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The Washington Independent

Card counting - separating truth from myth

Card counting - separating truth from myth

From the earliest days of organized gambling, casino goers have worked tirelessly to devise a system that will give them an edge over the casino. Yet while there have been occasional isolated incidents, such as Charles Wells, the real-life man who broke the bank at Monte Carlo, nobody has yet succeeded in coming up with a way to counter the rule that the house always wins.

William Willis
Gambling
Mar 30, 2022

Table of Contents

From the earliest days of organized gambling, casino goers have worked tirelessly to devise a system that will give them an edge over the casino. Yet while there have been occasional isolated incidents, such as Charles Wells, the real-life man who broke the bank at Monte Carlo, nobody has yet succeeded in coming up with a way to counter the rule that the house always wins. That’s probably a good thing – if they ever did, word would get out, every casino would go bankrupt and Las Vegas would become a ghost town.

Having said that, there are strategies you can adopt that will improve your chances of winning. These mostly apply to card games like blackjack, where winning or losing isn’t just down to the luck of the cards but is also influenced by the decisions you make. These strategies won’t eliminate the house edge, but they will reduce it, meaning that in the long run, you will lose less. One of the best known, yet most misunderstood is the art of card counting.

What card counting is – and what it isn’t

Card counting does not require superhuman feats of memory. Rain Man was a great movie, but the card counting scene was pure fantasy. Also, card counting is not a form of cheating that will get you thrown out of a casino. Having said that, you should nevertheless do it quietly and keep it to yourself. Card counting is an effective strategy, so casinos are not big fans of successful card counters and are at liberty to deny service to anyone if they wish.

You can count cards whether you’re playing live dealer online blackjack NJ, or out on the strip in Las Vegas, or at your mother’s kitchen table, for that matter. All that card counting really means is watching the cards that are dealt and being aware of whether those cards left in the shoe are mostly higher, lower or around the middle. You do this by keeping a mental tally as the cards are dealt. For 10s and face cards, subtract one, for low cards (two to six) add one and for medium cards (six to nine) do neither.

It is that simple. If, for example, the running tally is at +2, that means the next cards are slightly more likely to be high. If the tally is at -3, you know there are more low value cards left. This information is valuable in helping you decide whether to hit or stand in marginal situations. What you are effectively doing is refining basic blackjack strategy, and in so doing, you are shaving another couple of tenths of a percentage point from the house edge.

There are dozens of blackjack apps you can play for fun on your smartphone, so why not install one and give card counting a try in the comfort of your home. Just remember to count quietly so you will be ready to give it a go for real without attracting glares from the dealer!

William Willis | William Willis is a freelance writer and social media manager who specializes in assisting finance professionals and Fintech entrepreneurs in growing their online audience and attracting more paying customers. William worked as a bank teller and virtual assistant for financial firms in the United States and the United Kingdom for six years before beginning her writing career. William is a strong force in the workplace, inspiring others to work hard and excel with her optimistic attitude and boundless energy. He enjoys hiking, crocheting, and playing video games with her grandchildren in her spare time.

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