We all know that feeling after we’ve been dealt a good hand in any card game but somehow just end up losing due to sheer luck and lack of intuition. Well, yeah, we’ve all been there. Luckily, there are techniques and a well-developed science behind raising your odds of winning. Whether it’s Blackjack, Baccarat or Poker, meticulous card counting can be your lucky charm to winning any card game you ever play.
Card Counting is essentially nothing but a combination of impeccable basic strategies to keep track of the running counts accurately. Based on the remaining number of decks, you can calculate a true count from that running count. Finally, you’ll have to raise your bets in that proportion to bring out a favourable outcome. Let’s see it in action!
Blackjack is quite different from other card games because of the fact that it’s built upon dependent events, meaning that past event essentially affects how the future events might occur. For this reason, the high-low count system is most effective.
The high cards are that are good for the player are Ace, King, Queen, Jack and 10. These all have a (-1) count value. As each high card is played out, the player advantage is depleted proportionately. The low cards are 6,5,4,3,2 and 1 which are helpful to the dealer having a (+1) count value. The 9,8 and 7 cards are neutral cards having count value of (0) since they are not favourable at all.
The simplest trick is to adjust the count one by one. So, a set of (-1/+1), (-1/+1), (-1,-1) and (+1/-1) would mean a net running count of (-2). This is quite tedious and slow. A more effective trick to increase your speed and reduce workload meaningful pairs technique. In this technique, high-low pairs will cancel each other out, two high cards will mean (-2) and two low cards will mean (+2) count value.
After the dealer has played out the hands and players are doubling down, you will need to count cards one at a time. When you’ve got the running count calculated, you’ll have to figure out the true count, which is the running count divided over the number of remaining decks. With four and a half decks remaining and a running count of (+9), you’ll get a true count of (+2). A larger true count leads to more player advantage.
The basic idea is to bet more when you have a higher advantage and less when it’s the opposite. A good idea is to size your bets one betting unit less than your true count. If the betting unit is 50$ and you have a running count of (+20) with five decks remaining, true count of the game will be (+4). You can safely bet about 150$. As the game progresses, you’ll need to adjust the bet according to the changing true count after each hand.
Nonetheless, having a good leeway and interacting with fellow players at the table to really find out what’s going on are all essential tactics beside card counting if you want to truly ace the game of Blackjack!
How to Count Cards in Baccarat
The normal strategy at any casino playing Baccarat is burning the first ten cards of the shoe. After that, your basic counting strategy will come into action. The value system for the game is a bit different. Any face card like King, Queen or Jack as well as 10 and 9 will be valued at (0). Aces, 2 and 3 have a value of (+1). 4 is valued at (+2). 7, 8 and 5 have values of (-1) and 6 is valued at (-2).
After the hand is dealt from the shoe, you can calculate the total count. Card counting in Baccarat means that the higher or more positive the count is, the more likely it is for the player side to win. If you have a total count of (+5), keep your bet on the player side. Although the banker side winning generally issues a small commission for the casino but playing the tie side is never a good idea since the odds are pretty low there.
As the play progresses, keep your bet on the same side to win only if the count remains positive or high. If the count reaches even, you’ll essentially lose that bet you can then switch to the banker side. Keep going through until you reach a small advantage in the player side and switch back again.
The good thing about counting cards is that the system becomes more accurate as you keep going through the shoe. You can raise your bets as the shoe keeps exhausting based on the total count and bet strongest at the end.
How to Count Cards in Poker
When it comes to poker, counting cards means to essentially hit an out. An out means a card that you can hit to increase the odds of you getting a better hand. Your hand will determine how many outs you have.
At the beginning during the flop, imagine you have a 2 and 3 of hearts and a king. If you have a 5 and 6 at hand, hitting a 4 will make a gut-shot straight draw. Since there are four 4’s in a deck, you will have four outs.
If you have a 4 and 5, you can go for an open-ended straight draw being able to hit four cards either on the top as 6’s or the bottom as Aces of the straight draw. You’ll essentially have twice as many outs than a gut-shot straight draw.
If you have an Ace and 7 of hearts, you’ll have a flush draw meaning there are nine outs. However, if you have a king and 10 of hearts, you have a very strong combination of making a flush draw or a pair draw giving you a massive fourteen outs.
A good idea is to hold when you have twelve or more outs. Eight or Nine outs means a probable draw. In general terms, the higher number of outs you have, the less likely it is for you to fold at the flop.
Should you do card counting?
Good card counting skills require excellent math skills as well as patience. In the high-low method, the cards 10 through Ace are valued at (-1) and the cards 2 through 6 at (+1) while 7, 8 and 9 are neutrally valued at (0). Large cards will favour you meaning removing a small card is good for your probability of winning. After you add up all dealt cards and if you reach a (+2) or (+3), lady luck will definitely be on your side!
Just remember to hold patience and keep at it for a few rounds before cashing in. Waking away before arousing suspicion is also a good idea. Although card counting is never deemed illegal, it’s often frowned upon at many casinos.