Understanding Card Counting in Blackjack
As a blackjack player becomes a little more serious about playing the game, he or she soon learns that the house advantage is small; only about 0.5 percent (about 1/200). Blackjack has among the smallest advantages for the casino and there’s a way for the player to turn the house advantage in their favor.
There are two basic strategies for blackjack players. The easiest and most popular strategy isn’t really a strategy, but rather a “cheat sheet.” This strategy is to simply to buy a blackjack strategy card in the casino gift shop and look at it after the hand is dealt. Casinos don’t mind this since they know that they hold an advantage even with a seamless basic strategy.
With time and practice, advanced players learn the correct basic strategy from the card and begin playing without the card. Basic optimal strategy is good but it still leaves the casino with at least a 0.5 percent house advantage depending on the rules of the game. A bad blackjack game will give the casino more than a 2 percent advantage over perfect basic strategy.
The other strategy is slightly more difficult and can actually shift the advantage from the casino to the player. Most blackjack players call this strategy as counting cards. Contrary to popular belief, card counting is actually legal, but extremely frowned upon and most casinos do not allow it. Casinos are businesses and prefer having even the smallest advantage.
Card counting is a mathematical strategy used to determine whether the next hand is likely to give the player an advantage over the dealer. Card counting is only about the actual counting and knowing when the deck (shoe) has the highest face values (10-King and ace) for the player. The lower the value of cards dealt, the higher the player’s chances of getting face value cards and beating the dealer.
Blackjack players often ask if card counting works with online blackjack. Since the online casino can’t see the players, it may be possible.
There are mobile apps you can use to practice and learn how to count cards, as well as websites with practice games where you can test your black knowledge and learn how to count cards. Lastly you can download software on your computer to teach you different methods of counting cards.
Choose your casino carefully. Some online casinos will deal cards in blackjack from an “infinite shoe” algorithm. This infinite shoe algorithm essentially means that the cards are automatically shuffled. The odds of you getting the same cards dealt in two consecutive hands is possible when cards are dealt this way. This will minimize your card counting skills will be minimized.
When playing online blackjack you want to look for one of two types of games. The most simple game to find is one that dealt from a real virtual shoe that uses a specific number of decks. The other game will have a live online blackjack dealer. Both of these types of games will allow you to use your blackjack card counting skills.
These games will be similar to what you find in a land-based casino. You will be able to spread your bets so that you can take advantage of better counts and minimize your bets when you have less of an advantage.