Unlike other casino games that rely solely on luck, blackjack is a game where players can make use of certain mathematical and buy clone cards counting skills to gain an advantage over the dealer. The term card counting is not a process of memorizing each and every card coming out of the shoe as what an autistic savant like Rain Man would do. Counting cards in blackjack means keeping track of the ratio between high and low values of the cards left in the deck.
The principles behind this process were first discovered by Edward Thorp, considered the father of blackjack card counting, who published the book “Beat the Dealer” way back in 1962. This book is practically the main proponent for the blackjack revolution, prompting casinos to take action against this method. The process of card counting is actually not illegal since technically you’re just keeping track of the cards and not cheating in any way. However, casinos obviously frowned upon this practice and would ban players caught counting cards.
Before you can successfully apply the different popular methods for card counting in blackjack, you must first understand the basic mechanism of how the process works and how you can practically and successfully apply these methods – and achieve success in this game.
There are two basic systems for blackjack card counting: balanced and unbalanced. In a balanced card counting system, counting down the entire deck of cards would give you an end count of 0. The popular methods for this involved the Hi-Lo, Hi-Opt 1 and the Hi-Opt 2 systems. Unbalanced counting on the other hand is a system of counting cards where you will not end up with count of 0 after you have gone through the whole card deck.
KO or Knock-Out card counting system will not end up with a count of 0. The strategy involves adding an extra +1 value for every 7. Since there are four 7’s in a single deck of card, you will end up with a count of +4 if you counted down the whole deck. The developers of this strategy, which is attributed to authors Olaf Vancura and Ken Fuchsln, described that it would be difficult for players to mentally convert the true count and the running count back and forth – particularly if you’re playing in an environment full of distractions such as in casinos.
You will only be using +1, -1 and 0 in this strategy so it’s really not difficult to keep count but it is very important that you keep your focus and attention on the table. You’ll need to master the value of each particular card so you can have the most accurate count as possible. You need to know the running total throughout the game and the count will not reset until a new shoe is shuffled. A high positive count will tell you that there are only smaller-valued cards left on the deck. The opposite is then through if you have a negative running count.