There are books about it, many stories and even Hollywood films have dealt with the subject: card counting in blackjack. Do these strategies really work and can they still influence happiness today?
Not just a matter of luck
In contrast to most games and slots in the casino , luck is not the only decisive factor in blackjack. While in roulette, for example, kicking the ball is the first act of each round and none of the previous rounds has an influence on the course of the round, this is different in card games such as poker and especially blackjack . Each previous move influences the course of the game, as the deck is fixed from the start and the player can use so-called counting strategies to calculate a higher or lower chance of winning.
This triggered a real hype all over the world, especially in the 1980s and 1990s, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) even a group of mathematicians got together, some of which were very successful in relieving casinos all over America. The players used sophisticated counting strategies for this.
Blackjack Counting Strategies and Systems
In fact, it is not just a myth, it is mathematically proven that certain counting systems give you, at least in part, a certain advantage over the dealer. Simply put, you simply calculate the ratio of cards in the remaining deck by observing the cards that have already been played.
There are different strategies, the best known and supposedly the most effective is Hi-Lo. With this variant, a negative, neutral or positive value is set for all cards in the deck, as follows:
- 2 to 6 = +1
- 10, Jack, Queen, King and Ace = -1
- 7 to 9 = 0 / zero
The system is based on balance. If you go through a deck of 52 cards, you will always end up at zero with this counting technique.
The deck of cards, which is also used to play blackjack, consists of 52 cards, each with 13 cards of four suits.
How does card counting work in blackjack
You always start with the first move on a new deck. That is also one of the crucial points. If you only join in the middle of the game, you have forfeited the decisive advantage because you do not know which cards are already on the pile that has been put down. If you use the Hi-Lo strategy, you now add up the assigned values of the cards played in your head.
After a few rounds have been played and the remaining cards in the dealer’s sled slowly diminish, the strategy should give an indicator of which cards are left. If the value is positive, more cards from 2 to 6 have been played and the chance of high scoring cards is higher; if the value is negative, the opposite is the case.
This count is also influenced by the number of decks of cards with which the dealer’s sleigh is filled. Classically, it is played with six to eight decks. This is where a method comes into play called “True Count”. For example, if the number of cards in four decks is left, the current number is divided by four.
Is card counting legal?
Yes and no. Basically, card counting is not illegal, but every casino has at least one point in its set of rules and can easily expel players who are suspected of card counting from the casino and impose a game ban.
Aside from the fact that card counting is an unbelievable hassle that diminishes the actual gaming experience, it is also not a surefire way. Casinos have long since adjusted to card counters and are appropriately prepared to prevent such methods. This includes, for example, regularly shuffling the decks after half of the cards are dealt.
Does card counting also work online?
With the opening of online casinos in Switzerland, card games are being used more and more online. At the same time, the systems are becoming more and more sophisticated; in card games, the dealers or the computer do not have to rely on a single deck. And in many digital card games, the rules of the game stipulate constant “shuffle”, i.e. the shuffling of the cards. This makes it impossible for card counters to guess whether and which cards are still in the deck.