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This strategy is forbidden by casino operators because they consider it a form of cheating. It is argued from the counters’ perspective that they are using their brains to count and are not using illicit help from outside sources.
A discussion of the status of card counting in the gambling world can be reserved for another day. In today’s article, we will explain how the method works, how difficult it is to learn, and how it relates to basic blackjack strategy.
What Is Card Counting
In essence, card counting determines the house edge at various points throughout the game. This is accomplished by calculating the ratio of low to high cards remaining in the shoe.
A count showing that the advantage has shifted in the player’s favor indicates that the stakes should be increased; a count showing that the dealer will gain more advantage next hand indicates that you should reduce your stakes.
Statistics and probability are at the heart of card counting. It involves a ranking system in which each card is given a numerical value that can be zero, negative, or positive. In the most common counting system Hi-Lo, 2-6 cards are assigned +1, 7-9 cards 0 and 10 Aces -1.
It’s also important to consider the number of decks remaining in the shoe, the true count. This is calculated by dividing your running count by the number of decks. When your true count is positive, that’s your cue to up the ante. The more it dips, the more you should decrease your bet.
The higher your true count, the more high-value cards (tens and aces) will remain in the deck, and the greater the chance of getting a blackjack. In contrast, lower true counts correlate with higher concentrations of low-value cards, which means fewer blackjacks are dealt, and the dealer is less likely to bust.
Card Counting and Basic Blackjack Strategy
Although card counting does not directly correlate with basic blackjack strategy, the success of ‘counting‘ depends heavily on implementing the optimal strategy. In other words, you can use card counting without taking into account basic blackjack strategy, but you won’t be able to decrease the house edge below the 2% percentage.
Basic strategy is fundamentally a mathematical determination that shows the expected value of each hand combination. It basically provides the mathematically correct ways to play the game at each point of the draw. Only when used properly this technique can help you reach the coveted 1% edge. And then, the card counting technique can help you bring it down even further.
Is it Possible to Learn Card Counting?
Contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t take a math genius to use this technique as the process involves simple addition and subtraction. However, it requires a solid memory, good focus, and the ability to think quickly.
You must remain vigilant throughout the entire draw and keep track of every card that comes out. A single card missing will throw off the entire count, making the strategy ineffective.
To apply card counting effectively, you need to manage your bankroll effectively and bet only when there’s value.
It’s also important to learn basic blackjack strategy, which helps you maximize your odds. It is pointless and inefficient to count cards without factoring in the basic strategy.
There is a lot of practice involved in all of this. You must master the basic strategy and learn the rules and, ultimately, the concept of counting cards before you can master the card counting technique. Otherwise, you might negate the edge by making rookie mistakes.
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