Counting cards in blackjack isn’t illegal. Having said that, casinos don’t take kindly to blackjack players who use their skill to swing the house edge in their favor.
Casino games are never in favor of the player. Regardless of the size, the casino always has an advantage.
Card counting isn’t easy and it’s not for everyone. Personally, I gave up trying to learn how to count cards. It took the fun out of a fun hobby.
However, learning how to count cards can be a way to make gambling a profitable endeavor over time. Gambling for me remains recreational and sometimes profitable.
Blackjack players count cards to gauge whether the deck(s) remaining are in their favor or the dealer’s. When the count is in the favor of the player, the house edge can swing to the player.
When using the perfect basic strategy in blackjack, the house edge can be under 0.30%. That advantage can swing in favor of the player when they count cards correctly.
The player can maximize that small edge by increasing bets when the count is in their favor. This is how players can make blackjack a profession or a profitable hobby.
There are various methods to count cards correctly. However, there are five steps to each strategy:
Step 1: Assigning Card Value
Step 2: Counting Cards
Step 3: True Count
Step 4: Deviations or Indices
Step 5: Bet Spreads
The bottom line is that counting cards are legal and possible. Unfortunately, blackjack players must protect their advantage from the purview of the casino.
Here are a few tips to count cards when playing blackjack in a casino.
I had a coach in little league who used the phrase “perfect practice makes perfect” often. This phrase has stuck with me for my entire life.
Practicing baseball the wrong way will not make a player better. In fact, it will make that player learn how to play the game incorrectly.
The same goes for counting cards or any other skill. Counting cards is a difficult skill to perfect but it’s important for players looking for an advantage over the casino. Learning to count properly before visiting a casino is one way to mask this ability.
Many dealers and pit bosses can spot a new card counter after a hand or two. Practicing how to count without being easily detected is important to employ this skill.
Play The Right Game
Casinos are chock full of different blackjack games. It might take a few laps around the casino to find a blackjack game with player-friendly rules where counting can seriously impact the results.
Not all casinos have the same inventory so take time to find and play the blackjack game. Here’s a list of some payouts and rules to look for.
Card counting will always help reduce the house edge for the casino. However, this skill only changes the advantage by a few points.
Playing a blackjack game with a large house edge won’t swing the edge to the player. Find and play the game that will make learning how to count cards profitable.
Be Careful With Bet Spreads
Understanding how to properly spread bets is one of the most important parts of counting cards. When the count is in favor of the player they should bet more money. Conversely, when the count is in favor of the casino the player should bet less money.
This makes sense but eagle-eye dealers and pit bosses will easily catch a player that spreads their bets drastically. A player should find a bet spread that keeps them under the radar of the casino staff.
One way to do this is to have small bet spreads. This isn’t easy and will take time to perfect.
However, the results can be fantastic when a player finds their perfect bet spread.
Too many adult beverages will impair a player’s cognition and make it more difficult to count cards. At the same time, having one or two drinks may keep the casino from noticing a player is counting cards.
Drinks, alcoholic or not, give a player something to do with their hands while gambling. It certainly doesn’t make sense to get drunk while counting cards. At the same time, there might be a mix that will allow a player to remain sober while making it appear as though they’re drinking throughout the session.
Light beer is a good drink for nursing since it isn’t very tasty and doesn’t have much alcohol. I don’t count cards but don’t always want to get drunk while gambling. Alternating between light beer, soda, water, and mixed non-alcoholic drinks is a good way to use drinks as a mask for counting.
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