🎰 How To Count Cards in Blackjack and Bring Down the House

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High-Low Card Counting Strategy Introduction by The Wizard of Odds. In my opinion, the best introductory treatment is in Professional Blackjack by True Count and a table of "Index Numbers," rather than basic strategy.


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Winning Blackjack Basic Strategy

However, since the ace can either be counted as one or eleven, including an ace in the count decreases the accuracy of playing efficiency. Many others exist. Some players will stay at the table until the game is shuffled, or they may "Wong out" or leave when the count reaches a level at which they no longer have an advantage. A mathematical principle called the Kelly criterion indicates that bet increases should be proportional to the player advantage. Basic card counting assigns a positive, negative, or zero value to each card value available. The Running count is the running total of each card's assigned value. While a single player can maintain their own advantage with back-counting, card counting is most often used by teams of players to maximize their advantage. The New Jersey Supreme Court agreed, [23] ruling that "the state's control of Atlantic City's casinos is so complete that only the New Jersey Casino Control Commission has the power to make rules to exclude skillful players. The player may gauge the effect of removal for all cards dealt, and assess the current house advantage of a game based on the remaining cards. Back-counting is generally done on shoe games, of 4, 6, or 8 decks, although it can be done on pitch games of 1 or 2 decks. Back-counting is different from traditional card-counting, in that the player does not play every hand he sees. Still, casinos object to the practice, and try to prevent it, [21] banning players believed to be counters. This negatively impacts the other players, whether they are counting cards or not. Lastly, a player who hops in and out of games may attract unwanted attention from casino personnel, and may be detected as a card-counter. Instead it comes from the increased probability of blackjacks, increased gain and benefit from doubling, splitting and surrender, and the insurance side bet, which becomes profitable at high counts. This was the system used by the MIT Blackjack Team , whose story was in turn the inspiration for the Canadian movie The Last Casino which was later re-made into the Hollywood version The main advantage of group play is that the team can count several tables while a single back-counting player can usually only track one table. The disadvantage of higher-level counts is that keeping track of more information may detract from the ability to play quickly and accurately. Advantages of up to 2. Macau, the gambling capital of the world and the only legal location in China, [25] does not technically prohibit card counting but casinos reserve the right to expel or ban any customers, as is the case in the US and Britain. Instead, card counters assign a point score to each card they see that estimates the value of that card, and then they track the sum of these values — a process called keeping a "running count. With this in mind, systems aim to achieve a balance of efficiency in three categories: [3]. Many casino chains keep databases of players that they consider undesirable. Card counters may make unique playing strategy deviations not normally used by non-counters. Higher concentration of high cards benefit the player in the following ways:. A simple variation removes the loss of having spotters play; the spotters simply watch the table instead of playing and signal big players to Wong in and out as normal. Some back-counters prefer to flat-bet, and only bet the same amount once they have entered the game. Card counting is not illegal under British law, nor is it under federal, state, or local laws in the United States provided that no external card counting device or person assists the player in counting cards. The player will enter or "Wong in" to the game when the count reaches a point at which the player has an advantage. Stanford Wong first proposed the idea of back-counting, and the term "Wong" comes from his pen name. For instance, the Hi-Lo system subtracts one for each dealt 10, Jack, Queen, King or Ace, and adds one for any value Values are assigned a value of zero and therefore do not affect the count. Back-counting, also known as "Wonging," consists of standing behind a blackjack table that other players are playing on, and counting the cards as they are dealt. As larger ratios between point values are used to create better correlation to actual EOR with the goal of increasing the efficiency of a system, such systems use more different numbers and are broken into classes depending on such as level 1, level 2, level 3, and so on, with regard to the ratio between the highest and lowest assigned point values. The most commonly side counted card is the ace since it is the most important card in terms of achieving a balance of BC and PE. This allows big players to move from table to table, maintaining the high-count advantage without being out of action very long. Large variations in bet size are one way that casinos detect card counters, and this is eliminated with back-counting. The big player will then "Wong in" and wager vastly higher sums up to the table maximum while the count is high. For successful card counters, therefore, skill at "cover" behavior, to hide counting and avoid "drawing heat" and possibly being barred, may be just as important as playing skill. When a card of that value is dealt, the count is adjusted by that card's counting value. Monitoring player behavior to assist with detecting the card counters falls into the hands of the on-floor casino personnel " pit bosses " and casino-surveillance personnel, who may use video surveillance "the eye in the sky " as well as computer analysis, to try to spot playing behavior indicative of card counting. In practice, this means that the higher the count, the more a player should bet on each hand in order to take advantage of the player edge. A bet ramp is a betting plan with a specific bet size tied to each true count value in such a way that the player is betting proportionally to the player advantage with aims to maximize overall bankroll growth. Extremely aggressive plays such as splitting tens and doubling soft 19 and 20 are often called out to the pit to notify them because they are telltale signs of not only card counters but hole carding.{/INSERTKEYS}{/PARAGRAPH} One is that the player frequently does not stay at the table long enough to earn comps from the casino. Counting systems may be referred to as "level 1", "level 2", etc. Since PE is more important in single- and double-deck games, and BC is more important in shoe games, counting the ace is more important in shoe games. Card counting with the mind is legal, although casinos in the US reserve the right to remove anyone they suspect of using the technique. A range of card counting devices are available but are deemed to be illegal in most U. Since there is the potential to create an overtaxing demand on the human mind while using a card counting system another important design consideration is the ease of use. Larger ratios between point values can better correlate to actual EOR, but add complexity to the system. Their resentment may not merely be superstition, though, as this practice will negatively impact the other players at the table, because with one fewer player at the table when the card composition becomes unfavorable, the other players will play through more hands under those conditions as they will use up fewer cards per hand, and similarly, they will play fewer hands in the rest of the card shoe if the advantage player slips in during the middle of the shoe when the cards become favorable because with one more player, more of those favorable cards will be used up per hand. Low cards increase the count as they increase the percentage of high cards in the remaining set of cards, while high cards decrease it for the opposite reason. Card counters are a class of advantage players , who attempt to decrease the inherent casino house edge by keeping a running tally of all high and low valued cards seen by the player. The disadvantages of this variation are reduced ability of the spotter and big player to communicate, reduced comps as the spotters are not sitting down, and vastly increased suspicion, as blackjack is not generally considered a spectator sport in casinos except among those actually playing unlike craps , roulette and wheels of fortune which have larger displays and so tend to attract more spectators. In such a team, some players called "spotters" will sit at a table and play the game at the table minimum, while keeping a count basically doing the back "counting". The primary goal of a card counting system is to assign point values to each card that roughly correlate to the card's "effect of removal" or EOR that is, the effect a single card has on the house advantage once removed from play , thus enabling the player to gauge the house advantage based on the composition of cards still to be dealt. These include: [31] [32] [33]. Historically, blackjack played with a perfect basic strategy offered a house edge of less than 0. Advanced players might additionally maintain a side count separate count of specific cards, such as a side count Aces, to deal with situations where the best count for betting accuracy differs from the best count for playing accuracy. Card counting allows players to bet more with less risk when the count gives an advantage as well as minimize losses during an unfavorable count. Some strategies count the ace ace-reckoned strategies and some do not ace-neutral strategies. Contrary to the popular myth, card counters do not need unusual mental abilities to count cards, because they are not tracking and memorizing specific cards. {PARAGRAPH}{INSERTKEYS}Card counting is a casino card game strategy used primarily in the blackjack family of casino games to determine whether the next hand is likely to give a probable advantage to the player or to the dealer. The goal of a card counting system is to assign point values that roughly correlate to a card's Effect of Removal EOR. Using this principle, a card counter may elect to vary his bet size in proportion to the advantage dictated by a count creating what is called a "Bet ramp" according to the principles of the Kelly criterion. When using Balanced count such as the Hi-Lo system , the Running count is converted into a "True count," which takes into consideration the number of decks used. In addition, many casinos do not allow "mid-shoe entry" in single or double deck games which makes Wonging impossible. Card counting also provides the ability to alter playing decisions based on the composition of remaining cards. Another advantage is that the player does not have to change their bet size as much, or at all if they choose. This offers several advantages. Taken to its ultimate conclusion, the Kelly criterion would demand that a player not bet anything at all when the deck does not offer a positive expectation; the "Wonging" strategy described above implements this. For one, the player does not play hands at which he does not have a statistical advantage. There are several disadvantages to back-counting. As they are unable to ban counters even when identified, Atlantic City casinos have increased the use of countermeasures. The reason for this is that the count is more stable in a shoe game, so a player will be less likely to sit down for one or two hands and then have to get up. One way to deal with such tradeoffs is to ignore the ace to yield higher PE while keeping a side count which is used to detect addition change in EV which the player will use to detect additional betting opportunities which ordinarily would not be indicated by the primary card counting system. However, many variations of True count calculation exist. The disadvantages include requiring multiple spotters who can keep an accurate count, splitting the "take" among all members of the team, requiring spotters to play a table regardless of the count using only basic strategy, these players will lose money long-term , and requiring signals, which can alert pit bosses. With Hi-Lo, the True count is essentially the Running count divided by the number of decks that have not yet been dealt; this can be calculated by division or approximated with an average card count per round times the number of rounds dealt. Another reason is that many casinos exhibit more effort to thwart card counters on their pitch games than on their shoe games, as a counter has a smaller advantage on an average shoe game than in a pitch game. When the count is significantly high, the spotter will discreetly signal another player, known as a "big player," that the count is high the table is "hot". The ideal system is a system that is usable by the player and offers the highest average dollar return per period of time when dealt at a fixed rate. In , Ken Uston , a Blackjack Hall of Fame inductee, filed a lawsuit against an Atlantic City casino, claiming that casinos did not have the right to ban skilled players. The most common variations of card counting in blackjack are based on statistical evidence that high cards especially aces and 10s, and to a lesser extent 9s benefit the player more than the dealer, while the low cards, 3s, 4s, 6s, and especially 5s, and to a lesser extent 2s and 7s help the dealer while hurting the player. In their pursuit to identify card counters, casinos sometimes misidentify and ban players suspected of counting cards even if they do not. Another disadvantage is that some players may become irritated with players who enter in the middle of a game, and superstitiously believe that this interrupts the "flow" of the cards. Including aces in the count improves betting correlation since the ace is the most valuable card in the deck for betting purposes. Some card counters might earn more money by playing a simple count quickly—more hands per hour played—than by playing a complex count slowly. Detection of card counters will be confirmed after a player is first suspected of counting cards; when seeking card counters, casino employees, whatever their position, could be alerted by many things that are most common when related to card counting but not common for other players. Early counter-strategies featured the dealers learning to count the cards themselves to recognize the patterns in the players. When the count "cools off" or the shoe is shuffled resetting the count , the big player will "Wong out" and look for other counters who are signaling a high count. Under one set of circumstance, a player with a unit bet spread with only one-deck cut off of a six-deck game will enjoy an advantage of as much as 1. The variance in blackjack is high, so generating a sizable profit can take hundreds of hours of play. Card counting, also referred to as card reading , often refers to obtaining a sufficient count on the number, distribution and high-card location of cards in trick-taking games such as contract bridge or spades to optimize the winning of tricks. The EOR is the estimated effect of removing a given card from play, and the resulting impact on the house advantage. The following table illustrates a few ranking systems for card counting. The High-Low system is considered a level-one count, because the running count never increases or decreases by more than a single, predetermined value. This increases the total advantage of the player.