Posted by admin | Feb 9, 2010 | Comments Off

Card counting is a long employed method to beat casinos at the blackjack table. Advantage players who have mastered counting techniques have taken traditional casinos for millions over the years. Guys like Edward Thorpe, Stanford Wong, Arnold Snyder, and of course the celebrated MIT blackjack team had to become masters of disguise to prevent casino security from asking them to vacate the premises because they consistently won too much money.

Casinos are now pretty wise to counting and spend a lot of money to detect and employ counter measures to limit the damage. But casino policy aside (note it is NOT illegal to count cards. This was tested in the courts by counter Ken Uston when he sued Atlantic City casinos. They do however reserve the right to refuse service), sound card counting techniques will always remain mathematically proven way to optimize returns playing blackjack.

But I’m not Rain Man!

Many people assume counting involves remembering every card dealt and instantly computing all cards remaining in the shoe/deck, requiring a near photographic memory and savant like mathematical skills. In reality however, most techniques are really quite simple, and based on the fact a high card rich deck offers players employing basic strategy an advantage over the house. Counting is simply a means of understanding at any point during the deal how high card rich the shoe is - not exactly which cards remain.

There are a few techniques to do this - one of the most popular is the Hi-Lo method. And to pull it off yo need to be able to pay attention to the deal, and add or subtract the number 1. OK its slightly more complicated than this, but not much.

Try this…

Assign all cards number 2 through 6 the value 1. 7,8,9 are assigned the value zero. 10′s and picture are assigned the value -1. As each card is dealt, keep a running count of the assigned values. When the count is high (close to 10) and the deal is nearing the cut card, then the remaining cards are high. In this case (playing basic strategy) you up your bets. If the count is low (less than 3 or negative) stop betting or lower your wager amounts.

Can I count playing live blackjack

It’s common knowledge that traditional online blackjack is dealt from a full, shuffled virtual deck EACH round. Counting is therefore impossible. But live dealt blackjack uses real cards - usually an 8 deck shoe in fact. So can you use counting playing blackjack live online?

Well unfortunately not. And this is because the casinos make sure that the shoe is re-shuffled well before your count can penetrate the shoe and be of any use. Most live casino policies stipulates a shoe shuffle after approximately 4 decks.

Note the shuffle below, and you’ll see that the cut card gets inserted about mid way.

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