counting-cards-in-blackjack
Guide to counting card in blackjack

Counting Cards In Blackjack

Before we find out how counting cards in blackjack works, we must understand what kind of card we’re looking to find in every hand with this strategy when playing blackjack at the casino, otherwise, we are just counting cards without really knowing why. It is important to know that when the deck is full of the high counting cards like the Aces, 10s, Kings, Queens, and Jacks the probability that the player wins is higher, and the opposite is the case when the mix has an abundance of low counting cards like the cards 2 - 6.

If this makes no sense to you, you should consider that when the deck is full of these large cards it is easier to get a “blackjack” or a 20, and although the dealer has the same chance of obtaining this in such situations in hand, the player gets a 3:2 bonus payoff on his money on his own Blackjack hand.

Before going into this strategy, worthy of note also is the fact that if the dealer draws a stiff hand such as 12 through to 16, unlike the player, he is obliged to draw. And if the deck is full of large cards, he is most likely to bust.

But how will the player know if the deck is full of large or small cards, to know when to increase the money he is playing within each hand? This is where card counting comes into play.

Card Counting Basics

Basically, card counting is a tracking system where the player keeps track of the cards being dealt at the casino by the dealer in each hand, making use of tags, counting and his memory. Even at Canadian online casinos, the cards are dealt from a shoe, and since there is always a finite number of cards when playing in each hand, the player is able to know what kind of cards are remaining in the deck and which kind the dealer is likely to give to him when employing the card counting system and bet his money accordingly.

When tagging cards for counting, most methods make use of the -1, 0, +1 tags for counting; with cards numbered 2 - 6 receiving the +1 tag, cards 7 - 9 receiving the 0 (neutral) tag, and face cards and aces receiving the -1 tag. When the cards are being dealt in each hand, the player uses the tags earlier assigned to the cards to estimate the probability of getting larger or smaller cards to know how he should play. He does this by adding the value of the cards in his head, and in a single deck, if the value is in the positives the player is expecting larger cards and can adjust his wager, but if the value is in the negatives, this means that more big cards have been dealt than smaller cards, thereby raising the probability of a smaller card being dealt with the player and in this case, the player should reduce the money he wagers.

However, most casinos use multiple decks for blackjack and in such a case the player would have to use the value of the tags to get the true count. This is gotten by dividing the current count the player has in his head by the number of decks the player believes to be left. For example, if the tags count up to 8, and the number of decks left is 4, then the true count value would be 2.

Obviously, the higher the true count value, the higher the odds to obtain a royal, and the lower the true count value, the lower the chance, just like in a single deck. This serves as a simple guide to know when to bet high or low.

Contrary to popular opinion, it is obvious from the description above that card counting is not rocket science, it does not require a photographic memory, or great mathematical prowess to play blackjack with. All it really requires is a desire to play and win, and practice. The ability to know when favourable cards are coming your way in blackjack will help you as a player to know when to bet more or less, therefore, giving you the advantage and the dealer the disadvantage in the long run.

Is Counting Cards Blackjack Illegal?

Counting cards In blackjack is completely legal as it is simply a mental exercise or a strategy adopted by the player to help in his play towards winning or beating the dealer, and it is completely unreasonable for anyone to criminalize thinking. It is however illegal to play while counting cards in blackjack with the assistance of a machine in the casino.

However, as private establishments, the casino has the right to serve whom they wish to serve, and let whom they will allow playing blackjack to play, and since they have been trying to make card counting illegal to play blackjack with, they waste no time in removing a player suspected of counting cards in Blackjack from their premises. And this is always obvious when the player goes on a long winning streak and the casino is running at a loss. Also, not only can the casinos kick the player out, but they can also warn other casinos of said player, thereby causing the player to not be able to play in those casinos. The casinos can take it a step further by charging the player with trespass if he returns to any of the casinos where he has been blacklisted. It is therefore wise to check any winning streak that you come into so that you can always win some more later.

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Written by Alexander

A Dutchie that likes gambling since the day he turned 18, is a Daddy of 1, a Juventus fan, a site manager since 2020, and works as Business Development Manager for Games Global.