Card Counting

Mention 'card counting' to most people and their eyes light up with visions of clever players using even cleverer methods to clean out a casino. A sharp and infallible eye is the stuff of legend and many a movie too. But just what is card counting in blackjack and how does it work? First off, contrary to popular belief card counting does not involve trying to remember every card that is played.

Not only is this extremely difficult it is unnecessary. Rather, card counter try to gather statistics on the values of the cards played so that they can assess the values of the cards that remain. There are various methods and approaches used in card counting but here is a quick review one of the simplest. This system was developed by mathematician Edward Thorpe and works by assigning values to cards as they are played. The values are based on dividing the pack into high cards, low cards, and neutral cards.The values assigned are as follows: 2,3,4,5,6, = +1 7,8,9, = 0 10,J,Q,K,A = -1 As cards are played during each round you must keep a running count of the total of the cards played according to the above values.

For instance if a hand played involved a 10, J, 3, 4, A, then the running count would be -1 (-1-1+1+1-1= -1). You must count all of the cards that are played, including those played to other players and the dealer's cards. You must also pay attention to how many cards have been played. As you continue to keep track of the cards you also factor in the number of card decks being used in the game. As the game progresses can use the running count to tell you what value of cards you can expect in the cards still remaining to be played.

To make this all important calculation you should divide the running count by the number of half decks remaining to be played. This final number called the 'true count'. The more positive the true card count is the more low value cards (2,3,4,5,6) have been played until now and the more high value cards remain in the decks to be played.

This situation favors the player because the more high cards there are the more likely you are to draw blackjack or a draw a high hand to start with. Also there is a greater chance the dealer will bust if he/she draws on card while holding 12-16. By contrast, a negative card count indicates that most high value cards (10,J,Q,K,A) where played already and you should play cautiously. A neutral card count is favorable to neither the dealer nor the player. So is card counting legal? As long as you aren't using any mechanical devices or computers to help you, then yes, it is and there is nothing to stop you giving it a try. However, trying to keep track of the cards while playing is a lot harder than it looks, so don't think you can make a million that easily!.

Will Win is a professional gambler, ex casino dealer and author. For the best Online Casino Visit www.casino-magic.org

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