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The Art of Card Counting In Blackjack

One of the strategies most commonly used in blackjack is card counting. While there are many different methods used, the basic principle is to count the cards that have seen play to determine the probable advantage of each hand. This method helps a player to choose when to increase or lower the bet, or even when to sit out the next hand.

How It Works

There are many different systems of card counting, but most of them are based on the principle that high cards such as aces, face cards and 10s, are statistically a greater benefit to the player, while low cards benefit the dealer more. This means that a player is more likely to win when there are more high cards remaining. This is because a high number of aces and 10s increase the chances for a player to get a blackjack, and also increases a player's chances of getting dealt a 10 when splitting. In the case of a dealer, who is forced by most dealers' rules to hit on 16 or below, a high number of 10s increases the chances of the dealer busting.

Basic Card Counting

Most systems of card counting prefer to start play when a new deck arrives at a table, so that the count is as accurate as possible. The initial count starts at zero, and every card dealt adds or subtracts to the count. The count must include all cards dealt, including cards dealt to the dealer and to other players. The count will then help determine whether the remaining cards will favor the player, or the dealer in the following rounds.

Card Counting Systems

There are many different systems for card counting, some more complicated than others. Generally speaking, a more complex system allows for a more accurate count, but a simpler system allows a player to make decisions quickly. With most systems, however, players will bet high when the card count is high, and will bet lower when the card count is low, or avoid playing the hand entirely. The choice of system normally depends on what a player is most comfortable with. One of the most simple card counting systems is called High-Low. It is a single level count, which means that, at the most, cards only add or subtract one from the count. In the High-Low system, one is subtracted from the count for each ace, face card or 10 that is dealt, while one is added for every card with a value from 2 to 6.

Concerns About Card Counting

While card counting is a valid strategy, and legal in the United States, it is illegal to use any device to count cards. Despite this, casinos generally discourage card counters and advantage players, and most will ask a suspected advantage player to leave the casino. Known card counters may also be barred or blacklisted from the casino premises. Many casinos have also implemented stricter blackjack rules to discourage advantage players, as well as other strategies to counter the advantage gained by counting cards.

 
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