• July 30, 2021

Blackjack Card Counting

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Blackjack card counting is a subject that has taken on a larger-than-life image, but in reality it provides a very simple and useful way to play blackjack. Card counting is absolutely useless, however, if you haven’t already mastered basic blackjack strategy. The two topics go hand in hand, so if you haven’t already studied basic strategy, now is the time!
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The basic idea behind casino blackjack card counting is that each hand is not a random independent event. After every single card is dealt, that card is no longer in the deck, and therefore the deck has been changed in a predictable way. For instance, for every ace that is dealt, there is one less ace in the deck. Card counters bet more when the deck has many high cards, and bet less when the deck has more low cards.
High cards favor you because they make it very likely for the dealer to bust. Remember, the dealer must hit until their hand is worth at least seventeen, and they cannot split. Thus, a shoe that has many high cards is a dangerous thing for the house.
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Why It Works
What makes blackjack different from any other casino game is that the house edge is not fixed. The odds of getting a natural blackjack are dependent upon the cards that have already been dealt and the cards remaining in the deck. If an ace is dealt on the first round the odds of drawing another ace has gone down.
In the game of blackjack your probability of winning a hand is dependent upon the mix of the cards remaining in the deck. If the mix of cards remaining in the deck contains high value cards, it is a positive and is favorable for the player. When the deck contains a large number of tens and aces it increases the players chances of drawing a pat hand (17 or higher) or getting a natural blackjack. It also increases the chances that the dealer will bust. Even though the dealer is just as likely to draw a good hand when the deck is positive, the player is getting paid 3 to 2 for a natural blackjack. This is why card counters raise the size of their bets when the deck is rich with high cards. They may also deviate from basic strategy depending on the count.
If the cards remaining in the deck are low value cards, it is negative and it favors the dealer. Card counters usually lower their bets when the count is negative. When the deck is rich in low cards it less likely that the dealer will make a pat hand and it is also makes it less likely that the dealer will busts when he has to draw.
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Steve Carr

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