Card Counting Strategy in Blackjack
Card counting is a casino game of strategy, mainly used in the casino game of blackjack in the family in order to determine whether the next hand is likely to be caused by an advantage player or the dealer. Card counting is a sophisticated skill by which card issuers are trying to gain the benefit of the house. Calculation of cards gives players the opportunity to invest more with smaller risks when the bill gives an advantage and minimizes losses during unfavorable calculation. Calculating the cards also gives you the ability to change your gaming decisions based on the remaining card configurations.
Calculation of cards, also referred to as card readings, often means calculating cards according to their number, number, location, and number.
Card counting four steps:
- Step 1. Assign a value to every card
- Step 2. Keep a “Running Count” based off of the values of the card dealt
- Step 3. Use this information to calculate the count per deck or “true count”
- Step 4. Change your bets as the true count rises
Step 1. Assign a value to every card
With Hi-Lo, the most common card counting system, the card values are as follows:
2-6 = +1
7-9 = 0
As each card is dealt, you will either add 1, subtract 1, or do nothing based on each card’s value.
Step 2. Keep a “Running Count” based off of the values of the card dealt
EXAMPLE #1: The running count for this round is 0 (zero).
EXAMPLE #2: The running count for this round is +1
EXAMPLE #3: The running count for this round is +1.
A card counter does this for each card that comes out of the shoe: card after card and round after round until the dealer shuffles the cards again. Back in the days of single deck blackjack, this information would have been enough to start betting accordingly. If the running count increases, the advantage begins shifting to the player. If the running count goes negative, the casino’s advantage increases.
Step 3. Use this information to calculate the count per deck or “true count”
In an attempt to thwart card counters, casinos began using multiple decks. Nice try, Casinos! To use our running count in a multiple deck game, we simply have to translate our information into a “True Count” or count per deck. We’ll break down each step below.
Having a +5 running count with 6 decks remaining is a completely different scenario from having a +5 running count with only 1 deck remaining. In the first instance, there is less than 1 additional high card per deck remaining so the player doesn’t have the advantage yet. It’s not just the number of extra high cards that matters to a card counter; it’s the concentration of high cards compared to the concentration of low cards.
So if you had that running count of 5 with only 1 deck remaining, we know that there are 5 extra 10’s and Aces in the remaining 52 cards, which puts the edge in the hands of the player! That’s why the “True Count” is so valuable.
EXAMPLE #1: If our Running Count is 10 and we have 5 decks remaining, our True Count is 2. (10 ÷ 5)
EXAMPLE #2: If our Running Count is -7 and we have 2 decks remaining, our True Count is -3. (-7 ÷ 2)
Step 4. Change your bets as the true count rises
Keeping a running count and a true count are essential to knowing when the house edge flips in favor of the player, but if you don’t use that information to change how you play, you’ll just be playing a mentally exhausting game of blackjack. In order to capitalize on the information you get from counting, you have to raise your bets as the true count rises. You want to bet really big when the cards favor the player and really small when the count is negative or neutral and doesn’t favor the player. Bankroll management and proper betting strategy can get complicated, and it’s easy to cause a lot of damage to your bankroll if you don’t properly understand how to bet.
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