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Does card counting really work? This is probably the most frequently asked blackjack related question. In the following paragraphs we’ll provide an answer to this and other arising questions.

Does card counting really work?
Does card counting really work?
  • Does card counting really work?
  • What about online casinos?
  • Card counting pros and cons

Card counting is one of the most talked about smart strategies in the blackjack community. Some praise it, others dismiss it. Most probably, the latter group’s bitterness is fueled by failed attempts to learn this advanced blackjack strategy. Card counting is not for everybody; you need lots of patience and a good memory to learn this technique.

How does card counting work?

A card counter is keeping track of cards in order to decide whether he should increase or decrease his upcoming bet. The Hi-Lo strategy is the most widely-known of all systems. It was first introduced by Harvey Dubner, a New Jersey based mathematician and engineer. The Hi-Lo Count is still practiced by professional counters.

This card counting technique assigns a value to each card. Starting from zero, the card counter keeps on subtracting or adding all dealt cards’ value to get a total. Based on the momentary total, they would bet higher or lower on the following hand. Basically, they’re predicting the hand-value of the remaining cards.

Of course, in reality and detail counting is much more difficult. Also, there are more advanced techniques. However, they have something in common: besides the counting process, they utilize basic strategy. We have already stressed the importance of the basic strategy in a previous article, which you access by clicking here.

So does card counting really work? The answer is yes, with a few added but’s:

Card counting online

Unfortunately, card counting is useless at online casinos. The reason for this is that online casinos automatically and continuously reshuffle the cards after each round of blackjack. Since the cards are put back in the shoe and reshuffled, the count starts at zero after each hand. Therefore, card counting is pointless at internet casinos. On the other hand, it can still decrease the house edge of brick-and-mortar casinos.

The Challenges of card counting at land-based casinos

Since you cannot count cards at online casinos, you must play at a land-based casino. With this arise a few more challenges on top of the techniques learning-curve and relative difficulty. At this point we must clarify the biggest misconception about card counting: it’s not illegal. However, card counters can easily find themselves on the casinos’ blacklist, which means that they won’t be welcome to return.

But card counting is not a straight ticket to the blacklist. If you can count without being too obvious about it, there should be no problem. If you’re caught, you can still use disguise to pass the casino’s security.

Card counting can be challenging even at single-deck blackjack games, not to mention multiple-deck variants. The more decks the dealer uses, the harder it becomes to count. Also, we must mention the blackjack variants. There are some tables that players just straightforward avoid, such as Spanish 21.

After all, we can conclude that card counting can be fun for those gifted with good memory. On the other hand, this smart technique is limited land-based casinos, where the player has to face numerous other challenges.