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A closer understanding of card counting strategies

Playing in online casinos is a fun thing to do, especially as you test your luck on various games that can make you win some exciting prizes. Among those that you can find in online casinos aside from slot games are card games that will test you to the best of your abilities. Among the exciting games you can try is blackjack. 

Blackjack follows a simple gameplay that’s easy to understand and follow, even for beginners. Though it’s easy, winning and making a profit is not always guaranteed. With that, some players tend to use strategies when they choose to play blackjack among the many Bitcasino live casino games.

Aside from using a Bitcasino bonus to boost winning chances, you can also try one of the most common strategies called card counting strategy. In case you haven’t tried it before, here are some facts you have to learn about it: 

What is a card counting technique? 

Card counting is a strategy that helps players determine whether the next cards to be dealt would be more advantageous to the dealer or the player side. The goal of card counting is to keep track of the high and low-value cards that are visible during the game in an effort to reduce the casino’s house edge. 

With card counting, players can  determine the composition of the cards that are still being dealt and played. Later on, this will help them make better choices and reduce losses. Though the technique is most commonly used for blackjack, some players have also found it applicable to other games such as spades and contract bridge. 

When used for such, it can also be called card reading. Though a bit uncommon, there are also players who find it useful for games like Texas Hold’em poker

How it started 

The American mathematician Edward O. Thorp is regarded as the inventor of card counting. He was called such as he discussed the ideal playing and wagering tactics for successful blackjack in his 1962 book Beat the Dealer.

Before Thorp’s book was released, some seasoned card counters were winning blackjack games in several Las Vegas casinos. Among them was Al Francesco who taught card counting to Ken Uston. Uston was a member of Francesco’s ‘Big Player’ team. He was also the first to document the card-counting strategy as it is used today.

This group was made up of spotters or card counters. They kept track of the count and alerted big players when they had an opportunity for a great advantage. The big player will then enter the game and wager the highest amount possible. At times, these big players would be subtly signalled to leave the table when the spotter reported that the count had dropped.

How it works 

Keeping a running count is the key to the strategic method of blackjack card counting. Each card in the fundamental card counting system is given a positive, negative, and zero value. The point values given to the cards should be in accordance with each card’s predicted impact on the house edge percentage upon removal.

The count is adjusted using the card’s counting value whenever a card of a specific value is dealt. As a result, low cards raise the percentage of high cards in the remaining set of cards, which raises the total number of cards in the long run. 

Therefore, it is by using this strategy that players can determine when to wager big or small amounts by using the knowledge they get from counting cards. Since players are less likely to get a blackjack on the first two cards and the dealer is more likely to bust, having more low-numbered cards in the deck is more likely to end up badly.

How to use the card counting technique 

Upon understanding the basic principles of this strategy, it is also important that you understand the three simple steps on how you can apply it to your blackjack games. Here are the following steps you’d have to keep in mind: 

  • A value should be given to each card based on the plus-minus count. The count for cards 2 through 6 is +1, cards 7 through 9 are zero or neutral, and cards 10 through ace is -1.
  • The count begins at zero. Once each card is dealt, players will increase the count by the card’s value. The count is +2 if the cards dealt are an Ace, King, 2, 7, 6, 4, and 5. The face-down card of the dealer is not tallied until it is flipped.
  • While dealing cards from the deck, the counting continues. The ideal bet for a player is larger if the count is negative and lower otherwise if it’s negative.

Can you do it for online blackjack? 

Yes, it’s also possible for you to use a card-counting strategy for online blackjack games. Still, you have to be aware of the fact that some sites use special software that will shuffle the cards after each hand is dealt. In case your chosen blackjack game uses such, you won’t be able to apply the strategy since it will be more difficult to do so. 

If not, you can still apply the same strategy so you can make the most out of your chances with this strategy. 

Card counting systems in blackjack 

There are several card counting strategies that work smoothly for blackjack games. Among the most common ones are: 

  • Hi-Lo System (Basic card counting strategy) → The Hi-Lo system, which is based on Edward Thorp’s ten-count, is the most fundamental card counting technique. The system is straightforward and advantageous for newcomers to blackjack. Here, cards from 2 to 6 are given a +1 value because they are low cards, cards 7, 8, and 9 are worth 0, and the value of the Jack, Queen, King, and Ace is -1.

The counting starts with the first dealt card from the deck. Based on the card numbers and values, more high-value cards are still in the deck the higher the positive number in the player count, and vice versa. When the card is dealt, players often start with a running count of 0.

  • Omega II System → This is a multi-level system wherein certain cards are worth two points and others are just one point. As a result, cards 2, 3, and 7 have a value of +1 and low cards 4, 5, and 6 have a value of +2. The face cards King, Queen, and Jack are marked with -2, while the 10 is equal to -1. The aces and eights are given a value of 0.

This balanced card counting system assumes that if the player has been able to keep track properly, he will reach zero once all the cards have been dealt.

  • Wong Halves System→ The most complex three-level card counting method was created by Stanford Wong and is known as the Wong Halves System. When all of the cards in the deck have been dealt, your calculations’ final result should equal zero. After each deck has been dealt, players are instructed to determine their true counts.

Under the Wong system, players can double the values of ½ so as to avoid having fractions. Under this strategy, the cards’ values are as follows:

  • The value of 10’s, Jacks, Kings, Queens, and Aces is zero
  • Eights are worth -1/2,
  • Neutral values for 9s are 0;
  • 5’s are 1 ½,
  • 3s, 4s, and 6s are valued at one each
  • 2 and a 7 is equal to one-half

Advantages of card counting 

The main advantage that this brings is that it elevates your winning chances as it can give you a massive prize when you get it correctly. By applying this to online casino games, you will have a better idea of why the game is so popular across the world. 

It’s also better when you can change the odds in your favour to increase your chances of big wins, especially when you know what you’re doing. That way, you can outsmart the other players in the casino when you place your bets.

Disadvantages of card counting 

There are no laws that define card counting as a crime, especially when you’re just doing it mentally and without gadgets. Though it may be a great strategy, some people perceive it negatively so you would have to exercise extreme caution if you plan to try it on any casino platform. 

Common mistakes of counting cards in online blackjack 

Using card counting strategy is nice but there are several cases when it might be confusing for some people. To avoid making the wrong decisions, here are some of the most common mistakes that show up when applying this strategy: 

  • Not understanding the basics of the strategy → The art of card counting needs practice. Continue working hard, and eventually you’ll succeed. Practising in a secure setting is an effective technique to master the fundamentals of card counting. Online practice resources exist and emphasise the value of card-counting drills while imitating real action.
  • Not checking if casinos allow it → Make sure to quickly review the terms of service. You should be fine if there is no mention of card counting or prospective bans. Even then, however, you risk receiving a suspension if the behaviour-monitoring system flags you. With that, you always have to be aware of a casino’s policy about it. 
  • Not choosing the right card counting system → To make the strategy even more effective, familiarise yourself with the several counting systems so you can see which one appeals to you better. 

These are just some basic facts that you would have to learn about card-counting strategies and how you can make the most out of them. By keeping these in mind and seeing how it can step up your gameplay, you may be more eager to try it when playing with Bitcasino!