If you expect card counting to look like they show in the movies, you'll probably be fairly surprised after reading this article. In fact, you need neither a photographic memory nor the mind of a genius to get a statistical advantage in the game.
Single-level (simple) card counting in blackjack
There exist several card counting variants, and most of them are intended for advanced and highly advanced players. However, single-level counting can also give an advantage to players who do not have as much experience with blackjack.
This form of card counting is based on a mathematical model which will help the player keep track of which cards are still present in the pack. This then allows the player to adjust his/her strategy.
Counting is not magic
How does it work? Usually, the best cards for the player are 10s, J, Q, K and aces. Cards with lower values are better for the dealer. Why? Since if there are several 10s and aces in the deck, there is a higher probability of a blackjack for the player.
On the other hand, high cards are disadvantageous for the dealer, since they have to draw even when they are holding a 16 in hand. Simply put, if the dealer has a 16 in hand and there are already several lower cards on the table, then there's a higher probability that he/she will get a high card and lose.
The principle of single-level card counting
The fundamental idea is to assign a point value to individual cards:
- + 1 point for low cards, i.e., 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
- 0 points for 8 and 9
- - 1 point for 10 and ace
The principle is based on counting the point values of all dealt cards on the table. It might seem hard at first, but practice makes perfect and over time you'll surely have no problems keeping track. Your bet can be adjusted to the value you counting. Your table could then look for instance as follows:
- Less than 1 point - bet the minimum
- 2 to 3 points - bet double
- 4 to 5 points - bet triple
- 6 to 7 points - bet four times
- 8 and more points - bet five times
Push the casino into the defense
Card counting is great precisely because it puts the advantage to the side of the player. That is why some brick and mortar casinos try to carefully find out whether a player is counting the cards (as Ben Affleck could tell you). But in the online world, you can always be the king.