An Introduction to Counting Cards

Television and movies make counting cards seem like a no-brainer. After a quick read through a guide or a brief explanation from a card counter, players find themselves at the tables raking in huge winnings without a care in the world. Unfortunately for players, the real world doesn’t exactly work that way. Counting cards is a relatively complicated skill that’s both difficult to master and frowned upon by most gambling institutions. However, if you’re feeling ambitious and would like to know more about Blackjack’s most famous winning strategy, you’ve come to the right place! Let’s take a closer look at the time-tested skill of card counting.

The Basics

inner1caounting23072015Having success while counting cards depends on a host of variables, some of which are out of your control. For this reason, you’ll need to be a true master of the variables within your reach in order to maximize your odds. The first step to any blackjack playing career is to master basic strategy. Sure, counting cards will lead to occasional strays away from the proven play technique, but the simple fact is that even the best counters in the world rely on basic strategy the majority of the time. Take your time, and get comfortable with this strategy. Then, you’ll have a solid foundation upon which to construct your card counting career.

Speedy and Smooth

As you likely already know, casinos aren’t big fans of card counters, so you’ll need to be extremely comfortable with your skills before taking them to the tables. To be successful, you’ll need to be able to count a deck quickly and memorize large tables of numbers while simultaneously convincing everyone around you that you’re just a casual player having a good time. If you’re able to accomplish all of this, you’ll be able to gain an advantage of about one percent over the house. Sound small? That’s because it is. In order to turn this slim advantage into noteworthy winnings, you’ll need to accurately play for hundreds of hours.

The Logic

inner2counting23072015Card counting is built upon the principle that a deck full of aces and tens benefits the player, while a deck filled with small cards benefits the house. When the deck becomes favorable, card counters will increase their bets to capitalize on the slightly improved odds. A favorable deck can also greatly alter play strategy, turning basic strategy stands into doubles and splits. For example, when doubling, a player normally needs a ten to complete the hand. When the count is high, the likelihood of receiving this ten is increased. The other advantage of a favorable deck lies with the possibility of a blackjack. Remember, players receive three to two payouts for a black, but dealers do not. This is an advantage worthy of note.

If card counting still seems like something you’d like to try, you’re now ready to dive more deeply into the expansive strategy. Remember these basics, and you’ll be off to a strong start on your quest to beat the odds and count your way to a bigger bankroll.

Laura Barton

Laura Barton is a self-declared "adventurer". Highly energetic and unpredictable, you will never find her without something to read on her hands. She loves casinos, after all it's in her blood: her father was a Las Vegas mogul and a former owner of some of the largest casino entertainment chains in the US. Loves rock climbing, surfing and playing drums.