7 Simple Everyday Card Counting Exercises Used by Pros to Hone Their Skills and Maximize Their Winnings
May 29, 2014
Have you ever wondered what separates the amateurs from the pros in blackjack? Is card counting just about being a genius or are there any secrets that we can learn from those in the Blackjack Hall of Fame? We’re going to give some tips to up your game.
Blackjack is a game of wits, and if you want to win rather than relying on blind luck and a bit of smart strategy, you’re going to have to card count.
While card counting does allow you to skew the edge in your favor so you can win at blackjack, what tips and techniques can you employ to make your game even better!
One of the biggest pitfalls of novice card counters is that they will make a mental note of the running count by repeating it in the head. If you’re using the Hi-Lo method, when you get a 3, +1 should immediately go into your head.
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But most players will rather say “plus one” or maybe “one” before totaling it and so on. This is an inefficient card counting strategy, and one which could be improved upon through visualization.
So instead of having a little voice in your head repeating the number, try to visualize it in your head. Instead of repeating the count, just visualize the number as if it were written in the back of your eyelids.
If you’re counting and trying hard to focus by not talking, the casinos will smell something fishy. To become a good card counter, you need to fool others you’re just an average player.
Counting visually allows you to converse without losing your count. Your inner and outer voice won’t clash if you’ve got a count of +3 etched inside your head.
Visualization opens the doors to other necessary skills, like increasing the speed of your count. Once you get used to picturing the number, it become easy to instinctively up the count without even thinking.
You can also start to recognize patterns in the cards, so you can remember them even when they fly past quickly. A face? That’s a -1, a large splotch in the middle, an ace.
If you see only a few spots, then you can assume a low card (if you’re using the Hi-Lo system that is), and a moderate amount can be ignored.
Practice makes perfect
This brings us to the next point – to get good at blackjack, you’ll need to practice these card counting tricks before you hit the casinos.
Visualizing and spotting cards quickly is a skill that will take time to master, so it’s worth sitting at home and practising by recognizing the cards very quickly so you can get used to counting them quickly.
Talk to yourself
When practising at home, you can learn to talk and count at the same time. Start off slow, say a short word and say it slowly and out loud. Hold the word.
It might make you sound stupid, but it’s a good technique to use to help you talk.
You’ll also want to hone your listening skills, so put on the radio or TV while counting and try to follow without losing the count.
Pick your system
The Hi-Lo system is great for beginners, but if you want to increase your edge, you’ll want to switch to a more sophisticated card counting technique like the Advanced Omega II.
Once you’ve mastered the visualization, it will be much easier to handle more sophisticated information to use to up your count.
But for starters, it’s better to stick with a system you’re comfortable with and to increase your ability to count faster and talk the same time.
Beating the casino
One mistake card counters make is falling into a routine in the casino. The staff is on the look out for suspect behavior, and patterns are a huge tipoff.
Be unpredictable and try to act as normal as possible.
If you’re involved in a game, instead of always counting the cards from the players on the right, try to shift it to the left.
Counting in different ways not only makes you look more natural, but will also give you more flexibility as a player and makes you more adaptable to distractions going on around you.
Card counting can shift the edge in your favor, and if you learn to master it you can open up to more sophisticated methods, including deck penetration or even shuffle tracking to up your game.