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Card Counting for Beginners

Counting cards at the blackjack table | Ann Larie Valentine | Flickr

Have you ever sat at a game table and seen everyone paranoid over a skilled card counter being part of the game? In fact, in many casinos, card counting is very illegal, yet people who are skilled in the art subtly use their minds in counting and rack up impressive wins. You, too, can do it. It is as simple as learning the basic alphabets, but it requires time and training to master. Welcome to card counting 101. Below are the basics.

Assigning Values to Card

This has nothing to do with memorizing the cards you have in each deck or trying to cram how many aces or queens are in a pack of cards. It is about understanding the true value of each card. Every card that is dealt has a plus one value, minus one value, or comes with a zero value.

Cards with numbers 2-6 are the positive plus one cards, while the tens or Aces are the negative minus one card. 7-9 have zero value. When you understand the value of cards, you will understand how to keep track of card ratios from high to low for your ultimate advantage.

  1. Counting the Cards

 This is where you need some of the basic math you learned in elementary school. As each of the cards is dealt to you, you need to start doing the math to know the actual value you have cumulatively. Since the dealer deals the card face down, you might have to wait until the card is flipped over to know the value.

Using the value assigned to cards as explained above, a hand of one ace, king, 2, 7,6,4, and 5 will give you a count of plus two. Remember that cards with numbers 2-6 are the positive plus one cards, while the tens or Aces are the negative minus one card. You will arrive at a plus two count if you do your basic maths.

  1. Breaking the Barrier of Multiple Decks

Casinos’ idea of multiple decks came as a result of wanting to stop the art of card counting. It would have been a very easy feat to determine a running count and determine when the player is advantageous. However, you can still thwart the multiple deck system easily. All you need to know is the true count by using basic math to determine the value of the hand you dealt.

The true count is calculated by dividing the number of cards by the running count you have calculated as the value of the hand you are dealt. Therefore, if you have a plus ten running count and five decks, that means you have a true count of two. Your running count and the number of decks you are left with will help you determine whether you have the advantage or not. The higher the running count and the lower the deck, the better your advantage as a player.

  1. Using the True Count to your Advantage

The true count gives you a hint as to when it is best to raise your bet and rack in some incredible winnings or not. Without you noting what your true count is, you will only be just another amateur counter, slowing down the game and making it pretty exhausting.

As your true count increases, you may start increasing your bet, as it is a sign that everything is to your advantage, and if your calculation is rightly done, you won’t be on the losing end. Conversely, when your true count is neutral or negative, you may want to fold appropriately or reduce your bet greatly if you must bet at all.

  1. Be Discreet

Depending on house policy, most casinos would rather throw a card counter out before it ruins the house. They understand that this skill brings consistent wins for the player and can easily be considered cheating. In most casinos, card counting is illegal, while counting cards with your mind may be overlooked if you are discreet enough. This is why you must stay discreet when counting cards on a table. You don’t have to count loudly or take too long to play your game. Avoid being noticeable, and you will be fine.

Final Thoughts

You need constant practice to understand the art of card counting, and one of the best ways to learn is by playing the actual game and learning how the deck system works. Fortunately, playing in an online casino can equally help. For instance, explore some live CasinoNitro card games in preparation for the big day at the table. Happy Winning!

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