complicated it may be, but it is extremely accurate, largely because it employs fractions.

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But Isn't That Illegal? So Why Do It? Members ranged from college students to Alumni Biggest win: Several members of the MIT card counting team, including Bill Kaplan photo all make cameo appearances in the film 21 starring Kevin Spacy, which is loosely based on the teams story.

As part of the MIT team Jeff helped to cheat casinos out of millions. Jeff was one of the most notorious members of the MIT Blackjack team, and is played by Jim Sturgess in the film Peter was a mathematician and one of the original seven members inducted into the blackjack hall of fame. He authored the book The Theory of Blackjack: The Complete Card Counters Guide to the Casino Game of 21, and was one of the first people to calculate the percentage disadvantage of a blackjack player, which is what earns him a place in our top 5.

Ken became famous for being banned from multiple casinos around the world.

WHAT IS CARD COUNTING?