Blackjack Strategy – A Simple Betting Strategy Versus Card Counting Č As I played blackjack in Las Vegas many times, I was always intrigued by the players who were winning big and wondered how they did it. Now, I’m looking at a situation in Vegas with a player and I ask yourself – “What is going on here?”
The simple fact is that when playing blackjack, basic strategy (strategy with an edge) matters. But, card counting is NOT the answer. Why? Simple question – If you count cards, you can lose!
I have been making a living playing blackjack in Pokerbo for many years. And, I have learned that one of the most important things to learn for playing blackjack is when to NOT do things!
If you count cards, you can NOT Favor Las Vegas dealer over the player. Examples of this are ridiculous – counting plus or minus 3’s when waiting for cards starting with Aces, or plus or minus 2’s when the player is on a count of 16. Everyone knows Vegas pays more for cards that are close to 21 (on a single deck a six is less costly than say a 10 or face card) so please, Mr. Card Counting Fan, learn to stick to your game plan!
Or, as an example, let’s say you start the count at zero and win. It’s time to go to your next casino. Could you tell me why? Simply, because the zero on the card is the dealer. The played card is ‘their’ card and whatever the result, card counting has failed!
If you are absolutely sure you and the player will win this hand, you have to stop and take your winnings. Make sure you’re at the table for ALL the hands, especially the dealer cards. Casinos DO NOT want people winning multiple hands at once. After all, Casinos are businesses. If they thought you would win several times at once, they’d close your door on you.
If you stay and watch the dealer, you can frame him (hit him) for mismanaging your winnings. It’s his money, but YOU have to make sure you don’t go over 21 once you leave. 21 is the number that USA Card Clubs use to identify card counters.
I want to add a word here about card shuffling. When you learn to count cards, you learn to do it quickly, but you also need to be able to do it without someone else noticing. Cards are usually shuffled between 5-10 times per hour. I have been at many tables where the dealer has played to his own advantage and directly profited from card counting. Card counters usually don’t care, because they’re not trying to beat the house. They’re trying to make the house lose and in the process help themselves to a profit.
To learn how to count cards, you need to have some basic qualities in place. You must be able to count every card in the deck, at least those that haven’t been played. This goes along with memorizing the deck sequence. If you learn to count only the very first few cards played, you’re ready to move on to more complicated strategies. But, for now, if you want to be able to count cards on the fly, at least you’re covered for the basic actions.
First, you need to have a watch on the dealer. If he’s been playing a while, chances are he’s familiar with the deck and likely to shuffle it. Casinos generally aren’t scatter counters, however. A deck with many high cards (good cards) is “low” for a reason. High cards are worth more, so the dealer may have already looked at the deck and decided to shake it up. If you’re at a table where the dealer is young and perhaps wasn’t shuffling much, that could also be a good time to start counting (although you won’t be able to tell whether the dealer is more likely to shuffle less cards, as he may be expressing confidence).
Next, you need to learn how to start and stop the count. You need to decide when to start counting and when to stop. Counting on the fly is quite different than counting while sitting at a desk, although many people do focus on how to count while counting. You need to wait for a solid signal from the dealer before attempting to start counting. Whether you engage in entirely random acts of counting or wait for a more complicated strategy, you should always be aware of the specific rules at the specific gambling establishment where you’re playing.
While it’s not possible to know the specific strategies used by a particular casino, much of the strategy is derived from standard card counting methods.