Even if you regularly try your luck at blackjack, you might not have thought of counting cards as a strategy. You might just play each hand as it comes along and think that’s the best that can be done. While this can work for a few hands, it’s no way to play for long-term gains.
Don’t believe us? Why not play a few hands of blackjack for fun right now and see for yourself?
Card counting is an essential tactic that involves studying and evaluating each hand that is played in order to decide what to do next. So, what exactly is it?
Card counting explained
Card counting is associated mainly with blackjack and is a strategy used by players to try to tip the competitive edge in their favour. Based on statistics and probability, it involves keeping track of the cards that have been played so that you can calculate whether the cards left in the deck are going to be more likely to benefit you or the dealer. Once you’ve done that, you can adjust your betting strategy accordingly.
Although there are so many variations of the game, including Pontoon, Double Exposure Blackjack and Single Deck Blackjack, they all depend on a similar combination of chance and logical reasoning. As a tactic, card counting works for every version. Check this version out and practice a basic card counting strategy.
Players primarily compete against the banker, but this doesn’t mean they play in isolation. It is crucial to be mindful of every other player and to watch the cards that are currently in play or have already been played.
How card counting works
The idea of card counting allows players to bet more but with less risk while providing the option of informed playing decisions based on the composition of remaining cards. The most common card counting variations in blackjack are based on statistical evidence that high cards, especially aces and tens will benefit the player more than the dealer, and the lower cards do the opposite.
You don’t need to be a master mathematician or have incredible mental abilities to count cards, despite popular myths that say you do. You are not memorising and tracking specific cards but assigning a point score to each card you see that estimates the value of that card. Then the sum of these values is tracked, which is known as a “running count”.
There are many card-counting systems and the aim of them is to give point values that correlate to any card’s Effect of Removal (EOR), which is what happens when that card is removed from play and its resulting impact on the house advantage.
At its most basic, card counting systems assign a negative, positive or zero to each card value available and when a card of that value is dealt the count is then adjusted by the card’s counting value. Low cards increase the count because they increase the percentage of high cards in the remaining set, whilst high cards decrease the count for exactly the opposite reason.
This High-Low system is regarded as a level one count because the running count does not increase or decrease by more than one predetermined value. A multi-level count, on the other hand, such as Wong Halves or Zen Count makes more detailed distinctions between the card values with the aim of getting greater play accuracy. Additionally, more advanced players may keep a side count of specific cards to cope with those situations where the best count for betting accuracy is different from the best one for playing accuracy.
Either of these counting systems depend on practice and developing your ability to memorise the running count. Start practicing as soon as possible to master these basic counting systems and get ready for the real thing here at Bitcasino!
Another method is back-counting, also known as “Wonging”, which involves standing behind a blackjack table and counting the cards the players are dealt. The player will then enter the game when the count gets to the point when they have an advantage and they can raise their bets as their advantage increases and lower them as it decreases.
Card counting is not as difficult as it may first look. It just takes practice. Just work through a deck of cards and add or subtract any card you deal from your tally, and up your speed till you can keep your tally quickly and accurately enough to head to the tables. It’s no guarantee of a win, but it may help you get a competitive edge.
Online card counting
In many online blackjack offerings, the game is dealt by a computerised dealer, which makes card counting impossible. However, the dawn of live dealer blackjack is now making it feasible again. The cards are dealt by the dealer from the shoe and are scanned so that they can then be displayed on the player’s computer screen. The player can then act on the hand as they would in a land-based casino and begin to count cards until the shoe is shuffled again.
Why not see for yourself with our Bitcasino and Sportsbet Blackjack? You can build up your online card counting experience by playing at the lower limit tables, slowly upping your game as you become more confident.
Get ready to enjoy playing blackjack at Bitcasino
Blackjack is just one of the many games offered by Bitcasino, but it’s certainly one of our most popular games. For a real-life casino experience, you really need to check out our live dealer blackjack options.
Now you are set up, all you have to do is look through the range of games available at Bitcasino and decide what takes your fancy. There’s something to suit everyone, whatever level of experience.
Words: Sean Mcnulty
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