Counting cards is used to give a player an edge over the casino. Contrary to popular belief, counting cards is not that difficult to master.
Card counting is one of the great skills that can be mastered when playing blackjack and it can greatly increase the chances of winning. While some players think that counting cards is almost impossible, there are some easy ways to begin and these are covered with the following tips. One thing to remember is that card counting is frowned upon by gambling establishment, so players may also want to take some time to learn how to hide these skills after they are learned.
Tips on How to Count Cards
1. Always take time to review and choose the right card counting system. For beginners, the KO and Hi-Lo systems are great since they are a bit less complex. As players gain more confidence and can master these systems, they can start to use more advanced systems for better results.
2. Start with small stakes. When learning how to count cards, it is better to do this while only risking a small amount when playing. Start with $5 games or even lower if they are available and practice skills with these games. Once basic card counting skills are developed and mastered, try them with games for higher stakes.
3. Keep an eye on the bankroll. Most players will not have a good idea of how much money they will need to survive as a card counter. There will be plenty of losing hands, so make sure the bankroll can support the games that are being played.
4. Master the Hi-Lo Strategy of counting. With this, cards that have a value between 2 and 6 will be counted as 1. Cards between 7 and 9 have no value. Cards worth ten have -1 and aces also have a value of -1. Start with 0 and count the values to determine the possibility of the next card being hi or low.
5. Using the Hi-Lo strategy, increase bets when the count is positive, +2 or better. The higher the count, the more players should bet on the game. When the value is a high number, this means that more high valued cards are left in the deck.
6. Consider both cards in the hand. If one is holding a Jack and a 4, the values are -1 and +1, which will cancel each other out. This does not matter much as counting cards has everything to do with remembering the tally and being able to do it with speed and accuracy.
7. Hide the ability to count cards. Many card counters are known for playing the game for hours on end with no breaks. It is important to blend in, so act like a tourist or a general beginner when taking a seat at the table.
8. If there is a need to increase the bet, it is better to let the current bet rise. Most live dealers are trained to shuffle the deck when there is a suspicious increase of betting at the table. Only increase bets in small increments and at random to avoid suspicion.
9. Keep it fun and have realistic expectations. Even though card counting can improve the chances of winning, there is never a guarantee.
10. Do not rely on card counting to be the ticket to winning. However, when used properly, especially with the Hi-Lo system, players will improve their game and make better decisions based on cards already played.
These tips will not make any player a professional blackjack player, but they do provide a baseline for getting started with card counting. With a bit of practice and some knowledge, any player can successfully count cards and enjoy more winning hands.
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