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Blackjack Card Counting

One of the most popular casino games, blackjack is also one of the few games in a live or online casino in which the player can actively diminish the house edge, and in the case of live blackjack, even turn the odds in his/her favour.

The house usually possesses a 2% edge on blackjack games, but that can be decreased to around 1% using basic blackjack strategy.

Basic strategy consists of a number of tables which basically tell players what they need to do, based on their card(s) and the dealer’s face-up card. Learning these moves by heart will give you an advantage over players who haven’t a clue about what they have to do. This strategy works in online blackjack as well.

Card counting represents the next step in the annihilation of the house edge: players who master this type of blackjack strategy can even hope to turn the house edge around. The good news about card counting is that it is usually simpler than most people would believe. The bad news is, it doesn’t really make much sense to count cards at the online blackjack table: it only works in B&M casinos. Another piece of bad news is that live casinos actively monitor their blackjack tables and their players’ betting patterns trying to sieve out card counters, whom they’re not exactly fond of.

If the suspicion of card counting arises, the player in question will likely be escorted to play a different game or will be removed from the casino and possibly placed on a ban list shared by a whole network of brick and mortar casinos.

No, it is not illegal to count card per se, as nobody can prohibit you from using you mind to create yourself an advantage, however casinos just don’t care. Fair or not, they will remove you and forbid you to play.

Let’s take a closer look at card counting techniques now. Most people who are not familiar with the game consider that in order to count cards one needs to possess an intellect bordering on the supernatural, as each of the cards that leave the deck and each of those which remain in need to be memorized. This thinking is flawed. Most card counting systems are much more intelligent than that.

Here’s one of the simplest: the player allots a value to different card-categories. Those from 2-7 for instance can be given the value of -1. 8 and 9 can be given the value of 0 and 10-A the value of 1. This way, the player will only have to keep sum in mind, adding 1, subtracting one or not doing anything depending on the value of the card that leaves the deck. If the sum stacks up in the negative range, it means more low cards leave the deck than high ones, which means more high cards remain in there. The whole system is based on the concept that the bigger the high-card density in the remaining deck, the more advantage the player will enjoy. With that in mind, the player will bet more courageously when the sum shows a favorable concentration of high-cards.

This system is a very simple one. Most truly efficient card counting systems are more complicated than this but they are based on a similar calculus core.

In order to further diminish your house edge, don’t forget to take full advantage of sign-up bonuses and rakeback like comp point systems. This way, you’ll be like a pokerprop: you’ll take advantage of edges others don’t even know where to look for.


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