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Card Counting

Casinos are always on the look out for anything out of the ordinary. Casinos know how to spot card counters and use their highly sophisticated security cameras, known as “the eye in the sky” to monitor every inch of the casino. They track their playing and betting habits and will ask you to leave if they suspect you of counting cards. There are cameras in the lounge watching you writing a note, a camera watching you cash in your chips and even cameras in the parking lot watching you leave.

The basic strategy of card counting employs assigning a value to certain types of cards. This allows the player to determine when the cards remaining are favorable to the player or the dealer. Card counting alone will not help you win, but help you determine when to bet high or bet low. The key to beating blackjack is to combine card counting with basic strategy and reduce the house advantage as much as possible.

The basic hi – lo card counting system is as follows.

2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 are given a value of +1.
7, 8 and 9 are worth 0.
10, jack, queen, king and ace are worth -1.

This system works fine with a single deck game. In multi-deck games players need to keep a “true count” as well as a running count. This means that if the current count is +6 in a 6 deck game, the true count is +1 (6 divided by 6). This is another strategy employed by casinos to thwart card counters.

As cards are played and discarded, the player keeps a “running count” from all cards played. The higher the count, the more low cards have been discarded. This means there is a higher number of high value cards in the deck which is better for the player. This tells the player it’s a good time to start increasing your bet.

Blackjack players will find less and less opportunities to successfully use card counting today. Online blackjack games reshuffle after every round making it impossible to count cards. Land based casinos have deployed their own defenses against card counters. Some of these include more frequent shuffling of the deck. Loud distracting environments of casinos may cause casual counters to make a few mistakes give any gained advantage back to the house. Casinos keep a close eye on every inch of the casino and are trained to spot any suspicious activity including playing and betting patterns. Finally, casinos will escort you out the door if they suspect you for any reason and charge you with trespassing if you return.

There are things you can try to avoid detection. Always leave a table after a loss. A real gambler wouldn’t leave a table after a win. You could try doing what the MIT blackjack team did, but since it’s been done before, casinos are now better at spotting it. Click here to find out how they did it.



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