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Card Counting Guide

Card Counting Guide

Casino games like blackjack and UK casino slots have grown massively in popularity over the last two decades or so, as the growth of the internet has seen a massive rise in the number of online casinos that are operating. Increasing numbers of people are beginning to enjoy the entertainment that games like blackjack offer, and they are also increasingly in search of knowledge that can help them become more successful.

Blackjack, although a game of chance, does require some skills and strategies for you to be successful at it. If you are looking for tips and techniques that can help you beat the house and win some decent prize money, read on. You will find plenty here to help you!

The four basic steps to card counting in blackjack

When it comes to card counting, there are four stages to the process. We will go into more detail about these four stages later on, but for now here they are:

  1.       Assign a value to each card in the deck
  2.       Make sure you keep a running count based on the value of the last card dealt
  3.       Use this information to calculate the ‘true count’
  4.       Change your bets according to how the count varies

Counting Cards does not require photographic memory

So, where should you start when it comes to card counting? Well, it’s important to point out first that you do not need an especially sharp memory to be able to do it. While the popular image of a card counter seems to be some kind of savant with a gift for amazing recall, that is a long way from the truth!

Card counting is actually all about maintaining an accurate ratio of how many low value cards there are in relation to high value cards in the dealer’s deck. It is advantageous to the player when there is a higher amount of high value cards, worth 10 or more, remaining in the dealer’s deck. So all you need to keep track, in effect, is how many 10 value cards have been dealt.

deck of cards 

Step One: Assign each card in the deck a value

The first part of card counting in blackjack is to assign values to each card in the deck. A common method of card counting that is used by beginners is called Hi-Lo. In this system you assign the following values to the cards:

  • Card values two to six = +1
  • Seven to Nine = 0
  • 10 to Ace = -1

As you watch each card being dealt, you keep count by adding one, subtracting one or doing nothing based on the values that you have assigned to each card. Keeping an accurate count will help you to determine the size of your bets or if you are looking to sit back and enjoy you should try out some new UK slot games instead.

Importance of the running count

It is really important to maintain the running count at all times during a hand of blackjack. This is key to the whole concept of card counting. You must update the information in your mind every time a card is dealt. If your running count is increasing in value, the game is going in your favour, and you should bet accordingly. If the count is decreasing in value, then the advantage is shifting back in favour of the dealer and the house.

Be careful when playing Blackjack with multiple decks

In the old days, blackjack used to be played with a single deck of cards, and counting like this was actually pretty easy. In order to thwart card counters, many casinos now play with multiple decks of cards, which complicates things for you if you are an aspiring card counter. This means that, when playing with multiple decks, you need to maintain a ‘true count’, which is the count per deck.

This is where things start to get a little bit complicated, so you need to concentrate! It really comes down to the amount of decks that there are remaining in the game. The true count is the running count divided by the decks remaining. So, if your running count stands at 10, and there are five decks remaining, the true count is +2. If your running count has a value of -8, and there are two decks remaining, then your true count is -4.

cards1

Change your Bets

Of course, card counting by itself will not win you games of blackjack. You also need to use the knowledge that card counting gives you. You need to alter your betting strategy as the count changes. When the count is negative or just neutral, you need to be circumspect about betting. Keep your powder dry and your cash close to your chest.

When the count rises, you should start to bet larger amounts, as that means that the game is running in your favour. You also need to keep a close eye on your personal bankroll, and bet according to your circumstances. A perceptive and successful blackjack player never makes foolhardy bets that they can’t afford.

Final Thoughts on Card Counting in Blackjack Games

As can be seen, card counting is actually a fairly simple to do, although it does take some time and patience for you to properly master the concept. If you are prepared to put the time in, though, you can pick the technique up pretty quickly. Obviously, the more you use it, the better you will become at card counting too.

It is also important to remember that card counting is not illegal and cannot be forbidden by casinos. All you are doing is making use of mathematics and memory, and they would really struggle to outlaw those concepts in a casino! Card counting is not cheating  - it is simply a very effective way of sharpening up your chances of winning at blackjack. Follow the tips in this article and you can expect to enjoy more success at the blackjack table, as long as you are prepared to put the work in to perfect the technique.