Blackjack has to be one of the most popular card games in casinos across the world.The game attracts both serious players and casual gamblers, as both want to make as much money as possible.
There are different methods to secure a winning hand. Yet nothing is more effective than card counting. So, if you want to beat the odds to ensure the game works in your favor, we are showing you how to count cards and why it works.
What is Card Counting?
You can’t start counting cards until you know how the strategy will work.
You must learn about the foundations first.
The most valuable cards in blackjack are, of course, aces, tens and face cards.
The least valuable cards will be your 5s and 6s cards. Why? Because these two cards can sometimes result in a hand turning bust.
This basic knowledge will often determine the success of your card counting strategy.
Basic Card Counting Techniques
It’s not unusual for some players to be a little intimidated at the prospect of counting cards.
Many people who have watched movies such as Rain Man will often believe you have to have a great memory.
There is a misconception that card counting is all about memory, as a result, when it actually isn’t.
There is much more skill to it than that – and you can learn it if you’re willing to try.
A card counting strategy can work when you assign different values to various card types.
For instance, the card values are commonly assigned as:
- 2 to 6 cards = +1
- 7 to 9 cards = 0
- Aces and tens = -1
Not only must you assign values to the cards, but you must also learn about the running count.
The running count is the total card score where it stands in the game.
So, if the shown cards were a 6, two 10s, a 2 and a 7, the overall running count would be: -1, -1,+2 and +0 = 0.
As a result, the running count will help you to identify if the deck is hot or low. If it is low, it will prove there are better cards in the remaining deck.
If you don’t learn to master the running count, you will never be able to master a card counting strategy.
How to Use Your Knowledge
Let’s face it, the reason you want to learn how to count cards is to make as much money as possible.
To do so, you will have to learn how to successfully balance your bets.
So, you must use your knowledge to bet hard when you have a favorable deck. You must also learn when to scale back on a bet if there are many low cards still in the deck.
It’s also essential to note that most casinos will use more than one deck.
The rules will be the same, but you will have to learn how to count multiple decks during a game.
How do you know many decks will be in play? Most casinos will state how many decks they will use in the game.
So, you must carefully consider the running count against the amount of decks.
It might sound difficult, but the technique will become easier the more you play.
The Hi-Low Method
Beginners should try to master the hi-low method when starting out.
It is a simple system that can be a superb place to start card counting. Yet, it is not the most accurate method.
The Red Seven Approach
Counting cards is no easy task, which is why the Red Seven approach can simplify the process.
So, the rules are to count all red 7s as +1 instead of a 0. Also, black 7s will also be counted as a 0.
The Omega II Approach
The Omega II approach is a little more complex than the Red Seven method.
Here’s how it works:
- 2, 3 and 7 cards = 1
- 2, 5 and 6 cards = 2
- 9 cards = 1
- 10s and picture cards = 2
- Aces and 8 cards = 0
It might be a little more complicated than Red Sevens, but it can improve your chances of securing a winning hand.
Yet, this is probably not the best approach for first-time card counters.
What Skills Do You Need to Play Cards?
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to counting cards.
Most people should be able to do it with a little hard work, but you must ensure you maintain focus if you want to win a hand.
You will also have to add up in an instant, whilst keeping your eye on the hands on the table, so it helps to be good with math.
If maths isn’t a problem, counting cards will more than likely come more natural to you.
It’s also a game for people who can blend into the background with ease.
Counting cards can have you run out of a casino if you are unfortunately caught.
You must learn to casually glance around the table to spot all the cards. It’s all in the facial expressions.
Does Card Counting Really Work?
Card counting can work if you are willing to put the time and effort into learning the skill.
Edward O. Thorp released his book “Beat the Dealer” in 1962, which inspired millions of amateurs to start card counting.
One amateur who used the skills to his advantage was Bill Gross.
The world-renowned bond guru had the focus and maths skills to master card counting. So much so that he won $10,000 at a Las Vegas blackjack table, which funded his UCLA degree.
In fact, Bill Gross has stated that learning to count cards taught him about risk in business. How? Because he learned to avoid high-stake bets.
So, learn about the most valuable and least valuable cards and master the running count. This will give you the foundation for a winning hand.
The more time you put into developing the skill, the greater the reward will be.
Want to follow in the footsteps of Edward O.Thorp and Bill Gross? We recommend reading Casino Room’s post on card counting.
Have you got any card counting skills you would like to share? We would love to read your helpful tips. Please feel free to write a comment below.