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The goal of this article is to provide information about card counting and blackjack for beginners. The site will eventually expand to include information of interest to more experienced card counters too, so stay tuned.
Card counting is a very complex use of mathematics, probability and memory to try and win at Blackjack. There are a slew of different books and systems that promise to show you how to master the difficult task.
Card counting in a group means that you have one or more players at a table who use on of the many card counting systems to determine the balance of high and low cards in the deck. Once the balance is favorable, they somehow signal a new player to come in with a large bankroll to start making large bets and (theoretically) win.
Let’s dispel a couple of myths about card counting right away.Card counters do not memorize every card they have seen dealt out of a deck or shoe. Card counting also does not allow a player to magically know what card will be dealt out the deck or shoe next. If you see some guy take a hit on his hard nineteen against a dealers 10 and he receives a two for a total of 21, it doesn’t mean that he is an expert card counter. It means he is either a drunk, a fool, or he managed to see the dealers hole card; it doesn’t mean he is a card counter, as a card counter would never do such a reckless thing. Yes, if the cards were dealt down to the last few in the deck, a good card counter would probably know what card is likely to come next. But in the real world of casino blackjack you will never be involved in a game where the cards are dealt down to the last remaining cards. The reason for this is simple; it would give a huge advantage to the card counter and obviously any casino you play in will take measures to insure that this type of situation won’t occur.
But that doesn’t mean that card counting can’t be done, or that it can’t be very useful or profitable to a blackjack player.
The only way to become a skilled card counter is to practice, practice, practice. It can take several months if not several years to truly master several of the card counting systems mentioned above. You need to be constantly practicing your card counting techniques and skills until you can count flawlessly. Keep in mind you don’t have to be playing blackjack to practice your counting techniques. You can practice your counting methods anywhere.
One very effective method of practicing card counting is to create practice counting charts. You can create a chart that show your hand and the dealer’s up card, then you verbally or mentally recite the proper play. If you get stumped, simply refer to your basic strategy charts. Practice charts can be small enough to fit into your wallet so that you can practice card counting wherever you are.
With several different card counting systems available, people often ask which card counting system they should try to learn, but it is often dependent upon each individual and their knowledge of the game. There is generally not a specific answer on where everyone should begin. Many factors determine which system you should use, such as what type of games you play, where you play, your skill level, and how many hours you are playing.
For beginning players, as a rule of thumb, it is recommended that you learn the most basic system first, either the Hi-Lo count or the KO count. These systems of card counting are generally the easiest to learn. Make sure to practice this system thoroughly before moving on to the more complex systems. It can often take months, if not years, to learn how to master blackjack card counting.
Generally, the advantages of the more complex card counting systems compared to the more basic systems are fairly slight, around 0.15%.
One of the most popular card counting systems currently in use is the point count system, also known as Hi-Low. This system is based on assigning a point value of +1, 0, or -1 to every card dealt to all players on the table, including the dealer. Each card is assigned its own specific point value. Aces and 10-point cards are assigned a value of -1. Cards 7, 8, 9 each count as 0. Cards 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 each count as +1.
The legality issue of card counting is a common topic around casinos and the game of blackjack. I’m definitely not a lawyer, so take this information in stride and make sure to do thorough research if investigating the full laws and regulations of card counting. The act of card counting at a physical blackjack table with your brain alone (without using any counting devices such as computers and electronics), is considered to be perfectly legal and is not considered cheating.
However, most casinos will not allow a known card counter into their blackjack games and will generally ask card counters to leave if they are caught counting during a game. Since casinos are private property, they have full authority to ask players to leave and to not return if they are caught counting cards in blackjack. They cannot take legal action, but they can force you off their premises and ask you not to return.