Blackjack card counting explained 

There are some casino games that have ended up being so popular and critically acclaimed that even people that have never thought about gambling before in their whole entire life will still know what they are. Take Poker, for instance. As a result of various books and films this casino game is so widely known that we would be willing to bet it is only a fractional percentage of people that know about Poker that also play it. That is the level of its insertion into popular culture – can you think of James Bond without poker for example? Another one of these casino games at Wizard Slots that everybody seems to know about is Blackjack. It is a much simpler game than Poker by and large, with it being played everywhere from the most decadent casinos to secondary schools and care homes – one of the most accessible gambling games in the world. 

Of course, when played in a school at least Blackjack is used more as an educational tool rather than a gambling game, as kids do not actually wager any money on the practise. You may not immediately think it, but Blackjack is actually an incredibly useful tool for teachers to drill the basic principles of numeracy and arithmetic into their pupils, and the best thing is that it does it in such a fun way. Blackjack, after all, is a game that is completely and utterly governed by the laws of mathematics, so it makes perfect sense to use it as a tool to teach things like basic addition. Now, school children only have a pretty basic grasp of mathematics, but once you get to a high level you can use this knowledge to get much better at Blackjack itself. One of the main techniques people try to use is card counting, as you might well have seen from that hilarious scene during The Hangover where Zach Galifianakis’ character attempted to count cards. Read ahead for a guide on what exactly card counting is… 

What is Blackjack card counting? 

So, what is Blackjack card counting exactly? In the movies it can often be portrayed as an impossibly difficult mathematical conundrum, with people doing all sorts of intense and difficult calculations off the top of their own head. The reality, however, isn’t quite this complicated, with the creative licence taken by Hollywood perhaps going a little too far. Card counting is basically where a Blackjack player will keep tabs on what cards are in the game and what ones aren’t, and from this they can form a specific betting tactic. 

Blackjack is always played against the dealer, so if you accurately keep tally of the cards you have received, as well as the spent cards from the previous rounds you can form a basic idea of the dealer’s hand and bet accordingly. It sure isn’t rocket science, however it is also a lot harder than it seems on paper. 

How can you count cards during Blackjack? 

Right, we are sure you will now want to know exactly how you can count cards during Blackjack, and who are we not to oblige? Obviously this isn’t exactly the easiest thing to teach, but we will try and give you a basic idea of how gamblers engage in the practise of Blackjack card counting. The first thing to do is to assign a value to each card in the deck, as it will make things a lot easier when you begin counting. The Hi-Lo system is the most common and works like this: 

·         Cards 2-6: +1

·         Cards 7-9: 0 

Once you have done this you will be in a good position to start counting the cards as they are dealt, using the values we have just laid out. 

Continue doing this as the cards are dealt and make sure you are keeping a running count here. It is also essential that you stay focussed when doing this, as one miscalculation could throw the entire process off. After doing this you will eventually arrive at a true count of the entire deck, which you can then use to ascertain the advantages and disadvantages of each individual round count, betting accordingly. 

What are the advantages of Blackjack card counting? 

By now you are probably wondering why the hell gamblers go to such great lengths to count cards whilst playing Blackjack – there must be some kind of reward, right? You bet your bottom dollar that there is, otherwise why would anyone engage in such a torturous mathematical puzzle! The whole idea of card counting is that you can accurately tell whether or not it is the house or player that holds the advantage, and with this knowledge you can bet with a lot more tactical nous and precision. 

Think about it: if via card counting you know that the house is more likely to win that you are you can hold off on the big bets for that round. And vice versa, if you are in the stronger position you can end up taking full advantage. 

Is Blackjack card counting illegal? 

Now here’s a tricky question: is Blackjack card counting actually illegal? In many movies and TV series it is portrayed as an absolutely illegal practise, however in reality there actually isn’t any government law banning Blackjack card counting. That may come as a shock to many people who thought this was an inherently illegal thing to be doing, but you are actually free to count cards in most places, lawfully speaking of course. 

The reality in casinos, however, is markedly different. They really are not fond of card counting, and will often try and locate and expel card counters as quickly as possible. They know these people are going to end up taking the most money off of them, so there shouldn’t be much of a surprise there. 

Blackjack card counting online – does it work? 

A word of warning here: Blackjack card counting does not work when playing online Blackjack. This is because the deck is shuffled almost constantly using a Random Number Generator, so you card counting won’t have any point.