How to Count Cards in Blackjack; Yes, It Can be Done.

We have been in the reviewing game for many years and in the online casino game for much longer. So, people with our experience regularly have to deal with requests such as “how to count cards in Blackjack” or “what is the best online Blackjack site”. And although there is no sure strategy that will automatically get anyone those big winnings, Blackjack is the only online casino game that has proven that it offers the best returns compared to the house edge. It has also proven that it offers one of the best table gameplay “cheat” strategies out there; counting cards.

How to count cards in Blackjack explained in 5 simple steps

Counting cards is not an exact science, but it sure gives better odds than just playing for the heck of it. And although one may not be a pro after the very first YouTube tutorial video, there definitely is a way to count cards in Blackjack. One just needs to ensure that the casino doesn’t catch on since, although not technically illegal, it’s definitely frowned upon and they won’t think twice extending an invite to leave. If still tempted to cheat the house we have all the inside info from the pros within the online casino industry: 

  • Step 1: Keep to the formula.

If one’s really going for the full-blown card-counting strategy experience, then one needs to adhere to the formula. When learning how the counting systems work, it’s not going to help much if one discards or ignores the foundational or fundamental knowledge.  When counting cards, the values are generally assigned as follows; 2-6=+1, 7-9=0, 10 – A=-1.

  • Step 2: Keep count.

Keep count according to the above-mentioned card value formula with every card that is dealt. This is what is referred to as a running count and needs to be done until the deck is shuffled again. The rule of thumb is that the higher the count, the higher the odds are in a player’s favor. The lower the count, the higher the odds are in the house’s favor. It is important to mention here that back in the good ol’ days, casinos only used one deck per game (which made counting cards according to the formula an almost foolproof strategy). But today casinos use multiple decks and therefore it becomes a little riskier when making formula-informed bets.

  • Step 3: Sidestep the multiple decks.

Just because the casinos made things harder with the multi-decks doesn’t mean that it’s now become impossible to successfully use the formula. It just needs a second formula. The second formula is the true count calculation. The true count formula is as follows: true count = running count ÷ decks remaining.

  • Step 4: Raise the stakes.

It’s not going to benefit a player much to simply know when the scales are tipping in their favor, they also need to act accordingly in order to reap the rewards. Therefore, as the true count increases so must your bets.

  • Step 5: Manage, manage, manage.

Some people get cocky and greedy and completely lose sight of their bankroll. The idea is not to suddenly bet all one has the moment it seems that the odds have flipped in one’s favor. No matter which strategy a player follows, a player must still play and gamble responsibly which means constantly being aware and managing the risks, the bets, and especially the budget.

Counting cards in Blackjack – why you should and shouldn’t do it

As with all things in life, counting cards also has its pros and cons. So should or shouldn’t a gamer count cards? Use the following to make the decision:

Do it:

  • Counting cards with Blackjack doesn’t have a lot of people skills or psychology attached to it. It does not require acting, bluffing or other subtle table game intimidation tactics such as one has with Poker.
  • Blackjack is the casino game that has the best odds with the house edge averaging an astonishingly low 0.5%. If one adds card counting strategies into the mix, those odds can double in one’s favor.
  • There’s not much to lose simply by learning the skill in the same way one might learn how to use a specific computer program. Besides, if all else fails, it will still ensure that a player has a pretty neat party trick.

Don’t do it:

  • As with most things in life practice makes perfect. Counting cards in Blackjack is not a get-rich-quick scheme that one can learn by reading a book or watching a tutorial. If a gamer knows that they do not have the time to actually practice their card counting techniques, placing all of their eggs in a card counting Blackjack basket is almost an exercise in futility.  
  •  Many believe that the time it takes to learn the skill isn’t nearly worth the effort when comparing it to the average percentage of winnings. An amateur card counter can take home profits of between 1-5%.
  • Casinos will ban gamers for life if caught. Many casinos have also formed a network due to the challenges they face with cheating gamblers. So if a player has been banned from one casino the odds are that others will follow suit fairly shortly after they start gambling there in order to continue their card counting winning streak. Although it might be a bit harder for casinos to pick up on “cheating” players when they’re playing online, one should not be as naïve as to think that the online casinos have not also put counter-measures in place for these kinds of strategies.

List of Blackjack card counting apps to increase your odds of winning at Blackjack

There are quite a few Blackjack card counting resources out there and in today’s day and age with modern technology, we are lucky enough to have a helping hand in the form of an app. Quite a few actually. Here’s the lowdown of what’s happening in the app world before players simply start downloading the first app they can find:

  • Card Counting Practice: This might be a bit more for advanced players who already have the basics down pat and can be perceived as fairly skilled in the fundamentals of card counting. This app offers players the opportunity to learn 8 different card counting variant strategies. The app itself is very user-friendly and the HD graphics are quite impressive.
  • Blackjack Card Counting: This is one of those apps that gives one the opportunity to practice before the real money games. This app is pretty much a practicing deck simulation that helps one practice real-life scenarios.
  • Blackjack MH: This is another simulator that offers high-quality graphics. It also allows players to practice two other Blackjack variants; Pass and Spanish 21. This simulator app actually gives players all the card counting stats so that they can continuously improve their strategy and gameplay.
  • Card Counter: This is definitely one of our favorites. It actually provides players with a card counting study guide and keeps track of a player’s progress as they make their way through multiple levels. The graphics might not be some of the best out there in the app world, but it gets the job done in a simple and fun way.
  • Honorable mentions: Although not mobile apps, we decided to give honorable mentions to a few platforms that will also give players the opportunity to increase the odds with card counting. YouTube tutorials have given many individuals the chance to broaden their horizons and skill sets without having to pay a premium for education. Watching YouTube tutorials might not give a player the practical experience needed for those big wins, but being taught for free by other experienced experts is already a win in our online casino books. Wikihow can teach individuals anything from removing red wine stains and repairing phone screens to counting cards in Blackjack. Wikihow makes use of easily understandable terms which are even further explained with illustrations or photos. We actually highly recommend that absolute beginners take a peek at Wikihow first before jumping on to the YouTube tutorials and mobile apps since it will give them a good grasp of the basic concepts regarding card counting in Blackjack.

How to use Blackjack card counting apps in live casinos

As previously mentioned, it is a little harder for casinos to spot a card counter if the player is playing online. But online meets reality when playing a live casino game. So what is the difference between playing online and live and how can one still use Blackjack card counting apps to one’s advantage during a live Blackjack game? Well, the difference between playing Blackjack online and playing live Blackjack online is that a live Blackjack game will have a live dealer dealing the cards in real-time. Although players won’t be able to talk to the live dealer, they will still be able to interact with the dealer as well as other players via a live chat system.

The thing that many beginners do not understand is that although players can see the dealer on their screen and interact with the dealer via the chat system, the dealer cannot actually see them. So except for a few far and in between VIP rooms where live face-to-face interaction is made possible, live online Blackjack is pretty much the same as any of its other non-live online counterparts.

As for how Blackjack Card counting apps can still be helpful during live gameplay, we don’t believe that it’s going to be any different from normal online gameplay. In fact, we’re of the opinion that Blackjack card counting apps rarely aid during any Blackjack card game. Most card counting apps act as simulators that players can use to practice and improve their card counting techniques before playing for real money online.

There is only one popular Blackjack card counting app out there that actually takes out all the actual calculating whilst playing in order to increase or decrease those Blackjack bets. It is called TrueCount Lite and is available to Android users only. If a player should opt to use the app instead of putting their mathematical skills to the test, they’ll easily be able to do that even during a live dealer game. The dealer and fellow players will be none the wiser since no-one will be able to see them. But we have to reiterate our previous warning; don’t get too comfortable in thinking that casinos have not already put countermeasures for “cheating” systems like these in place. Even Though the live dealer and casino management can’t physically see a player doesn’t mean that they’re programmed bots within their online casino software can’t.

Blackjack counting cards key terms you should know

When one is planning on counting cards there are a few key terms one needs to know:

  • Deck: A deck is a pack of cards. Blackjack is played using one deck or multiple decks.
  • Shoe: A shoe is a device that is used by casinos to play table games such as Blackjack with multiple card decks. Using a shoe is fairly standard when it comes to table games since playing with multiple decks increased the house’s advantage/edge.
  • Running count: The tally throughout gameplay using the card value formula.
  • True count: The tally throughout gameplay using the second formula when playing with multiple decks. Betting risk and advantage is based on the true count.
  • Bet: The amount of money played per Blackjack round. A bet is the amount of money that a player can either lose or win against the house. Bets should be raised (increased) or lowered (decreased) according to a high or low true count.
  • House edge: The casino’s advantage/odds of winning a round. 

Can you get arrested for counting cards in Blackjack in Canada? 

Unless there is another criminal element that is added to a player’s card counting strategy/system, one cannot get arrested and officially charged for just counting cards in Canada.

Is it illegal to count cards in Blackjack?

Technically card counting is not illegal anywhere in the world, but that does not mean that a casino is not allowed and will not ban a player from their establishment. Blackjack games simply require one to not go over the number 21 according to the card values on the cards they were dealt. How someone does that and by using whichever system or strategy is not regulated by Blackjack casino rules – as long as it’s not outright cheating where someone has an Ace up their sleeve (whether literally or digitally).

Other Blackjack strategies that work: back to basics

One could argue that the Blackjack basic strategy that every player must adhere to is to not go bust with the hand they were dealt totaling more than the number 21 in card values. But if one wants to get technical there are almost as many strategies/systems out there as there are Blackjack variants. Some of the other systems/strategies used by players include actual play-by-play charts such as with Las Vegas Multiple Deck or Atlantic City Multiple Deck. But then there are also a few simple game strategies that can be seen more as tips such as to always split when dealt a pair of Aces or 8’s. The opposite is also true for a pair of 5’s or tens.

The best Blackjack card counting programs to become an expert card counter

Unless players are willing to pay a premium for online course programs by card counting experts, we recommend that they stick to the apps and platforms we’ve mentioned earlier. As with most things in life, one becomes an expert with experience and no amount of theoretical knowledge can make up for a lack of practice.

Captain boy

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