Blackjack is one of the most popular card games all over the world, as well as in casinos. It is played with a standard 52-card deck between the dealer and the player. The aim is to beat the dealer to a 21-card hand. It is very important for anyone willing to play online casino games for real money to understand blackjack fundamentals.
Blackjack Card Counting
Card counting is a technique used by several experts and players at casinos to know how to place their bets. It is relatively easy to understand but may prove difficult to implement depending on the card counting system.
There are several card counting systems, and their aim is to determine the effect of removal (EOR) on the casino’s house edge, of each card being drawn. It is done by assigning negative, positive, or neutral values to the cards. This assigning of values is done under the idea that some cards help either the players or dealer to concentrate on the deck. High cards (9s, 10s, and aces) statistically favor the player, while low cards (2 through to 7) favor the dealer.
Some counting systems include;
- Wong Halves – assigns -0.5, 0, +0.5, +1, and +1.5,
- Hi-Opt II – assigns -2, 0, +1, and +2, and
- Hi-Lo – assigns -1, 0, and +1, amongst others.
Hi-Lo is probably the most popular and easy to understand, so we’ll use it as an example of understanding card counting strategies.
|Cards||Hi-Lo System Valuing|
|10s, Kings, Queens, Kings, and Jacks||-1|
|2s, 3s, 4s, 5s, and 6s||+1|
|7s, 8s, and 9s||0|
This method tries to predict the effect of the removal of a card (EOR) on the house advantage. The player-favorable cards are assigned -1, neutrals are assigned 0, and the dealer-favorable cards are assigned +1. When using Hi-Lo, you keep track of the cards dealt and add up their values to determine the overall EOR. A positive value after adding up would indicate that there’s more probability of getting a high card from the next hit, and the higher the positive value is, the stronger this assertion is. On the flip side, a negative value indicates that lower value cards are more likely to be drawn next. This way, it is easy to know which range of cards to expect, and thus, bet accordingly.
Hi-Lo is not as specific a system as some others like Wong Halves or Hi-Opt II, but it is easier to implement, therefore taking less time in gameplay.
How to Stake and Win With Blackjack Card Counting Strategies
Using the Hi-Lo System as an example, the total amount you have after counting the cards’ value is called the “Running Count.” This is not an all-encompassing metric; however, as it doesn’t account for situations where more than one deck is being used. And in this case, we use the “True Count,” gotten by dividing the Running Count, with the number of decks left. The higher your value, the more favorable the game is for you. One common way of using the true count to know how to wager is by setting a betting unit from your bankroll management plan and multiplying that unit with the True Count minus 1.
For example; if your betting unit is $30, your Running Count is 20, and the number of decks left is 5:
- You first divide your Running Count, 20, by the number of decks left, 5, to give you your true count, 4.
- You then minus your True Count, 4, by 1 to give you your resulting betting factor, 3.
- This betting factor is then multiplied with your personally predetermined betting unit, $30, to let you know how much you should stake, $90.
Pushback From Casinos
While a lot of gambling jurisdictions do not recognize card counting as an illegal activity, casinos generally do not approve it. This is such a brutally efficient technique that casinos employ several cameras, technology, and even card counters as dealers to counter it. If you’re caught or even suspected of using such techniques, casinos tend to apply strict punishments like a ban on the player. Beating these obstacles and playing the strategies well is no mean feat, but is eventually rewarding as several champions have testified in the past.
Blackjack casino card counting strategies are undoubtedly very useful, and this is manifested in the general dislike towards them from the casino. Understanding and practicing one or two to the point of maintaining usual casino composure like chatting will be very useful to any player. And with these card counting strategies, you can for once rely more on your skill, rather than luck as is the case in most casino games.