The game of blackjack has always held a certain attraction to casino players in general, which is why more than a few people have tried to find ways to be the best in it. The basics of the game requires players to try and get a hand with a sum maximum up to 21, and higher than the dealer’s at the same time – practically, beat the house on blackjack.
In order to do that, players have developed all kinds of betting strategies, card marking techniques and anything else that could help them in their blackjack game play. The one thing that has proven to be the most efficient is card counting, and there are a few points to learn in order to practice it as well as possible.
What is Card Counting?
In order to be good at it, you need to know what it is and how it is done. Namely, card counting is a technique that allows players to count the types of cards that have been dealt, to them and the other players, and to determine which type of cards will dominate the shoe in the next hand. For this purpose, card counting distinguishes between high and low cards, as well as neutral ones, and is also known as the Hi-Lo strategy.
The low cards are those from 2 to 6, and when they appear in someone’s hand, they are counted as +1. The high cards are from 10 to A, and these are counted as -1, while 7, 8 and 9 are considered neutral cards and aren’t given any value. The point is to keep tabs of each card value on the table and calculate the sum, so that you know if it is positive or negative.
How does Card Counting Affect Blackjack Game Play?
Card counting affects the game play in a clearly defined manner – based on the sum at the end of the hand. If the sum is positive, that means that the cards dealt were mainly low, and the remained of the cards in the shoe are high. In such cases, counters increase their bets due to the chance of hitting two high cards, i.e. 20. On the other hand, if the sum is negative, this means that most of the cards that have passed were high cards, and the remainder of the deck(s) contains mostly low cards. In such cases, players tend to lower their bets.
What Does It Take to Learn to Count Cards?
The basic technique is fairly easy, although several variants have been developed throughout the years. All you need to do is keep track of the cards and calculate in your head – it would help to have a photographic memory, but it does not guarantee success any more than these methods do. Ultimately, once you learn to count cards during blackjack, make sure you stay low-key in your intentions – the practice isn’t illegal, but it is surely frowned upon at any land-based or online live dealer blackjack table.
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