Counting cards is an advanced blackjack strategy that might not appeal
to the average gambler. The basics what happens when you're counting cards
is that you look at a deck of cards, you look at the cards that have already
been revealed from that deck of cards and then you try to look at the
odds of a particular outcome based on what's remaining or unknown from
that same deck of cards.
Counting cards really began with the publication of Edward Thorp's "Beat
the Dealer" in 1962. In it, he laid out specific ways by which a
player could make money off casino blackjack. This caused many casinos
to implement rules that were unfavorable to the player, which in turned
caused a backlash in the form of players who refused to go to casinos
with rules. Alas, better rules were implemented, along with certain changes
that have remained in place to this day. Thorp's system was refined and
even replaced by improved counting systems that continue to be developed
The logic of counting cards is based wholly around the composition of
the deck of cards. There are 52 cards in a full deck. This means for example
that you have a 4 out of 52 chance of being dealt a Queen from this full
deck. So if all the Queens have been drawn from the deck already, it's
pretty logically that you have absolutely no chance of drawing a Queen.
So cards that have already been played or draw clearly have an effect
on the future cards that will be dealt your way. Card counters use this
information about cards that have already been played to try to assess
how favorable the remaining cards are.
A simple system for counting cards
The hi-lo card counting system is often recommended for rookies. Using
the hi-lo system, you simply keep track of the number of high, low and
neutral cards remaining in the pack. The cards are assigned a value as
2,3,4,5,6 (low cards) = +1
7,8,9 (neutral cards) = 0
10,jack,queen,king,ace (high cards) = -1
Players try to keep a mental total or running count of all the cards that
have been dealt or exposed by adding and subtracting the values of the
cards. For example, a sequence of 3,queen,king,jack,8,4,3,king,9,10 results
in a total of -2. When the count is negative, the deck is said to be rich
in low cards and thus favoring the dealer. When the count is positive,
the deck is said to be rich in high cards and favoring the player. To
capitalize on a favorable count, the card counter will then make large
bets when the deck is "positive" and small bets when it's "negative".
Why counting cards is not such a good prospect these days
- Casinos have long sought to prevent card counters playing at their
tables, despite the fact that it's not illegal. Suspected or identified
counters are usually asked to leave or to play a game other than blackjack
- Casinos have also made it harder for counters to count properly. Using
several decks, shuffling the deck early or continuously reshuffling
the decks are methods of deterring card counters
- If you can bypass those two obstacles above, then you're faced with
the fact that counting is really a 'win some, lose some' technique that
usually sees the counter suffering wild fluctuations in his/her bankroll.
One minute he could be up hundreds, the next minute he's down by thousands.
There's nothing guaranteed thus counters have to ante up and make sure
they've got enough money to weather the losing streaks that may come.
Counting cards online
Is it possible? No! Why not? It's impossible to count simply because the
online casinos almost always use multiple decks and continuous shuffling
in their blackjack games.