There are different strategies for winning in blackjack. While most newbies opt to follow a blackjack strategy chart or simply go with their intuition, there is also advanced tactics called card counting. This is more of a system than a strategy and it can be extremely profitable for a player that enters a winning streak. Although card counting is a legal way of playing the game, most of the casinos will throw out the counters to avoid losing huge money.
What Is Card Counting?
As you might assume, it is a system of tracking cards. The goal is to memorize the dealt cards and use that to your advantage. Card counting gives you an idea of your winning odds and provides an insight into whether you should bet high or low. Although many people think you need to be a math genius to utilize this strategy, that could not be further from the truth. However, it will require a lot of exercises to become adept at counting cards.
How to Count in Blackjack
In blackjack, you play against the casino and the goal is to get the value of 21 or closer to 21 than the dealer without going over that limit as it will result in a loss. While each player is dealt two visible cards, the dealer has only one faceup card while the other one is facedown.
The blackjack (card counting) strategy involves noticing which cards have been played and assume which are left in the deck. Based on your level of skill and the ability to think quickly, you might make better or worse assumptions, but the general rule of thumb remains the same. If you noticed that mostly small cards have been dealt for several hands, the chances are there will be some Royals in the next round and vice versa.
The Importance of Big-Value Cards
You should always be looking forward to royals and aces in blackjack. You do not have to be an expert in blackjack counting systems to figure out why. The chances of getting blackjack or 21 increase if there are plenty of big-value cards in the mix.
If you notice that small cards are in the mix, the chances are the dealer has an advantage over you. However, a big-value card mix might be a good chance to double down. You can also utilize the fact that the dealer has a weak hand and they have to draw. If you think there are large cards remaining in the deck, that increases the chances of the dealer busting and you might benefit from splitting your hand.
Card Counting Basics
The whole idea of how to count cards in blackjack rests on a premise that you should consider the odds that change with what happens during the game. For example, the discard tray plays an important role as the is where the dealer puts used cards. You will notice that the remaining cards in the deck are used for the next round. In most cases, no less than half of the deck will be used before reshuffling.
If you want to know how to count blackjack cards simple, the suggested strategy is to use a tag and assign it to each card. The hard part is to track the played cards and, once you get ahold of that, it will be easy to perfect the card counting.
Hi-Low Card Tagging System
Hi-Low is what most consider to be the best blackjack counting system. It involves applying a value of -1 to big-value cards (those who are worth ten) and applying +1 to small-valued cards from two to six. The rest are considered neutral which is why they are assigned 0. Your goal is to add the values of the cards as they have been discarded or played.
Everything starts with a zero and, as the game progresses, the value may become negative or positive. The value that you have at any given moment is called the running count. If it is negative, it implies bigger presence of small cards in the deck which means that you should bet low. However, if the running count is positive, it might be a good time to bet big.
When it comes to wagering, you should start slowly with the minimum bet required. However, as the value of the running count increases, you may consider increasing the bet or doubling down. On the other hand, if the count is negative, you stick to minimum wagers until that changes.
As you can see, card counting doesn’t have to be difficult, although it will require some time to master the quickness of counting. Please acknowledge that this strategy is only applicable to offline casinos. Also, while it is officially not cheating as you are not doing anything illegal, but the casinos may blacklist you if they notice you are counting cards. That is just another proof that this strategy can work and bring you big winnings if you utilize it properly.