First things first, if you’re unsure as to what card counting is, it’s a strategy used for card games played in casinos including Ahti Casino, to work out what’s been dealt and what’s still in the pack.
It’s used to sway the house advantage back in favour of the gambler as it allows players to make more informed decisions based on the hand dealt them and what’s still available.
Although card counting is not illegal in the UK, it’s fair to say casinos frown upon it. If you’re caught doing it at a traditional casino, you’ll probably be asked to leave the table and the casino may even blacklist you.
It’s certainly a polemic subject. While some say it is cheating and not in the spirit of the game, others simply label it as a clever strategy to improve your odds.
How do you count cards?
Very briefly, it’s worth elaborating how it’s done. In short, you have to keep tally of all the cards that have been played.
In order to do this, you can come up with a value system for the cards in play. Assign +1 for cards 2-6, 0 for cards 7-9, and -1 for cards 10-Ace. This is known commonly as the “Hi-Lo” system.
Then, simply keep a numerical count totting up the values whenever the dealer pulls a card from the deck. This way, you’ll be able to monitor the running value of the cards left remaining in the deck.
Casino games where you can count cards
Card counting is possible in any card game that can played in a casino. Therefore, technically you could include Baccarat, Poker, Mississippi Stud, Spanish 21, or Faro to name just a few.
However, card counting is most prevalent in Blackjack and its variants. You may have seen Dustin Hoffman’s character Raymond in the Oscar winning epic Rain Man. It’s maybe the most famous example of how card counting can lead to massive wins. Charlie and Raymond count cards at a Las Vegas casino in a six deck shoe.
However, as mentioned above, the casino isn’t happy and they’re thrown out after making over $80,000.
Casinos have invested a huge effort and substantial amounts of money in trying to thwart card counters. Countermeasures used to prevent card counters from profiting at Blackjack include:
- Decreasing penetration, the number of the cards dealt before a shuffle. This reduces the advantage of card counting.
- Banning known counters from playing blackjack, all games, or entering casino property (trespassing).
- Shuffling when a player increases their wager or when the casino feels the remaining cards are advantageous to the player (preferential shuffling).
- Changing rules for splitting, doubling down, or playing multiple hands. This also includes changing a table’s stakes.
- Not allowing entry into a game until a shuffle occurs (no mid-shoe entry).
- Flat betting a player or making it so they cannot change the amount they bet during a shoe.
- Cancelling comps earned by counters.
- Confiscation of chips.