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Card Counting

Card Counting in Black Jack
by Jerald of Predictem.com

In this article we discuss the house advantage that the casino has over the player and how we can reduce it by playing basic strategy. There is a way to actually reverse the advantage and turn the game of Blackjack into a playerís advantage game. Many people, including the casinos, will lead you to believe that card counting is illegal. The fact is that there is nothing illegal about it but the casino can bar you from playing in their casino if you are suspected of card counting as they aren't interested in anybody walking away with their cash.

The basic concept of card counting is that when the remaining cards in the deck have a higher proportion of high cards (10ís and aces) to low cards then the player has an advantage. The reverse is also true where if the remaining cards in the deck have a lower proportion of high cards to low cards then the player is at a disadvantage.

When the player has an advantage they will raise their bets because an increased proportion of high cards means that the dealer will bust more often when they have a small card up and also the player has an increased chance of winning when doubling down and an increased chance of a Blackjack.

The player will reduce their bets to the table minimum when the count is to their disadvantage. The casino does not let the player sit out hands. The player must also adhere to basic strategy to be successful but then will have different rules that will affect the strategy when the count is in their favor.


The plus/minus count Ė This is the basic card counting system which assigns a value of +1, -1 or 0 to each card. There are several types of plus/minus count systems, one of the basic ones is the Hi-Lo system. In this system the cards 2-6 are assigned a value of +1. Face cards (including 10ís) and aces are assigned a value of -1. The 7ís, 8ís and 9ís are assigned a value of 0. Whenever the count is negative you have an advantage for the player. The larger the negative number the better chance the player has of winning.

There are many other systems out there some of which are much more complicated. The general consensus is that the slight increased advantage from these more complicated systems over the Hi/Lo system is not worth the effort.

The advantage that the player has over the house will be dependent on their level of skill of card counting. It is generally assumed that a player can have up to approximately a 1% edge over the house. This means that it is not an automatic win for the player. They must still have a large bankroll because losses can be substantial if there is a bad run when the bets are raised because of an advantageous deck. It is advised that the player have a bankroll of 250 times the average wager to employ the system.

There are many measures that the casino can take if they suspect someone of card counting. The first thing that they can do is to have the dealer shuffle before it is time to do so. They can also harass the player or simply try to engage them in conversation so they can not concentrate on counting. At any time the casino can change the table rules for splitting or doubling down and they can also lower the maximum bet. The last option for the casino is to bar the player from the casino. When this happens the player will no longer be allowed to play in the casino and could be arrested for trespassing.

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Did you know... that the chances (probability) of being dealt a blackjack is .024%, which equates to one BJ approximately every 42 hands dealt?