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Lowdown on Popular Blackjack Card Counting Techniques

- February 23, 2018 By Riley Wilson -

Card counting in Blackjack

Popular Blackjack card counting strategies and what you need to know about them.

Known as one of the table games with the lowest house edge, Blackjack is likely to attract those who are in pursue of easy money and favourable odds. For the unskilled players who are unable to resist this lure of the sirens, Blackjack can be quite a dangerous adventure, ending in a financial crash, long hours of self-reproach and weeks of budget recovery. The good news is that this can be easily avoided by simply employing basic Blackjack strategy, which can be learned in no time. If you play at an online casino, you will not even have to memorize the basics strategic rules of Blackjack – keeping a chart where you can see it and drawing your moves in accordance to the “Blackjack cheat sheet” is enough for anyone to leave the battlefield unharmed and even with a few extra bucks in their pocket.

However, that will rarely be sufficient for players who acquired the taste for Blackjack and its strategic potential. Gamblers who want more out of their gameplay and who are willing to go further to acquire and master the optimal Blackjack winning techniques often turn to card counting, an ultimate yet controversial playing method which requires a lot of dedication but provides exceptional results – if you do it right.

The Starting Point – Hi Lo Card Counting System

The simplest and most commonly used system of counting cards can be divided into four steps:

  • Step 1 – the player will start by assigning values to the cards in accordance with their denomination. The cards with denomination 2 to 6 will have a positive value +1, neutral value 0 is given to cards 7 – 9 and negative -1 value to Aces, 10s and Face cards.
  • Step 2 – running the correct count is of utmost importance in Blackjack, otherwise, the entire system will collapse. This is done by adding and subtracting the card values of all the exposed cards on the table, including those of other players of course (if there are any). To illustrate, we will assume that one of the players has an Ace and a 2, which makes their total 0; if the dealer has 10 in combination with the Face card, the total here will be -2. By adding both of their values, you will get the Running Count total, which, in this case, is  -2.
  • Step 3 – this is where you need to determine the True Count. To do so, you will need to divide Running Count with the total number of the decks that remained inside the shoe.
  • Step 4 – how high your stakes should be will, of course, be conditioned by the count results. The negative count should be a signal to decrease the bets.

The More Advanced Card Counting Techniques

There is a chronology to learning and using Blackjack counting techniques and it would be absurd to start with the methods described below without mastering the basic Hi Lo card counting first. Once you feel confident enough, you can consider tackling beasts such as Omega 2, an extremely layered and complicated technique used by professional players.

Another system that you may want to avoid until your skills are fully developed is Shuffle Tracking, a method that relies on the dealer’s sloppy card shuffling. The player will start with the basic card counting and keep track of Aces and 10s in order to determine how many of the favourable cards is still inside the shoe. Since the cards with lower denomination have positive values, high count will indicate that cards with negative values (Face cards and 10s) are still in the shoe. As the dealer continues to shuffle the cards, you will do your best to track the chunk of cards with the known values and place your bets accordingly.

Players who are up for a challenge and like a bit of danger will opt for Wonging, a technique where the player will need to observe and count from a safe distance, joining the game only when the odds look promising. This type of behaviour could, of course, attract some unwanted attention, which is why Wonging should be left to the players who are able to maintain the aloof and calm attitude that will not arise suspicion.

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