Counting Cards in Blackjack

We need to return to the matter of counting cards.  There is a lot of misinformation about card counting that we would like to clear up.  At the end of this article, we will talk about the benefits of counting cards whilst playing at an online casino.   Low minimum bets, free play, and no travel costs make Springbok the top online casino for South Africa.

It’s Hard to Learn to Count Cards

This is the most common bit of misinformation in the world of blackjack.  Whilst it is not easy to learn to count cards, it is also not difficult.  Like so many things we do, it takes practice.  Depending on the player it might take a lot of practice but you should see improvement at every practice session.

Counting Plusses and Minuses is Confusing

Each card is assigned a value from minus one to zed to plus one.  In standard card counting, 2 through 6 are counted as plus 1 whilst the 10-point cards and the aces are counted as minus one and the 7, 8, and 9 are valued at zed.

The reason that the plusses and minuses are confusing is because whilst the high cards are counted as minus 1, it is better when the deck has an abundance of them.  By counting them as minus, many players think that it’s good when there is an overall plus count which means an abundance of small cards.

If this way of counting confuses you, then simply reverse the way you count the low cards and the high cards.

Explanation of the Count is Hard to Understand

The simplest way to explain the count itself, without regard to which set of cards you count as plus and which you count as minus, if the deck has an abundance of high cards, it’s better for you and if the deck has an abundance of low cards it’s better for the house.

If there is an abundance of low cards and the dealer has 15 or 16 points and has to hit, there is a better chance that the dealer will get a low card and get close to 21 without busting.  If the deck has an abundance of high cards, the dealer is a lot more likely to bust even with only 12 points.

You Can Use Card Counting Only in Single Deck games

The law of probabilities remains the same no matter how many decks there are.  If the deck is rich in low cards, your chances of winning a hand are lower.  If the deck is richer in high cards you have better chances to win the next hand.

Top blackjack card counters will base many decisions on how rich the deck is in either low cards or high cards.  For instance, if a player is playing at the $5 table and makes a $20 bet on every hand when the deck is rich in high cards, he will raise his bet and when the deck is rich in low cards he will lower his bet.

It is, however, a lot easier to count cards with a single deck because the dealer will reshuffle after about 40 cards have been dealt.

Strategy Based on the Card Count

If the deck is rich in high cards, he might double down on a borderline hand based on the dealer’s up card.  If the deck is rich in low cards, he will not double down on 10 or 11 points no matter what card the dealer has up.

It is also better to split when the hand is rich in high cards but if there is an abundance of low cards, a player might split twos or threes, a holding he generally would never split.

A side count you should make is aces.  At some point, all the aces are gone from the deck.  When that happens, you can’t get blackjack until the deck is reshuffled.  If you’re getting close to the point where the dealer will reshuffle the deck and if there is even a single ace left and if there is even a slight abundance of 10-point cards, that’s the time to raise your bet substantially because there are good chances that a blackjack will come up.

Practice is Boring

It might be but there are ways to make it a lot more exciting.  Every deck begins and ends at zed points.  So, as you go through a deck, you should always finish the deck at zed.  Every time you finish a deck at zed you should see it as a potential victory for you at the blackjack table.  If you put an imaginary monetary value on finishing the deck at zed, it will whet your appetite for the challenge to continue to do so.

After about ten straight successful runs through the deck, you need to speed up the run through the cards.  When you start to go faster, you’ll start to make mistakes but mistakes are the way we learn and get better.

You Can’t Count Cards Online

In fact, online is the best place to practice card counting.  You can make small bets, focusing instead on counting the cards.  It also gives you the chance to keep the count in your head as you decide what to do on every hand.  A land based casino is far and away not the place to practice card counting.

Online you can play in free play mode for as long as you like.  This gives you hours of free practice time.

When you play online, you will not be as distracted as you might be at a land based casino.  There will not be a cocktail waitress offering you free drinks.  Alcohol is the bane of card counters everywhere and it is a lot easier to stay away from alcohol at home than at a land-based casino.

Card Counting is a Guaranteed Way to Win

This is a big mistake on the part of some blackjack players.  They play and count cards and lose.  This is dismaying to be sure.  But there is a lot more than card counting involved in blackjack.

Overall good strategy is also important, as is luck.  So card counting is simply a way to make your own luck and set the game up for a temporary shift in strategy.