To play like a professional in Blackjack the player must know what cards are on the table, and at the same time what cards are left to come out. In this sense, card counting has become the goal of many players, who manage to count cards using different strategies. The Blackjack is a game where the luck is involved so it is impossible to predict at 100% which card will come out next, however counting cards will help the plaver to have an idea that could help him to guide his bets.
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How to count cards in Blackjack
The methods for counting cards in Blackjack consist of giving a score to each card and as they come out of the deck the player add them. The greater the sum of the cards on the table, the more advantage for the player since he has more options to obtain a high card. It is estimated that card counting offers between 0.5 and 1% more options to the player, but situations can arise where they have a great advantage.
Beyond the methods that we will see below, to use a card counting system in blackjack it is necessary that three people participate. Player 1 will be counting cards at the table, and if he is hot, has a favorable count, he will make a signal to Player 2 so he can join the game. Thus, Player 2 reaches the table when Player 1 takes a while, reducing suspicions. For his part, Player 3 is a decoy who also carries the entire game on the table, and usually bet very high or very low.
The most known counting cards methods
The high-low system:
This is the most basic counting card system, in this the cards between 2 and 6 are assigned a value of +1, 7, 8 and 9 are worth 0 while the figures and Ace are -1. As the cards are dealt, the player must mentally add the value of the ones on the table. Thus, when the account is between 14 and 16, we could speak of a hot table, with many high cards to come out and many possibilities of receiving a Blackjack or, at least, a 20. To make the calculation more accurate, the player can divide the total number of cards by the decks left on the table. It is what is known as “true count”. Examples:
-The player counted 4 cards. There are still more high cards than low cards to come out. He can raise the bet.
-The player counted -4 cards. There are more low cards than high cards in the deck, so the bet must be reduced.
-In both cases suppose that two decks remain to be used. In the first example, the player can divide 4/2 and the true count is 2; in the second case, he divides -4/2 and the true count is -2
The Uston SS system:
This method is a variety of the High-Low system, it’s more complex since the cards are divided into 6 groups increasing the difficulty of the count. The first thing that the player should do is multiply the number of decks used by -2, so that when starting in a negative range he can avoid false indicators resulting from temporary oscillations. When he crosses the 0 barrier, he can obtain an advantage of at least 1% over the dealer. To do this, he must be clear about the value of each card, as the following: 5 has a value of 3 points; 2,3,4 and 6 has a value of 2 points; 7 has a value of 1; 8 values 0; the 9 values is -1; and finally the Ace, K, Q, J has a value of -2. Examples:
-If the player is in a game of blackjack with 6 decks, he will start with a -12 on the scoreboard (-2×6).
-After each game, he will be adding points. If in the first he has counted 7, the score will be -5.
-If after several hands the count exceed 0, the table will be hot, and he can raise the bet.
Counting cards is legal?
Yes. Counting cards in Blackjack is completely legal but, it does not imply that it is well seen by the casinos. The croupiers and surveillance cameras of many casinos try to prevent the teams of players from carrying out their strategies, since the casino has everything to lose. The fact of increase or significantly reduce the size of the bet as the game progresses by a player is a very suspicious behavior, but they cannot technically prevent counting cards. Of course, the casino can expel the player if they get him counting cards.
It´s very important to clarify that this counting card techniques cannot be used playing Blackjack online because this web sites uses shuffle machines, when a round is finished the cards return to the deck and shuffle, and each hand is played with new cards regardless of the number of decks used, making impossible to apply one of the strategies described above.