How to Count Cards (and Bring Down the House)
There, I said it.
I want to shatter these myths and unveil the truths about card counting.
Is card counting still worth it?
Advantage Play, in the context of this article, is any wager or game in which an individual has a statistical advantage over the other party involved.
While these vary wildly from casino to casino I assure you the opportunities are plentiful if you have your eyes open and know what to look for.
The primary focus of these will be the well known form of advantage play, card counting, in blackjack.
Now, you might be asking yourself, what credentials does this author have to be issuing such information?
I enjoy what is counting cards in blackjack and statistics and can often be found doing statistics on numerous casino games or other events for fun.
After reading through the 99 pages of threads on WoV, 199 pages of threads on Blackjackinfo.
I am a part time counter averaging about 5 hours per week.
More importantly, I know and can prove I have a winning game and I am a profitable player.
All of this is good and well, and I could go on and on about my experiences, big wins, losses, etc, but at the end of the day what gives me the credentials is my partner in crime, mathematics.
I can, and will, use simple math to prove to you the game can be beat.
In a sense of put up or shut up, always trust the guy with the correct math!
Thorp, the father of card counting.
The authors of the article, the four horseman, Roger Baldwin, Wilbert Cantey, Herbert Maisel, and James McDermott can and should be honored with creating both basic strategy and card counting.
Thorp modernized their ideas with the power of computers and simulations.
Thorp taught himself how to program and thus wrote simulations to determine the effect of card removal on a pack of cards.
This means, given a standard 52 card deck, what is the effect, in respect to a player in a blackjack game, if a single ace is removed?
From this small concept spawned a train of thoughts.
What happens if all the aces are removed?
What about all of the ten valued cards?
What about all of the fives?
Through programming and millions of simulated deals Dr.
If I have a single deck of cards and remove all four aces, the player has no way to achieve the best hand in the game, blackjack!
The big advantage here is highlighting the traditional rule that when I player is dealt a blackjack they receive a payment of 3 to 2, or 150% of their original bet, where as when the player loses they only lose their original bet.
Thus, if one were to trade blackjacks back and forth with the dealer in a deck full of nothing but tens and aces, the player would win.
More high valued cards also means the players double downs and splits become more profitable.
Lastly, due to the house rule that the dealer must hit on any 16, this means the dealer will bust more often.
Thorp realized this and developed his first counting system to keep track of the ten valued cards in a deck, the Tens Count, and thus formally, card counting was born.
Card counting works because blackjack is one of the very few casino games in which every hand is not an independent trail.
One should note that although there are some advanced techniques, any beginner should be warned that you can not count a Continuous Shuffle Machine CSM.
These are machines where the dealer inserts the discarded cards back in to the machine after nearly every hand of play, thus resetting the state of the cards.
Although the casino would like it to be illegal to use your brain what is counting cards in blackjack a casino, many courts have ruled that using your brain to play to the best of your ability is well within the rights of the players.
However, what most people do not realize is card counting alone will not enable a player to beat the casino.
There are a plethora of other techniques that must be used in conjecture with card counting, and even through every single one of them is https://bannerven.com/blackjack/jugar-blackjack-online-contra-jugadores-gratis-con-otros.html, this union is often found to be quite difficult.
So regret, freeroll pokerstars password can somewhere simple, like basic strategy.
Basic Strategy Every card counting story begins here.
Basic Strategy is a predetermined mathematical approach to every decision that can be made in blackjack.
This means when you get your two cards and you see the dealers up card, of your available choices to hit, stand, double, split, or surrender, one of them is always mathematically the best choice.
Basic strategy was thus invented by The Four Horseman, however with the power of computers and simulations today we have a refined basic strategy for any game or rule set of blackjack.
Any number of basic strategy engines can be tailored to your specific playing rules, but even a basic strategy card from a casino is generally 99% accurate.
Memorizing basic strategy is literally just that, memorization.
It takes no special talent or skill, just time and memory.
Pick and Practice a Counting System There are almost too many counting systems today.
Here is a fantastic reference I found on Ski michigan />While this is a simpler level 1 count, it is revered by many as the count that packs the most punch for your dollar.
A few others might feel high and mighty with their Uston SS count and their.
The amount you give up in any one category to a more blackjack addiction stories count you will make back 10 fold with less player mistakes.
It will be a lot more difficult to get specific questions answered about other less popular counts, which fewer people seem to use.
First, practice your count in general by running a deck down.
Shuffle and pull 1 card out of a deck face down and set it aside this can also be a cute magic trick at parties after people have been drinkingthen flip cards over one at a time and count the rest of the deck.
When you can do this in less than 30 seconds ideally 20 then try a more advanced method of counting a deck down; flip over 3 cards at a time and count a deck down all the same.
Go on YouTube and find some slot machine noises to play in the background.
Well, there are different times when counting that you do want to play differently because of this information.
These are called deviations or indexes because one is deviating from Basic Strategy according to the count.
Again, these are changes in play because the count indicates the composition of the deck has changed i.
TC +3, 12 stands to dealer 2.
This is again memorization.
It takes no special talent or skill other than remembering numbers.
Hell, you'll find different rules at the SAME casinos!
Whether or not you can double on any two cards, double after split, what number of hands you can split to, surrender, or if the dealer hits or stands on soft 17 A-6 are all very important!
Enjoy this information provided by the Wizard on his main blackjack page at WoO note: this is in comparison to the benchmark rules 8D, S17, DAS.
What the effect means is the effect the rule has on the house edge.
If one were to plug the rules in to the Wizards house edge calculator and find that a game has a.
Thus, if you find an 8 deck game without surrender that comes out to be.
The same game, but with surrender, only carries a.
Penetration So one might think, for 6 or 8 decks early surrender or the dealer standing on 17 are commonly the biggest advantages I can get!
Penetration is how deep the dealer puts the cut card what is counting cards in blackjack a shuffle.
That is to say, all of the cards after the cut card will not be played.
A game with deeper penetration will yield more variance in counts as fewer decks are left and more opportunities to have an advantage, and thus bet bigger.
To sum that up again, the more penetration you get, the more opportunities you'll get to bet bigger!
This is the most valuable rule to the player, followed by the other rules as listed above.
I can not stress this enough.
I have seen so many players ask over and over if they can beat a game.
There seems to be about one new thread per week that has to do with an online live blackjack game with decent player rules and 50% or less penetration and someone asking about how to beat it.
Without having the penetration to get good situations you will have to take full advantage of any situation you can.
This leads to very high bets in smaller positive counts which fluctuates your variance wildly requiring a huge bankroll just to sustain all of the natural swings of the game.
Number of Decks I want to expand on a playing condition briefly mentioned in the rules set above, which is the number of decks.
As one could probably tell from the effects, the fewer number of decks a casino uses the better the game is for what is counting cards in blackjack player.
Example: 1 deck you are dealt an ace, there are 16 4x4x1 ten valued cards that could give you blackjack, and 51 cards remaining dealers card face down not counted yet.
Change that to an 8 deck game… There are 128 4x4x8 ten valued cards that could give you blackjack, but this time there are 415 total cards remaining.
However, most of the lower deck games, such as double deck DDquite often come with a higher table minimum.
Every casino has a different tolerance for bet spreads, etc.
The common knowledge is that for a double deck game spreading anything over 8-1 will get you heat.
This is a skill that can only be honed with experience over time.
Suggested bet spreads that should get minimal heat will be provided later.
Wonging is the art of table hopping at the right time, essentially.
Also, wonging can generally bring you a lot of heat.
Casinos have known about card counting for a long time.
In my opinion, you might as well put a bullseye on your back.
However, for any 6 or 8 deck game it should be a standard to not play whatever excuse you can come up with when the TC is source or worse.
Wow, sitting out makes me money!
This might be high to some, low to others.
Again, this number can be defined with a basic strategy engine.
Simply plug in the rules of the game and it will not only tell you the basic strategy, but also the house edge.
Here is one from Blackjackinfo.
Quite often one will define the other.
Sometimes playing conditions will define what spread you can get away with, which would drive your bankroll requirements.
Using Kelly Criterion you can determine what your average bet should be, as well as your bet spread.
Break them down one at a time.
First, I used an online calculator listed above to get the house edge of the game I'm interested in.
Secondly, I looked up the Frequencies in which the True Counts appear for the number of decks in my game you can find them in Wong's book or online by googling 'Blackjack hand frequencies double deck'.
Third, I took each TC and calculated the new advantage.
I used a more exact method above, but for generics that are pretty close, each TC is worth ~.
Thus, if you're playing a 'standard' game where the house edge is .
Once you have these factors, the rest are pure calculations.
Play with the bet spread you believe you are a comfortable with, and b can get away with at the casino.
Thus, if you remove all of the bad counts by sitting out, leaving, etc, then your hourly EV will go up a significant amount.
Is your bankroll replenishable?
It comes down to this: Find out what table limits you are comfortable playing at, pick a spread, and compare.
So unlike the advice your mother blackjack 14 you when you were younger, my advice to you is… play with it!
Start out with a 1-15 spread for 6 or 8 decks, and a 1-8 spread for What is counting cards in blackjack, at the limits you want to play.
See where you stack up not actually at the tables, but on paper.
Another note to be made is you do not have to have your entire bankroll on you when you go to play.
I practiced for hours a night for months on end.
I was a machine.
So what did I do?
I played it… Spreading 8-1 over 2 hands 4-1 each hand.
A VERY simple and very barely profitable spread that would be simple to remember, thus good for practice, would be a 5-1 spread.
Whatever the true count is, that should be your bet.
These are things you must learn with experience per casino.
READ A BOOK The reason I listed this near the bottom is from my own experience.
You will not make millions of dollars especially non professionals.
This can be an indicator of your play after a while.
There are four main reasons the game is profitable: 1 You get paid 3-2 on your blackjacks, the dealer does not.
This can be quite frustrating when you count all night, put out your big bet, and the dealer gets the blackjack instead of your hand.
This can be frustrating after counting for hours for a positive shoe then losing all your big bets.
This can be maddening when you have losing streaks that gofor days, weeks, or even months.
I personally have had months of losing that ended up balancing out to my EV over time.
It made me question everything I was doing and reevaluate my play to see what I could do better.
You WILL question whether or not counting works.
This is where all of those fun stats about your play can be quite handy.
If you are not a professional then you should do this for your own reasons, but one of them should not be to become rich; I personally do it for fun.
I have a math minor and enjoy probabilities.
I love using my brain to flip those odds back at the casino.
I do it because I believe casinos prey on the weak minded.
Now, you're ready to hit the tables.
When it comes to counting cards and blackjack I always say: Don't think you have a winning game, know you have a winning game.
I'm glad you found the article useful.
There's always something new to learn!
Feel free to ask questions here or in the forums if you have any.
Thanks Romes - great article, has given me a few things to think about.
I especially like the advice to new players that being an AP is not just knowing how to count cards - there's more to it than that.
The only problem that I have with this VERY well-penned article is the often promulgated nonsense that Edward Thorpe invented Card Counting.
I have several OLD books that refer to Card Counting in the 1940's and 1950's in Las Vegas.
In those decades "counting cards" was called "Casing the Deck" Thanks Flash.
There's a fair click of debate as to who "invented" what, but Thorp's book is certainly one of the first to accurately discuss Effect of Removal, as well as put together an actual counting system the Tens Count from the this theory and his computer simulations.
I'd be interested in at least reading anything prior to him for fun.
What are the older books?
The dealer must hit their 16.
Insurance is pretty important though.
For blackjack understood house edge blackjack side bets you From Aug to Sep 2016, it took me several WEEKS just to read Article 1!
At least 50% of the content was way over my head.
But more than winning a little in cash, I think I won A JACKPOT of experience, learning about other players, playing conditions, confidence, and more.
I also attribute my enjoyable blackjack experience to the click to see more tips and advice I enjoyed from other WoO forum members.
They really made a difference!
So don't be daunted by Probability of getting 21 in blackjack 1.
It will be a brain buster if you are math challenged and game challenged I never played blackjack before like me.
But after you play your pravila u blackjack tables, you will appreciate and enjoy Article 1 much more.
Just remember, like Romes says, "Playing it correctly means you've already won!
Some of the math and tables are still over my head, but I can piece together a lot more than I even realized.
The INTERNATIONAL blackjack community should appreciate you and thank you!
Today is 27 Feb 2017, almost 3 months since I've read Article 1 two times already.
This time, I've read the Article like a fine-tuned instrument.
I did not feel intimidated this time, and felt like I had a "smooth" read.
And yes, in my case little experienceI've uncovered multiple "Aha!
I hope read article translates into positive outcomes in my April 2017 trip to Las Vegas.
It is worth your time to click on every link in Article 1, and you'll be rewarded.
In my case, I had 2 major rewards: Reward 1 Blackjackinfo.
The best part is that the BJ trainer can now be played on your iPad!
Reward 2: I finally figured WTH is Illustrious 18, and Google and read until I found this neat regrouping of the 18 deviations.
Insurance: Insure at +3 or higher.
TT vs 6: Split at +4 or higher, otherwise stand.
Note that the ten split indexes are often ignored, because they are considered to draw too much attention from the pit personnel.
I will need some serious time to just get a gist of the statistical data, but, I think there is a great deal to learn here.
Thanks phobeanne, and LW for giving your personal experience through the journey that is learning to have a winning game counting cards at blackjack.
Hi Romes, Am re-reading the first article again.
I think one of the best things I think I've learned so far from the forum is to take losing in stride, when a couple of years ago I'd be bent out of shape if I lost my session bankroll.
I think I understand the nature of the game better.
It's hard to have a positive outcome if one doesn't get blackjacks!
But I realize that it was just one of those nights.
I still have a ways to go as far counting goes, but I have learned to Wong out very consistently.
And since my sessions are rather short 1-2 hours usuallyI notice that the game I play 6D will rarely get a TC of more than +1 or +2.
But I'll keep practicing!
I appreciate your knowledge of the game and willingness to share.
This is the most informative article I have read on the whole site - informed, intelligent and well researched with real and practical advice and what is counting cards in blackjack explanations for the points made.
When you wong out, you don't 'always' have to leave the table there are tons of excuses to sit out for several hands.
During this time you might see the count swing back in to positive territory even.
You should definitely be seeing all kinds of True Counts though in any given shoe.
Yes, they will follow their frequency distribution pending the penetration so you might see 'majorly' -2 to +2 true countsbut you should definitely see TC +6 or even -6 every now and again.
Norm, whom runs the blackjackinfo forums developed the software and it has been used by MANY on and beyond both forums.
When should you start using the TC what is counting cards in blackjack increase your bets.
After 1 deck penetration.
Thanks in advance for any help.
Hi Robert, sorry for the slightly delayed response!
The True Count TC already takes in to consideration the decks played and the decks remaining.
Remember, the Https://bannerven.com/blackjack/blackjack-machine-atlantic-city.html is the Running Count divided by the number of decks remaining in the shoe.
See how both situations 1 deck in and 3 decks in still result in a TC of +1?
So you should use the TC when it's positive.
For "exact" true counts I'd again recommend getting the qfit software to simulate your game to see exactly how much TC is worth to the player advantage.
In GENERICS below: TC +1 is worth ~.
So if you're playing a liberal game with.
This would be a good time to start ramping as you do have a positive expectation here, albeit a small one.
Each additional TC is worth ~.
If you download and review my excel sheets you can see that for "generics" I use the.
This way you can see what your advantage https://bannerven.com/blackjack/odds-of-royal-match-in-blackjack.html, your bet, and thus your expected gain or expected value EV.
Just wanted you to know that your great articles are still being read and appreciated over five years after you've written them!
Thanks so much for the great information and how you've what is counting cards in blackjack it down so well.
Blackjack and card counting — the truth behind it, dos and don'ts, principles, probabilities, with in-depth analysis. Count your chickens after.
Unfortunately, I can help nothing, but it is assured, that you will find the correct decision. Do not despair.
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