How Do You Count Cards?

Counting cards is one of the most famous tricks used by experts of the past to win as much as possible from the land-based casinos that they frequented. In more recent times, these guys (and a few gals) would use their tricks on the online platforms that have sprung up with reckless abandon in the past decade or so. This tactic was never really going to be robust enough to put casinos out of business, given that this is one of the rare businesses that has a statistical advantage every single game - casinos always make money! This reality, in fact, is one of the reasons why they are so big on Indian reservations, and why states are certain to take their cut from the reservation that resides on territory within their borders.

It’s a fact of life that all casinos have something called the House Edge. No matter how much you may personally walk away with on any given day, there are plenty of losers who help the casino recoup their losses. Of course, this doesn’t affect you if you’re a winner, which is why if gambling online is your thing, casino gaming is still something that can work out nicely for your financial plans. When it comes to counting cards, this applies specifically to the world-famous game of chance known as Blackjack. Along with poker, Blackjack - which is also known as 21 - is the most popular casino game ever created. In the following article, you will become familiar with this renowned game of chance and skill, and learn what counting cards entails.

How to Count Cards at Blackjack or 21

As is well-known by virtually anyone, in the game of Blackjack you attempt to beat your opponent - in this case, the computer or dealer behind the scenes - by playing cards and getting as close to 21 as possible without “busting.” Whoever has the higher card tally under 21 wins; if you land on the dot, then you REALLY win, as this cannot be beat. How, then, do you count cards in this game? Do you need a photographic memory to be able to keep track of every single card? Although this can help - it’s actually not at all necessary. If you play the game a lot, you will naturally recall many of the cards anyway; memorizing every single is impractical for all but people with the most eidetic memories. So without further ado, let us see what the method is:

Understanding the House Edge and What it Means for You the Player

For the game of Blackjack, the House Edge is actually negligible for the most part. It is this fact that actually makes having an infallible memory unnecessary for counting cards. Because of the reality of the House Edge, you will actually break even as the game proceeds into infinity (a mathematical artifact used to illustrate the results of long-term play). As such, you do not actually need to keep track of every single card in the deck - just the ones that the dealer burns through! This is made doubly easy because you will recall the cards that beat you, precisely for that reason!

As you can see, the utility of recalling all of the cards that have been played is really nonexistent (for the most part; especially if it takes you a lot of effort to do so). It’s much more useful to know which cards have been played, because you can use this information to directly influence whether you hit or pass on your next turn in an effort to get as close to the number 21 as possible. You can also, of course, tell whether the dealer is more likely or not to get the magic number on the subsequent plays.

How to Count Cards for Experts - A Strategy

Although there are quite a few card counting measures floating around, obviously some are better than others. In particular, the one called High-Low is a strategy that is preferred by seasoned Blackjack players. These are players who have been at it for awhile, and thus are familiar enough with the game of 21 to recall many cards. The trick here is to keep three cards in memory at all times, as this reduces the mental strain when it comes to remembering what the dealer has played and what you, yourself has played in the previous few hands.

For each card played that has a high number - the numeral 10, as well as the upper card jackets - you minus 1 from your own tally. If instead the dealer gets a low number, then you add a numeral 1 to your tally. For the numbers of intermediate value (basically, all the ones in-between the extremes), you don’t do anything to your tally, and treat these as irrelevant. What this method of card counting does is reduce the probabilities significantly to a more manageable percentage. If you’re interested in card counting and keep on using this method, you will find that it becomes like second nature to you.

The Underlying Trick to Card Counting

Above all, the trick to card counting is to remain focused. Inside of a brick and mortar casino, this can be difficult with the noise, action and all the other distractions that go with being in public (read: scantily-clad women sometimes). However, with the spate of new online gaming casinos, you can perfect your technique in the digital realm and from the privacy of your own home or office.

If you want to see elite level card counting in action on the Big Screen, then check out the Hollywood movie starring wunderkind Matt Damn, Rounders. It’s loosely based on a true story of a card counter who was not some kind of memory genius – but who merely used mnemonics that are accessible to everyone, in order to unlock the secrets of the dealer’s hand. In truth, card counting is really meant for and best used inside of a land-based casino; however, it is possible to use it inside of the digital realm, as well. How so?

First, find the Blackjack table inside of the Table Games menu section on the website of your casino of choice. Then, choose a dealer from the provided selection. The card decks are the same in the virtual world as they are in the tangible world, so you can use the same hacks you develop to count them in either/both. It should be even easier to focus, in fact, when playing Blackjack or 21 on your mobile device since you have a lot more privacy than inside of a land-based casino.

A final note: inside of a casino, card counting, specifically is NOT illegal. However, any casino in the world can deny you service without much of a reason (it’s a wonder why people still frequent such a place where this can be done), so if they suspect you of counting cards, they don’t even need to manufacture a reason to unceremoniously kick you out. And there you have it - the skinny on counting cards.