Card counting in online blackjack

Many might frown upon card counting, but it is a very legitimate way of turning the house edge in your favour when playing casino games like blackjack. Admittedly, it isn’t always possible to card count when playing online blackjack games, but should the opportunity arise, it works in much the same way.

What is card counting?

You’ve probably heard of card counting before, and you know it has something to do with counting the cards which come out of the shoe, right? But do you know how to use it for yourself? In this article, we’ll explain card counting in more detail, and give you pointers about how to card count for yourself.

But first, we have to ask, what is card counting? Card counting is a system, whereby the player uses the system to determine the ratio of low to high cards appearing in a game. They assign values to each card, and use running counts to calculate the “running count” or “true count” of the cards. Give up the idea of counting how many 2s, 3s, 4s, and 5s and so on, which have come out of the shoe. That would be far too difficult to remember; true card counting is simpler, though not by much.

Does it really work?

Actually, yes, if it is done correctly. As long as you know roughly how many low cards and high cards are left in the deck, you are able to bet more intelligently, and with larger stakes. If you have mastered the art of card counting (and it can take years), or are simply mathematically gifted, then yes, card counting does really work. Make no mistake about it, though; card counting is difficult to learn and master properly.

How to count cards

In order to begin counting cards, the first thing that any player must do is choose a system that works for them. Most card counters begin with the Hi-Lo system, since it is one of easier to learn. In this system, players will choose three simple values for their cards. Those values are:

+1 – for cards with values of 2 – 6

0 – for cards with values of 7 – 9

-1 – for cards with values of 10 – Ace

After a new card is dealt, you will either add or subtract one from a total, or do nothing if the card is a 7 through 9. This total is known as the running count, and you must keep track of it, when new cards arrive on the table. This system only works for single deck blackjack games, though.

In order to make it work for multiple deck games, players have to use a mathematical formula. You will have to keep track of the number of decks remaining, as well as your running count. The running count divided by the number of decks remaining will give you your “true count”.

Increasing your bets based on the count

Based on the running count or the true count, players should be able to gauge just what kind of cards are left in the shoe. If the cards are low cards, then the player is likely to wager only small sums of money. However, if the shoe is mainly comprised of high cards (10s through Aces), then the player is going to wager significantly larger sums of cash, since they stand a better chance of landing blackjack. More importantly, if you know that a large number of 10s and Aces remain in the shoe, the insurance bet starts to look pretty prosperous. This is the one and only time you should ever really make that bet, since there is a reasonable chance that the dealer has blackjack, and you will pocket winnings of 2:1 for it.