Blackjack Card Counting: Top Questions

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Table Games Blackjack in BoVegas

There is nothing better for a true gambler than the taste of victory! And players always want to have all the available methods at their disposal to increase their chances of winning.

And card counting, a strategy used primarily in blackjack games, is among these tools. Both professionals and amateurs are using it to their advantage. You can use this strategy successfully as well; but at the very beginning, you must deal with any questions you are unsure about. In this article, we’re going to unveil the origins of card counting and dispel some myths about blackjack.

Who Has Discovered Card Counting?

Professional Gambler Edward O. ThorpEdward O. Thorp is considered to be the father of card counting. He created the New York Times bestseller Beat The Dealer (1962), where he proved that blackjack has nothing to do with luck! Beat the Dealer is a rulebook which describes different winning strategies, rules, and tricks on how to get an advantage by making simple calculations.

Yet even before Thorp’s bestseller, players successfully implemented the card counting system in casinos all over the world. For example, one of the earliest card counting systems was developed by Jess Marcum. Unfortunately, he wasn’t a public figure, and he never published anything about his pioneering blackjack system.

Joe Bernstein, another card counter and a professional gambler, used the card counting system long before Thorp. He was described as a player who struck fear into the hearts of all the casino owners in Nevada!

The first accurate blackjack basic strategy was created by some people referred to in counter circles as The Four Horsemen. Roger Baldwin, Wilbert Cantey, Herbert Maisel, and James McDermott used the aid of crude mechanical calculators and described it in the book Playing Blackjack to Win (1957).

Is Reading Cards Legal?

Most people believe that card counting, also referred to as card reading, is illegal; however, this is completely false. Card counters are just a class of advantage players who try to lower the primary casino house edge by keeping a running count of all the high and low valued cards seen by the player. You effectively use statistics to improve your odds of winning. Card counting gives gamblers an opportunity to risk less money, as well as to minimize their losses during an unfavorable count. It also allows you to change your playing decisions based on the remaining cards. Playing to your advantage isn’t considered to be fraud. The worst thing that can happen is that you may be kicked out of a game, or even expelled from the casino.

Can You Do It?

Counting cards received a new influx of popularity with the release of the blockbuster movie “21.” The movie tells us the story about 5 talented students from leading colleges, who are all members of the MIT blackjack team. After taking a flight from Boston to Las Vegas, solely to beat the casino, they use an array of card counting techniques, as well as some more sophisticated strategies. But if by any chance you assumed that these students were mathematical geniuses, then after watching this movie, one more misconception about card counters will be exploded. You don’t have to be a genius to read the cards then, after all! Anyone with minimal critical thinking can do that. Because if you’re already able to do mental arithmetic, and in particular, to add and subtract single digits, then you won’t have any problems with mastering the skill of counting cards. Remember the last time you counted without a calculator?

What Are Your Chances of Winning?

Blackjack card counting is not a fully reliable method, as blackjack is a game of probability. But if you really do it properly, card counting will help you reduce the house edge; and if you’re really good at that, you can even manage to swing the odds in your favor! For a new player, the advantage of a house in the game of blackjack ranges between 2-3%. If you use the basic strategy and other methods, such as card counting, you can easily reduce the advantage to 0.5%. Master card counters, as in the MIT blackjack team, can sometimes lay the groundwork to ensure the house advantage is in their favor.

Should Your Eyes Be Cameras?

The professional card counters have a photographic memory that allows them to memorize each card in the deck. But this is little more than another misleading myth; because these people usually use tags to achieve their goals. A specific numerical value is ascribed to each card; and then, as they are spread out on the table, the card counters just add and subtract. This system is easier to keep track of, and when the total numerical value of the cards reaches a certain point, then counters know when to start making some bigger bets. It is easy to memorize these tags, and they help to give the players a clearer picture of what their chances of winning might be!

Is It Worth Betting Full Blast?

People often think that when they have more money to bet with, they can play more games, and so they have more opportunities to actually win. But this is a completely false myth; because without the right strategy, any blackjack player can lose it all in the blink of an eye! It is more reasonable to start with smaller bets and then gradually raise your stakes. So if you’re good at card counting and you play it smart, then pretty soon you’re going to make jack!

Blackjack Card Game in casino

Should You Use the Insurance Option?

Blackjack does offer you the chance to get insurance whenever the open dealer’s card is an ace. To get the chance to place this separate bet, the dealer needs to have blackjack, which is generally a pretty rare occurrence. Be aware of the variety of insurance rates out there too. One casino might allow you to place up to half of your original stake, while others will demand exactly half. In theory, your decision to take or refuse insurance shouldn’t have anything to do with how big your original stake was; but in reality, this is not always realistic. Be aware that in as many as 70% of cases, you’re likely to lose your insurance, so be sure to weigh your decision carefully before opting for it.

Are There Any Card Counting Apps?

Even if everything we’ve written above wasn’t enough to convince you that it’s easy to read the cards, then it’s worth pointing out that nowadays, there are a lot of applications for your phone or tablet that will help you to get better at blackjack. The blackjack card counting app will help you to improve your skills, and it will also teach you how to play blackjack for real money. But don’t forget that using such applications during a game is forbidden in most casinos!

Blackjack is a very popular casino game. It’s really fun and easy to play as well! By using a few basic strategies and putting in even minimal effort, you can go on to tackle even the least favorable of casino house edges.  So if you play wisely and use our tips, you’re definitely going to start winning right off the bat.

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