Card Counting is keeping track of every card dealt from the deck to determine the cards left in the deck and your odds at winning the hand. It is very important that you know how card counting is used in order to apply it to your game. If your able to keep track of each card that is dealt from the shoe, you’ll have a better understanding of what’s to come and can apply it to your overall blackjack strategy based on the hand dealt to you. Remember you need to keep track of all cards dealt to all players including the dealer for card counting to work effectively.
Blackjack Card Counting Basics
Counting cards in Blackjack has became one of the most popular things to do at Blackjack tables since the release of the movie, 21. The movie showed a college professor and many of his students successfully counting cards while playing Blackjack at Las Vegas casinos and winning loads of cash before getting caught as they had a whole team that would scout out tables and rake in the cash. The theory of counting cards though has been around since the early 60's when Edward O Thorp first devised a system and would later be blacklisted from most of the casinos on the strip in Vegas.
In order to count cards you need to know that when you sit down at the blackjack table your count will always be zero. In this card counting system we are looking for a positive count. This means that if our count is positive there are more high cards left in the shoe than low cards. When this happens you can count on one of three things - players being dealt more blackjacks, starting hands for players will be significantly higher and the dealer is more likely to bust. In theory, when the count is high and is in the positives, the player tends to bet more because they are at an advantage. When the count goes into the negative your bets should decrease.
The example given will be for single deck Blackjack. Cards numbered 2-6 are low cards and have a point value of +1. Cards that are 7s, 8s or 9s do not have a point value so you don't have to keep track of them. Cards that are 10s, jacks, queens, kings and aces are considered high cards and have a point value of -1. You start the game at 0 and for each low card you add one and each high card you take one away keeping the total in your head at all times as it changes regularly.
There are 20 high cards, 20 low cards and 12 cards with no value. So if you have a large negative amount, there are not very many high cards left in the deck. This can be helpful if you are struggling with whether or not to hit your 14 or 15.
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