Card counting: does it work? is it legal?

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Casinos have statistical advantages over every gambler that plays, loses or win's in the establishment.

The house edge, which is the profit that a casino makes on each player, ensure that casinos rake in an enormous profit.

From slot machines to roulette wheels there is one type of classic casino table game that, if it is played with the right strategy, produce odds in the players favour.

That game is blackjack. Read below to discover how card counting work, if it is legal and strategies for card counting.

What is Card Counting?

Blackjack, which is also known as twenty-one or twenty-one blackjack, is one of the most popular casino games in the world.

This is due to the ease and simplicity of the game. The aim of blackjack is to push your luck while attempting to beat the dealer by getting as close to 21 points without going over, from your cards you are dealt.

The blackjack dealer has to stick to the same set of rules, however players are allowed to use different strategies in order to try and improve their game.

Card counting is one of the strategies players can use in order to win one over on the dealer.

Card counting is not as complicated as it looks, it  literally is just ‘counting cards' without mathematics or memorization.

How does it work?

How to count cards? In a normal game of blackjack played with a single deck of cards, the house edge, which is the probability that the casino will win is normally nil.

This means that if you play using the proper strategies available by memorizing the method, in the long-run you’ll break even or profit.

This might not seem like an excellent advantage but blackjack is the only table game where this can happen and the odds are nil.

Due to this reason it is easy and profitable in the long term to count cards.

The term ‘card counting' just means keeping a tally of certain cards while the dealer deals through the deck.

By keeping that tally you know approximately which cards are more likely to come up for both you and the dealer in the next hand.

And that little bit of information can tell you when to bet big, or when to bet small.

Is it fool proof?

If you have ever watched the classic casino movie 21 Blackjack you will be aware of the success a group of MIT geniuses attained by card counting. The  MIT team's intricate system certainly paid off  but it wasn't totally foolproof, and no strategy can guarantee a payout. 

If played correctly, counting cards improves your odds by around 1 percent which will certainly pay off in the long run.

Card Counting Strategies

Black jack table There are very few card counting strategies and furthermore many few that really work.

One of the best strategies remains the High Low Strategy.

This is perhaps the best and easiest system for both beginners and professionals.

The High-Low Strategies

Using the High-Low strategy is one of the easiest because the person counting the cards only has to keep a simple and not extremely accurate mental tally of three groups of cards.

So, every time you see a high number placed on the table, which consists of 10's or above subtract 1 from the players total.

For every low number cards which are from 2's to 6's you must add 1 to his or her tally. The middle cards or 7's, 8's, and 9's are simply ignored.

How do I turn this into strategy?

For example: if the running tally is at +3, that means the upcoming cards are more likely to be high so it is extremely advantageous for the player to bet big.

However, if the total is at -2, the odds are on the dealer’s side because of the forthcoming low cards, and so it’s best to bet small.

And when the deck is shuffled, the count goes back to zero and you start all over again.

Overtime counting the cards becomes effortless but it is necessary to practice.

Furthermore, card counting is a long term strategy which means playing game after game in order to keep your 1% edge.

Is it Illegal?

Black jack cards Card counting is not illegal despite what many casino's would like to think, the problem is when a device is used in order to help you win.

Furthermore, many casinos use shuffle machines so now it is more difficult to count cards in many of the more popular casinos today.

Casinos are well aware that card counters can lose them money so therefore they have the authority to deny service to anyone they like.

From a casino’s point of view it is easy to spot a card counter as it is usually someone who’s hyper-focused on the game, and plays for long stretches of time, and bets amounts that vary wildly.

Check out the video below of an introduction guide to card counting in blackjack! 

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