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Card Counting in Blackjack
What is card counting?
Card counting is a blackjack strategy that tracks the ratio of high cards (cards worth ten and/or eleven) to low cards still in the deck. A deck that is rich in high cards offers a player an advantage over a deck that isn't, because a player is more likely to receive a blackjack. And since a blackjack pays out at 3 to 2, raising the size of your bet when a blackjack is more likely results in a long term mathematical advantage.
Other factors that add to the mathematical edge include the greater chance the dealer has of busting a stiff hand when the deck is rich in high cards, and doubling down becomes more profitable when there are a lot of high cards left in the deck.
How hard is card counting?
You don't have to be a genius to count cards. You do need to be able to concentrate in conditions which aren't favorable for concentration. (casino conditions) You also need the self-discipline to sit down and master the actual skills involved before trying to count cards in a casino. Most casinos bar card counters from playing their blackjack games, so you have to be able to keep track of the ratio of cards without looking like you're counting. That part is probably harder than the actual counting card but its a necessary skill to develop if you plan for long term success.
Counting cards does not involve keeping track of every card that's been played. A card counting system will give a value to certain cards, usually +1 or -1, and you keep a running total in your head. Based on that running total, you'll raise or lower your blackjack bets. The difficulty of a card counting system typically ranges based on its accuracy. The more involved the system is the more accurate your results.
An easy card counting system
The Wizard of Odds (Michael Shackleford) offers an easy card counting system called the Wizard's ace five count. The count starts at 0, and ever ace counts a -1 and every five counts as a +1. You'll bet one unit when the count is 0 or negative. When the count is positive, you'll bet two units times the amount of the count, so two units at +1, four units at +2. six units at +3 and so on.
This strategy is most effective in a six deck game where the dealer stands on a soft 17, late surrender is allowed, and the player is allowed to resplit aces. The strategy yields a small advantage of only 0.22%, but combined with comp drinks and a few other perks you might get for your blackjack play, it could be quite profitable. This counting system has the advantage of being very easy to learn and implement.
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Card Counting Online
You can't really count cards at online casinos, since they shuffle after every single hand. The number of decks used by an online casino also vary vastly. But you can read about card counting online, and we've included some resources for that purpose below.
Interested in a guide that's dedicated to online casinos we suggest paying a visit to OnlineCasinoApproved.com or browsing though some additional resources including blackjack directories and other quality blackjack related and other gaming site click here.
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