Card Counting as One of the Blackjack Strategies
Card counting is a buzzword in any blackjack strategy, yet you need to know that it is not a panacea – an all-out solution for anything blackjack-related. Counting cards is an intellectual challenge and carries risk, because most casinos forbid it.
When done right, this basic, yet highly-efficient, strategy can take you a long way at any land-based casino, but it has zero utility in online casinos, because the decks are reshuffled each time a hand has been played.
This eliminates any opportunities to card count reliably online. However, you can benefit from this blackjack strategy at most retail and commercial casinos. To get yourself involved in card counting, you will need to study, have rudimentary mathematical knowledge, and be very patient.
Only if these three conditions are met can you begin to grasp card counting. Time will be of the essence in order to grasp the necessary skills to count cards, and you will need to practice. With this said, let’s take a look at what the blackjack basic strategy principles of card counting are:
- Assign a value to each card
- Start counting
- Calculate the “true count” per deck
- Adjust your bet based on the true count
- Bring the house down
You see, these four conditions are in fact very simple to follow through with. Assigning a card value is the simplest. Most players go with the following values in their blackjack strategy:
- 2-6 = +1
- 7-9 = 0
- 10-Ace = -1
Once you have the values, all you have to do is pay attention and count the cards. A single deck would allow you to figure out the true count, as there are no additional challenges. But this is where your blackjack basic strategy should begin to adapt.
Casinos are aware of card counters; in fact, they employ many card counters to help them catch other players who are counting cards. Therefore, casinos have introduced additional decks to make your job more difficult.
Now, the true count is split between several decks and you need to keep track, adjusting your bets. But this is not quite all. There are additional challenges threatening to throw a spanner in your blackjack strategy.
For starters, a dealer might chat you up, a waitress may start bringing drinks your way in an effort to see if you are easily distracted or focused on the game – almost always a dead giveaway you are counting cards. With this said, you are probably wondering right now – is card counting worth it? The simple answer is yes; any blackjack strategy will benefit from counting cards. Here are a few things to keep in mind however:
- The casino will actively pursue you if you are a card counter, especially if you’re good at it
- You can be asked to leave if you win too much and systematically
- To master card counting, you will need months, if not years
- Casinos use artificial intelligence, card counters and staff to see if a winning customer is a counter
- A dealer might shuffle the deck if he suspects a customer is winning too much, or request a new deck and cards
This sums up card counting, painting one of the most popular blackjack strategies in broad strokes. Card counting is worthwhile, but you must commit to it over a long period of time to see benefits.