Anyone who deals even a little with the subject of the casino will have heard of card counting in blackjack . Card counting is not only becoming more and more popular, but more and more myths and rumors about the topic are spreading. Supposedly you have to be a math ace and have a perfect memory to count cards effectively. That this does not correspond to the truth becomes clear in the following article. It’s more about practice as well as understanding the mechanics of the game. It is therefore strongly recommended that you play the game yourself countless times over a long period of time, simply for fun, in order to familiarize yourself. As the next step, you are then ready to use card counting to get the house edge on your side.
A few words of warning: In our posts we have already discussed blackjack and card counting several times. Even if card counting is not illegal, the casino has house rights and can ban card counters from the game and, in the worst case, even blacklist them. Therefore, you should think twice whether you really want to use the tactic in the casino. In addition, there is no one hundred percent guarantee of profit for the card counters when counting cards. Therefore, this post should not be seen as a guide to card counting, but rather as an overview to get a better understanding of the mechanics of the popular game.
Casino Tips: The Hi-Lo Strategy – Card Values
Hi-Lo is the easiest way to count cards. For this purpose, the deck of a blackjack game is divided into different numerical values. A deck consists of 52 playing cards and usually up to 8 decks are played in a casino. The card values are as follows:
- Card values of 2-6 become +1
- 7-9 become 0
- The ten cards and the ace become -1
Casino Tips: The Hi-Lo Strategy – The Running Count
Each new card that is issued is now counted and the value added in the head. It is important that the counting only starts at the beginning of each new card slot and lasts until it is shuffled again. It is important to add up all the hands of the players and the dealer. Here is an example:
The first round brings up the following cards: 2, 2, 5, A, K, 5, 9. The card counter would calculate 1 + 1 + 1 -1 -1 + 1 + 0, so a total of 2 received in the first round. After this, all cards are counted according to the same pattern, so that you always have the exact value of the running count in the back of your mind. The purpose of counting is to make predictions about the remaining cards in the sled. The rule here is that a higher value is advantageous for the player, whereas a lower value is positive for the house.
Casino Tips: The Hi-Lo Strategy – The True Count
If you only play blackjack with a deck of cards, you can skip this step. Unfortunately, nowadays, casinos have several, often up to 8 decks of cards in the card slot. Since the counted value only relates to one deck, in order to determine the current value you have to divide the counted card value by the number of decks that are still in the card slot. All you have to do is divide the current running count by the remaining number of decks. The number of decks is a question of estimation, but can be guessed relatively easily with a good eye and a little experience. Assuming the current running count is +4 and we estimate that there are still 2 decks in the sled, the true count is +2.
Casino Tips: The Hi-Lo Strategy – The Bet
Everyone should have at least a first impression by now of how card counting works in its basic principles. But that’s not enough to be successful at blackjack. You also have to know when and how you should use your money depending on the true count. There are many different theories and approaches to this. Some card counting professionals have drawn up precise tables here that need to be memorized. Since this entry is only intended to be an introduction, we’ll make it simple. In general it can be said that the higher the true count, the better the chances of the player and the more cards have already been played, the more precise the card counting becomes. It is therefore well advised not to bet until after a few rounds, as soon as the cards in the sledge are slowly running out.
- True count stands at 2-3: double the stake
- True count is at 4-5: triple the bet
- True Count is at 6-7: Quadruple the bet
- True Count stands at 8 or more: bet five times
Card counting is a science in itself, with different rules and philosophies that differ mainly in when and how money should be used. We’ll stay tuned and will publish more tutorials on the subject of card counting in the future!