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Counting Cards Step 1: Card Values VideoThe Truth about Backoffs as a Card Counter
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Related Articles. Article Summary. Method 1 of Learn basic strategy. First things first, you can't really be an effective card counter if you don't know the ins and outs of basic blackjack strategy.
Sure, you could count the cards, but it wouldn't result in you winning anything. Try to walk before you run.
It's in your favor to practice in casinos, if you plan on counting cards at casinos. Unlike at your kitchen table, there are a ton of other factors going on that must be considered -- like hiding the fact that you're hustling everyone.
When you play blackjack with a well-practiced strategy, you get the house's advantage to relatively 0. All casino games are in favor of the house, so this 0 is pretty good!
Get so good at blackjack it's like breathing. You should be a machine when it comes to this game, spitting out the best thing to do in split seconds.
You shouldn't need a book open, you shouldn't need a second to think, and you should be able to do it with one eye closed and both arms tied behind your back.
Knowing this game like the back of your hand is the only way you'll make money. Counting cards gives you a one percent edge.
Familiarize yourself with the concept of counting cards. General strategy for card counting uses the Hi-Lo strategy.
When added up, they total the running count. That's it. The simpler you can keep it, the less your brain will want to explode -- so think of this simplicity as a good thing.
Understand why card counting works. It works because high cards tens improve a player's chances of hitting a blackjack, which pays out at They also increase the dealer's chances of going "bust.
Method 2 of Understand how it works. They keep a number in their heads that tells them when to bet and how much to bet -- or not to bet at all!
A deck with a positive number is good. The higher the number, the more you want to bet. The higher the number, the more high cards are left to be played.
Learn the values. To track the ratio of high cards to low cards thus knowing whether the deck is in your favor or not , you'll need to assign the cards a value.
Start at 0 and as each card comes up, add it to your tally. Cards have no value. Cards worth 10 have a value of Aces also have a value of Learn how to bet accordingly.
Generally speaking, you want to increase your bet by a unit of 1 for each point that the tally goes up. If you do it any more drastically than that, those eyes in the skies will be on you like a hawk.
Test yourself. Grab a complete deck sans the jokers and rifle through it, keeping track. You should end up at a very round 0 if you've counted the cards accurately.
Aim to get through the deck in under 25 seconds. That way, even Dealer McSpeedy won't get by you. Start timing yourself when you can get through the deck and end up at 0 every time.
Even though the math is very simple, it's easy to get side tracked. Don't be surprised if you end up with a different number consistently in the beginning stages.
Take a card out and leave it face down. Run through the deck and get your tally -- what's the unturned card?
Take in pairs. Keeping this in mind will make it much easier as the cards fly by you at lightning speeds.
Counting cards is about remembering a tally. Counting cards well is about accuracy and speed. To be a good card counter, it has to be like riding a bike -- you can go on autopilot at the drop of a hat.
Taking in pairs gives you a lot less to worry about, making it easier for you to be accurate. If the player is counting and varying bets according to the count, there will be a trend whose slope reflects the player's average edge from this technique.
Play variation. When card counters vary from basic strategy, they do so in response to the count, to gain an additional edge.
Software can verify whether there is a pattern to play variation. Of particular interest is whether the player sometimes when the count is positive takes insurance and stands on 16 versus a dealer 10, but plays differently when the count is negative.
Casinos have spent a great amount of effort and money in trying to thwart card counters. Countermeasures used to prevent card counters from profiting at blackjack include:    .
Some jurisdictions e. Nevada have few legal restrictions placed on these countermeasures. Other jurisdictions such as New Jersey limit the countermeasures a casino can take against skilled players.
Assaults are less common than in the early days of card counting. Some countermeasures result in disadvantages for the casino. Frequent or complex shuffling, for example, reduces the amount of playing time and consequently the house winnings.
Others, known as continuous shuffle machines CSMs , allow the dealer to simply return used cards to a single shoe to allow playing with no interruption.
Because CSMs essentially force minimal penetration, they greatly reduce the advantage of traditional counting techniques. American mathematician Edward O.
Thorp is considered the father of card counting. Although mathematically sound, some of the techniques described no longer apply, as casinos took counter-measures such as no longer dealing to the last card.
Also, the counting system described count is harder to use and less profitable than the point-count systems that have been developed since.
Even before the publication of Beat the Dealer , however, a small number of professional card counters were beating blackjack games in Las Vegas and casinos elsewhere.
One of these early card counters was Jess Marcum, who is described in documents and interviews with professional gamblers of the time as having developed the first full-fledged point-count system.
Another documented pre-Thorp card counter was a professional gambler named Joe Bernstein, who is described in the book I Want To Quit Winners , by Reno casino owner Harold Smith, as an Ace counter feared throughout the casinos of Nevada.
And in the book Playing Blackjack to Win , Roger Baldwin, Wilbert Cantey, Herbert Maisel, and James McDermott known among card counters as "The Four Horsemen" published the first accurate blackjack basic strategy and a rudimentary card-counting system, devised solely with the aid of crude mechanical calculators —what used to be called "adding machines.
From the early days of card-counting, some players have been hugely successful, including Al Francesco, the inventor of blackjack team play and the man who taught Ken Uston how to count cards, and Tommy Hyland , manager of the longest-running blackjack team in history.
Ken Uston, though perhaps the most famous card-counter through his 60 Minutes television appearance and his books, tended to overstate his winnings, as documented by players who worked with him, including Al Francesco and team member Darryl Purpose.
In the s and s, as computing power grew, more advanced and more difficult card-counting systems came into favor. Many card counters agree, however, that a simpler and less advantageous system that can be played flawlessly for hours earns an overall higher return than a more complex system prone to user error.
In the s Ken Uston was the first to write about a tactic of card counting he called the Big Player Team.
The book was based on his experiences working as a "big player" BP on Al Francesco's teams. In big-player blackjack teams a number of card counters, called "spotters," are dispatched to tables around a casino, where their responsibility is to keep track of the count and signal to the big player when the count indicates a player advantage.
The big player then joins the game at that table, placing maximum bets at a player advantage. When the spotter indicates that the count has dropped, they again signal the BP to leave the table.
By jumping from table to table as called in by spotters, the BP avoids all play at a disadvantage. In addition, since the BP's play appears random and irrational, they avoid detection by the casinos.
The spotters, who are doing the actual counting, are not themselves changing their bet size or strategy, so they are relatively inconspicuous.
With this style of play, a number of blackjack teams have cleared millions of dollars through the years. The publication of Ken Uston's books and of his landmark lawsuits against the casinos, both stimulated the growth of blackjack teams Hyland's team and the first MIT team were formed in Atlantic City shortly after the publication of Million Dollar Blackjack and increased casino awareness of the methods of blackjack teams, making it more difficult for such teams to operate.
Hyland and Francesco soon switched to a form of shuffle tracking called "Ace sequencing. This made it more difficult for casinos to detect when team members were playing with an advantage.
In , members of the Hyland team were arrested for Ace sequencing and blackjack team play at Casino Windsor in Windsor, Ontario , Canada. It was documented in court that Nevada casinos with ownership stakes in the Windsor casino were instrumental in the decision to prosecute team members on cheating charges.
However, the judge ruled that the players' conduct was not cheating, but merely the use of intelligent strategy.
Automatic shuffling machines ASMs or batch shufflers , that randomly shuffle decks, interfere with the shuffle tracking variation of card counting by hiding the shuffle.
Continuous shuffling machines CSMs , that partially shuffle used cards back into the "shoe" after every hand, interfere with card counting. CSMs result in very shallow penetration number of seen cards greatly reducing the effectiveness of card counting.
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So i'm quite new to counting cards, and i understand the counting of values of cards, but when these numbers add up what do they tell you?
Reply 4 years ago. Since the dealer has to draw up to 17, he is more likely to bust if there is a higher percentage of face cards 10, J, Q, K, A to low cards The dealer shows a 16 assuming the hidden card is 10 and you have a Since it is more likely that the next card will be 10 hence your card count , you would stand because the dealer's percentage to bust is higher.
Card counting basically uses probability as opposed to the traditional way of playing assuming the hidden card is ten and hitting if you are below the dealers predicted total to gain an advantage from a statistics standpoint.
Card counting is, under any circumstances, not cheating or illegal! All it card counting is about is understanding the possibilities of what cards may go down It is not "allowed" in casinos as professional card counters can take high amounts away from casinos, causing them to lose money.
But I guarantee the dealers count, hence how they make profit If the running count increases, the advantage begins shifting to the player. In an attempt to thwart card counters, casinos began using multiple decks.
Nice try, Casinos! When using perfect basic strategy and card counting, we are able to use this information to bet according to our advantage.
The true count will also inform us of when to change our playing strategy. We provide free charts of playing deviations to our members.
The true count will tell us what our advantage is at any point in a multiple deck blackjack game. To calculate our True Count, we simply divide our Running Count by the number of decks left to be dealt.
So a true 1 would basically erase the house edge and blackjack would be an even game.