What is Card Counting?

Card counting is a method used in blackjack to give players an edge to increase their odds of winning. It involves calculating the proportions of high and low cards in the game. It works because the probability of winning the game is dependent on mix of the cards for each hand.

The principles of card counting were discovered by Edward R. Thorp, who published his method in the 1962 book, Beat the Dealer. The book not only started a blackjack revolution, but also led to casinos taking action against players who are caught using this method. While it is not illegal to count cards, anyone caught using this method will be banned from playing blackjack.

How Card Counting Works

In the game of blackjack, the odds of a player (or the dealer) getting 21 points depends on the mix of cards that remain in the deck. If the mix of cards remaining are high value ones, this is a good sign for the player. If there are several 10s and Aces in the deck, it increases the likelihood that the players will be able to make a pat hand of 17 points or higher. It also increases the likelihood that the dealer will go bust.

Card counters bet higher when the deck is "positive" (there are more high cards in it). They are getting paid 3 to 2 for a natural blackjack, so it is to their advantage to bet in this manner.

Keep in mind that the dealer is required to play by specific rules. He or she must continue drawing cards until his or her hand totals 17 or higher. If the dealer is holding an Ace, it always counts as 11 points, unless this would put the dealer over 21 points.

If the cards remaining in the deck are low value ones, this situation favors the dealer. Card counters lower their bets in this situation, which is considered a negative one. It means the dealer is less likely to bust when he or she has to draw.

Methods Used to Count Cards

Counting cards is relatively simple. Each rank is given a point value, and the person counting the cards either adds or subtracts the points to keep a running count to determine whether the deck is positive or negative during a hand.

To be successful at card counting, a player must also be able to disguise his or her actions from the casino pit bosses, which are constantly on the alert for this type of behavior. Making jumps in bets from one hand to the next is a good strategy for disguising your true intention.

Counting cards may give you a slight edge over the house in the long run but the results you are likely to achieve each time you sit down at the table can vary greatly. When the deck is positive, the dealer is just as likely to get the high cards as a player. This strategy is a tool you can learn to give you an advantage to hopefully lead to putting some more cash in your pocket when you visit the William Hill casino online.