Blackjack Card Counting
All players regardless of what they say they want from the game, really hope to win big. As you know, there is no method to completely eliminate the casinos edge; even blackjack basic strategy cannot do that. Therefore, players who wanted to win more decided they needed a stronger tool against casinos. Card counting is the only legal method to reduce the house edge and to feel more confident in the casino.
WHAT IS CARD COUNTING?
Card counting is a system of keeping track of all the dealt cards in the game in order to ascertain when the deck favors the dealer and when the player has higher odds. The odds are determined by the number the counter keeps in his mind. This number is found by adding or subtracting a definite number to a starting count of zero as the cards are dealt on the table.
The player determines the odds in the game and can vary his bet, betting more when the deck has high player odds and betting less when the deck favors the house.
VALUES OF CARDS
To keep track of and count all the dealt cards in blackjack, all the cards in the deck have particular values which are different from the traditional values used for counting the hand total. Blackjack card counters use the following values of cards:
Balanced vs. Unbalanced Count
Unbalanced card-counting system – is a system that uses the count of a cards one by one as they are dealt and is used in a 1-deck blackjack game.
Balanced card-counting system – is a system that applies the method of Unbalanced card counting and modifies it according to the number of decks used in the game. This method enables the counter to accurately calculate the correct result of card counting and apply it in the game.
The balanced count is usually viewed as an application of the Running count and thus the player can convert the result into the True count.
In order to convert the Running count into the True count, the counter should divide the result of the running count by the number of decks left in the game.
For example, if the running count is 12, and there are 4 decks in the shoe left, the player gets a true count of 3 (12/4=3)
The True count is the basic system of card counting. This method helps you choose how much and when to bet. In addition it tells you when it is better to switch from the recommendations of basic strategy and either risk or surrender.
WHAT DO I DO WITH THE RESULT OF THE COUNT?
Remember that a positive count tells you it’s time to bet more as there are high cards left in the deck. In general, when the true count is higher than 4 there are lots of high cards in the deck and you should increase the bet and be careful when you hit. However, this rule may vary for a different number of decks and no one is qualified enough as to tell you when to risk and when not to.
The most difficult part of this count is to predict how many decks are left in the shoe.
GETTING THE EDGE
Card counting is based on the fact that when the deck is full of high cards, it has a big advantage for the player and when the deck is full of small cards it is good for the dealer. When the deck favors you, you should make larger bets and make smaller ones when it is good for the dealer.
This is because the dealer has to continue to take cards when he has 16 whereas you can stop any time you wish and not risk going bust when the deck has lots of 10 cards. Likewise, the deck favours the dealer when is full of small cards as he is less likely to bust when he hits.
Needless to say card counting requires much practice, but the correct use of this technique may give you a 2% edge over the casino.