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Card Counting

Edward R. Thorp, also commonly referred to as the pioneer of card counting, introduced the methodology of card counting in blackjack. His principles and strategies were published by him in his book known as "Beat the dealer" in the year 1962. His book was instrumental in creating a furor in the world of casinos that ultimately made the casinos enforce a ban on card counters.

Although not illegal, the casino is in full legal right to ban a player from participating in a game of blackjack if he is found to be indulging in card counting. Card counting is instrumental in giving the player a distinct edge while playing blackjack as it requires skill and strategy.

Reason why card counting works

The card mix left behind in the deck is decisive of your winning. If the card mix contains more high value cards then it escalates your chances of winning and vice versa. If the deck has higher number of aces or tens then the probability of the player to get a total of 17 or greater than 17 increases i.e. getting a pat hand or a natural blackjack. The probability of the dealer going bust also increases.

A favorable deck increases the probability of the dealer getting a good hand also increases and the player is paid a 3 - 2 for any natural blackjack. That's why the card counters immediately hike the stake of bets the minute they realize that the deck is dominated by high value cards. During such instances they may also prefer to digress from the normally followed strategy of being dependant on the card counting.

Method of counting cards

Valuation of each card decides if the counting order is unbalanced or balanced. Hi/Lo is a balanced counting method that assess the value of the deck of 52 cards as "0". While using a balanced counting method it is also imperative to mentally have a running count for each card dealt and then divide this total with the count of all the cards yet to be dealt. This calculation would help you reach at the "true count".

Knock out and Speed Count are two unbalanced card counting methods in which the total value of the deck of 52 cards does not total up to "0". You set a predetermined value and that advises you on whether the deck is negative or positive and do not commence the game with "0" as the initial point. Unbalanced card counting system has an edge over balanced system as firstly you do not have to keep a track of the remaining cards and secondly because there is no need for any conversion to true count.

Mere tracking the cards does not constitute a good card counter. In the confines of their home with peaceful surroundings it is still easier to count the cards and keep a track of them than in the hustle bustle of a casino. To be a winning card counter you should also have the tact of counting unnoticed in order to avoid getting caught by the casino's administration. Restrain yourself from major jumps in bets as it unnecessarily brings all the attention to you and increases the scope of your getting caught.