Card Counting

Most are familiar with the concept of card counting that is applied to Blackjack. If the strategy is applied effectively the player’s chance of winning is improved. These strategies have been developed to gain an advantage over the house. It is worthwhile to mention that you can practice your card counting skills with online casinos using play money.

Over the last few decades many systems has been developed some complicated and other relatively easier. All of these systems have one thing in common that is the deck is in favour of the player when there is more high value card left than low value card in the decks. The reason for this is simple; the dealer makes use of no system and must always hit on 16 and lower and stay on 17 and up. This means if there are higher number cards in the deck the likelihood of the dealer going bust is higher.

Most card counting systems are used in conjunction with a betting system. In this case the player should always start out with low bets and increase the bet amount as the favour goes the way of the player. Your card counting system is used to keep a running count and at some stage will indicate if there is more high value card than low in the deck. Fortunately these systems do not require that you remember each and every card in the deck.
This is not pie in the sky as proven by the MIT Blackjack Team. They have applied these techniques all over the world and subsequently won millions!

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Card counting systems consists of 3 steps:

1. Make use of a card counting system to determine the running count.
2. Running count must be converted to a true count.
3. Based on your true count adjust your betting strategy.

Each card counting system keeps track of the running count in different ways, but they are all similar in the respect that the running count must be adjusted as new cards are dealt. Following is a list of some of the most well known and used card counting systems.

  • The High Low Card Counting system is the preferred choice of most players and the novice. The system is fairly easy to learn and has proven to be effective.
  • The Knock-out Card Counting System is an example of an unbalanced card counting system. You do not have to convert the running count to a true count. Very little accuracy is lost for the gain of simplicity.
  • The Hi Opt 1 Card Counting System is much more complicated than the Hi Lo or Ko systems. It has the advantage of giving the player exact feedback on the odds of the House. This system should only be used by experienced Blackjack players.
  • The Hi Opt 2 Card Counting System is the most technically demanding card counting system available. This system provides the player with an exact true count and is only recommended for the experienced Blackjack player.

Converting a running count into a true count?

Divide the running count by the number of decks that has not been played. For example suppose your running count is +6 and only 1 of 4 decks has been played then your true count will be equal to +6/(4-1) = +2. Note that most card counting systems become more accurate as the number of available decks becomes less.

How do I determine how many decks are left?

Most players will look at the number of cards that has been played and the guess to the number of decks left. Some experienced players keep a count of the number of cards that has been played; this approach is mentally taxing and should only be attempted by the very experienced Blackjack players.

When will I know that the deck is in my favor?

When the number of high value card is more than the number of low value cards. Here you have to choose when you will start upping your bet amount and which betting system you will use. Note that you may continuously change your betting system as the game progresses.

As a final note always start out with a simple system, after you have mastered the system move on to a more precise system. Never venture money until you know a good system by heart!