Everything You Need to Know About Counting Cards

Everything You Need to Know About Counting Cards

If you’ve watched the gambling-themed movie “21,” you might think you know what card counting is all about. However, that depiction in the film is not a hundred percent accurate, to be honest. This article aims to tell you everything you must know about counting cards.

Card counting, in the purest sense, is about what it is – counting cards, specifically in Blackjack. It pertains to paying specific and close attention to every card dealt, the surrounding environment, the dealer's moves, and your opponents' actions. Knowing the previous cards gives the counter a clear idea of the next possible cards. This knowledge allows them to adjust their stake accordingly.

Can Anybody Count Cards?

Contrary to what we saw played out on the film, you don't have to be an MIT student to master card counting in Blackjack. Excellent knowledge in Math isn't even a requirement. You'll be a card count whiz in no time as long as you are willing to commit and are passionate enough to learn the strategies and techniques.

What are the Basics of Card Counting?

There's a basic counting technique called Hi-Lo that's an excellent place to start. Here are the steps:

  1. You need to start by classifying the cards into three group.
  2. Do this by assigning each group with neutral, positive, and negative values.
  3. Keep in mind that low cards from two to six are equivalent to a point because removing them makes any deck favorable to the player.
  4. Cards seven to nine do not affect the odds, so they are equal to 0.
  5. High-value cards from 10 to King, and the Ace are equal to -1 since removing them from the group makes the deck less favorable to the player, thus boosting the house advantage.
  6. You can monitor the running count by noting every card dealt and assigning the necessary point each time.
  7. You can raise your stakes when you come across a positive count, while a negative count signals you to lower them.

Keep in mind that this counting technique is best for single-deck games only.

Is Card Counting Illegal in Gambling?

According to the Blackjack Apprenticeship website, card counting is not illegal, and it is not cheating. It's the equivalent of using your techniques and strategies to win a game of chess. Many people seem to think card counting is a bad practice because of its depiction in the movie “21.” No one from a casino is going to point a gun at you to make you stop counting, but casinos do have the right to ask you to stop playing should they find out. However, it's not because you're practicing an illegal act. It's more about you putting their casino at risk for being too good of a player.

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