The Do’s and Don’ts of Card Counting

If you’re the kind of gambler who likes to play blackjack games online at Betfair and other casinos, it could really help your game if you get your head around the basics of card counting. By far the best tool at your disposal if you’re a dedicated advantage player, card counting gives you a concrete idea of what’s going to be dealt next.It can even tell you what you can expect to see if you hit or stick with what you have already down. Including basic strategy and proper bankroll management, card counting is the best way to make sure you’ve got an edge in the game.

Though card counting has been around in some form or other for years, the first book that explains what you need to be a card counter came from Edward Thorp in 1962 and covered the fundamentals of how and why card counting works. Unlike just about any game you can play in the casino, past events will have an impact on future outcomes in blackjack.

Until such a time as the deck is shuffled, any card that does come out will change the probability of a different card coming out later. From this, you can make assessments of what cards are going to be coming next and what you can expect the dealer to receive as well (one of the key elements of card counting is that you can predict what the dealer will do and whether or not they’ll go bust in the process), which can inform your choices beyond just basic strategy.

The core elements of card counting will be the same no matter what system you use; you need to track how many of a certain value of card come out and assign a value to them. The most common system, Hi-Lo, assigns a positive value to cards under 6 and a negative one to cards over (and including) 10. This means, when a deck has a ‘positive’ count, that there are more high value cards left in the deck. If this is the case, you can expect to see better starting hands and dealers going bust more frequently.

Casinos aren’t exactly fond of card counting so if you plan to acquire this skill, it’d be a good idea to try and bear in mind a few do’s and don’ts of card counting…


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