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WHAT IS BLACKJACK CARD COUNTING, ANYWAY? No doubt you’ve heard the concept of ‪#‎blackjack‬ “card counting” bandied about countless times. It’s glorified in movies and TV shows and discussed casually by gamblers everywhere. It sounds like a blast – who wouldn’t want to devise a genius system and use it to take the house for millions? Yet despite all the hype, few people actually know the scoop about counting cards – how it’s done, why it works, the advantages and disadvantages. There’s a common misconception that anyone who counts cards is a math whiz with a brain like a supercomputer, but that’s not necessarily the case. In reality, all you really need to be a master card-counter is the ability to count.
The Basics of Card Counting Card counting is seen by many as a complex, highly mathematical pursuit. In essence, however, it’s anything but. Cancard counting you add numbers, one at a time? That’s all it really takes. The most common system used by blackjack cardsharps is the “high-low” system. It’s incredibly simple – all you need to do is count how many high cards and how many low cards you’ve seen in a given deck, and with that information, you can predict whether you’re due for a big payday. The theory behind counting highs and lows is fairly easy to understand. In blackjack, high cards (anything higher than an 8) are generally your friend – especially 10s and face cards. If you start a hand with a 10 showing, you’re in excellent position to win. If you double down on 10 or 11, you can hit 10 more and reach 20 or 21. Meanwhile, if the dealer hits on an iffy hand like 15 or 16, that 10 could be the bust card you’re looking for. Conversely, 2s and 3s are terrible cards for you – they don’t help you build a high hand, and they can bail the dealer out of a tricky spot. Therefore, all you need to do is count your highs and lows. Keep a running count, starting at 0. Every time a 10, face card or ace pops out, that’s one fewer good card you’ll get to see later, so subtract 1 from your count. Every time you see a 2 through 6, you’re happy to get the bad card out of the way, so add 1. You’ll need to keep count of all the highs and lows you see among all players, not just yourself and the dealer, and add them up quickly. If you see a 7, 4, king, 3, ace, 9, 4 and ace again… quick, what’s the count? Zero. If that took you longer than a couple of seconds, you’d better step up your game. To cash in on your counting skills, it’s simple. All you’ve got to do is bet big when the count is high and get out when it’s low. No sweat, right?
Pros and Cons of Counting Cards The positive side effects of card-counting are obvious – you can make big money. According to legend, the MIT blackjack team made as much as half a million dollars in a single weekend back in the 1980s. And it’s not that difficult to learn card-counting – as long as you’ve got a quick mind and a little bit of patience, you should be able to pick it up. As for cons, you’ve got to keep in mind that even though card-counting can be quite lucrative, it’s still risky. Even if the odds are on your side, you still might hit a losing streak, so you can never assume that you’re guaranteed to win every time. It can also be logistically difficult to pull the stunt off. In the case of the famous MIT team, they had a group of players working together – one to sit at the table quietly and keep the count, another to bet as a decoy, and a third player to make the smart bets and ultimately reap the profits. Are you prepared to put together a card-counting team like that? If not, you might have other problems – like getting caught. WHEN KEEPING THE COUNT GOES WRONG There are two big problems with counting cards in a live casino. One is sheer numbers – a typical blackjack dealer at a casino today doesn’t just deal from a deck of cards, but rather he uses an entire “shoe” or six or eight decks. So instead of trying to count your way through 52 cards, you’re looking at 312 or 416, which is harder, and there’s also more variance. The other problem? The pit boss. If the ‪#‎casino‬ staff catches you counting cards, you could be asked to leave, as they reserve the right to refuse service to any patron. Nothing bad will happen to you, but surely you can’t expect a casino to sit by idly and let card counters turn the tables on them. That’s in the brick-and-mortar realm. In an online casino, you might face entirely different problems, like decks that shuffle automatically after every hand or random number generators that can’t be trusted. Counting cards in a live game is a difficult proposition, but doing so in online blackjack is pretty much impossible. At the end of the day, you still might be tempted to sharpen your math skills, head to the casino and give it a go. After all, if you’re successful, the profits could be huge. But before you jump into the game, you should know what you’re getting ‪#‎europacasino‬