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Counting Cards in Live Blackjack

If you are relatively new to live blackjack, you may have heard about card counting. If you are an experienced blackjack player you already know about this technique. But on this guide we cover both the basics of card counting and some more advanced stuff like types of blackjack card counting.

This guide can here to help you understand exactly what card counting is, and whether you should count cards when you play live blackjack.

What is Card Counting?

Lets start by answering some basic and frequently asked questions on this subject.

What is Card Counting?

Card counting is a card game strategy used primarily in by blackjack players to determine whether the next hand is likely to give an advantage to the player or to the dealer.

Is it illegal to count cards?

There is nothing illegal in Card counting under as long as there is no use of external card counting device or person assists the player in counting cards. However, land based casinos don’t like players counting cards and might remove you from their premises if they suspect you are.

Is it easy to count cards in Blackjack?

It all comes down to practice and how good you are in counting. You can read more on our guide to find exactly how you can count cards.

Can i get away with counting card in live Blackjack

The truth is that you can’t really count cards when you play online. There are many reasons for that but the main ones are: Number of decks, shoe penetration, auto shuffling.

Blackjack Card Counting explained in simple terms

During a game of blackjack using a single deck of cards the house edge is virtually zero. This ensures that if you follow a strict strategy and are careful you can win and break even in the long term.

With card counting in blackjack, what you are actually doing is keeping track of the cards that have appeared. Then you wait for the right moment and place a large bet to win big. When you repeat this every few rounds you end up with profit.

Sounds amazing right?

The MIT team have made a fortune with that strategy. But this was years ago when card counting was something relatively new for everyone, players and casinos.

Too good to be true…

The truth is that in our days, blackjack counting and shuffle card is much more difficult and live blackjack counting is not possible.

Why live blackjack card counting is not possible

Here are some of the reasons why you can’t count cards when you play live blackjack:

  • Live casinos are using software monitoring and can detect counting patterns from players.
  • live blackjack tables are usually using 6 or 8 deck cards and have 50% shoe penetration. This makes it very hard to keep counting.
  • You need players to be playing with strategy in order to succeed with card counting (This is why the MIT team was playing in groups on the tables)

The alternative way to blackjack counting

Ok, you might be able to count cards succesfully when you play balckajck with live dealers online, but you can still do somthing to increase your chances of winning.


Play with blackjack strategy

If you use some basic blackjack charts and play with blackjack basic strategy, you can reduce the casino house edge and get an RTP of 99.5%.

Counting Cards Techniques

If you are still up for trying card counting at your local casino or online the main card counting technique is known as Hi-Lo. This is the classic card counting system. It was originally invented by Harvey Dubner in 1963. This is how you can implement it:

  • Assign a tag of (+1) to every 2- 6 ranked cards and a tag of (–1) to every 10-A.
  • Start your count after the shuffle and add the tags to each card that is pulled from the deck.
  • When the running count is positive after any round, the undealt cards are richer in large cards; you should increase your bet size.
  • When the running count is negative after any round, the undealt cards are richer in small cards; you should decrease your bet size.
  • When the total count is low then players are advised to bet low, when there is a high count of cards then a higher bet is placed.