Card Counting in 2024 – Techniques That Still Work

While it is not cheating, card counting is an advanced blackjack strategy that can greatly reduce or completely negate the ‘house edge’ so that players achieve a potential advantage. This policy does not apply to a ‘player-edge’ discipline, such as card counting, which casinos dislike and may ban players for suspected card counting.

Card counters keep track of the cards that have been dealt, then use their running count to adjust their bet sizes, according to the true count. Any counting system imparts tag values to cards, and then has to resolve the true count according to its own scheme.

Basic strategy

Card counters give to each card a value and sum their total as cards are being dealt. The most widely used system is Hi-Lo counting, in which cards up to and including the seven are marked +1 (the Hi-Lo count marks to +1 those cards that are considered low but the value of the cards between seven and ace is -1 which are considered high). Methods more advanced than Hi-Lo use larger ratios that reflect better the actual EOR and even add side counts of aces in order to improve their betting action.

But unlike, say, leaving the house when the weather forecast calls for rain, card counting changes your probability by helping you bet more or less based on what you believe the deck to be. Say the deck contains a greater-than-usual number of 10s and aces. That’s good news for the player, because blackjack pays 3-to-2 and is less likely to bust (it wins 90 per cent of the time) when the dealer goes over 17.

card counters are restricted from reaping the rewards of their skills because the use of random number generators in online casinos (as well as their shorter deck penetration) makes card counting more difficult.

Betting intervals

Card counting will tilt the odds more in your favour and will certainly improve your rate of winning hands, but it is a long-term strategy and you need to have plenty of patience and a bankroll large enough to see you through those inevitable losing streaks in between the glorious winning ones. Oh, and by the way, you WILL still lose, no matter what you do to try to beat the bastards.

Card counting is a continuously updated running total in your head of H/L ratio for high cards (10s and Aces) and low cards (2s to 6s), and for low cards (2s to 6s) only, and then you bet based on this information. The greater your true count, the larger your bet might need to be for the best advantage.

Hi-Lo and KISS systems are much easier to understand for a newbie than more elaborate point-counts like the Omega II and Zen Count systems that assign as many as 12 different points to cards, and require different levels of mental calculation.

Counting cards

The best method to get around the house edge is to count cards: if you mentally add up all the cards that are dealt, Dean explains, you’ll know whether or not the next card is likely to be a 5 (in blackjack, 5s are particularly helpful for the house, while a 5 for the player is never scored higher than 21). You might never win a lot with this method, he said, but it’s still the best way to try. Counting cards is really the only way to make a casino game (such as blackjack or craps) ‘beatable’; the penalty? Even if it’s not literally illegal, Dean says, you’ll be booted out of the casino if any employee even thinks you’re counting cards.

Such a card counter has a count system that assigns an unchanging value (+1, -1 and 0) for each count category to every card in their deck (as in the MIT Blackjack Team’s simple Hi-Lo system), or more complex point values (such as Time’s Hi-Opt II system, which uses values of -2, 0 and +1 for its Hi-Opt II counts on any card) that have the tendency to slow down betting and reduce betting efficiency and accuracy.

Card counting also needs concentration. Blend in with other casino players, act as un-suspiciously as possible, and take good care of your bankroll. Counting cards isn’t likely to make you money in a few weeks, and it could be several years!

Disguising your count

It involves a calculation of head that continually gives the player an advantage against a casino, such that the casinos view its practice as tantamount to cheating, refuse to serve card counters, and even evict those who persist in its deployment – all of which brings the matter back to the ethics of the gambit. Is it worth your banishment from ‘the house’?

It will take a lot of practice: you can practise for free online with a simulator, or ask a friend to play with you; offline counting sessions are another good way of practising; and if you’re practising with someone, make sure to change your bet size discreetly to avoid drawing too much attention to yourself.

Card-counting doesn’t offer a quick or easy means of making money, at least not before months or even years of play have worked their way to a positive return. What’s more, it is a tough proposition to master, and tend to make casino personnel suspicious; most casinos now use continuous shuffling machines and automated detection to thwart card-counters.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *