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Live Blackjack Basics - Counting Cards

  • Can you really beat the casino at live dealer blackjack using skill and practice? 
  • Everything you need to know about counting cards

Can you beat the system?

Unlike some other casino table games, with live dealer blackjack you can give yourself a chance of regularly beating the odds when a deck of cards is used. As certain cards appear throughout the game it’s possible – if you’re highly skilled – to work out the likelihood of certain other cards appearing, and therefore tip the odds in your favour.

This idea – known as Counting Cards for obvious reasons – can prove highly effective. If it sounds, complicated, here’s an example that should illustrate what it’s all about,

Suppose you’ve played ten rounds of Blackjack with cards dealt from the same pack. During those ten rounds an extraordinary number of ten value cards have appeared: Of the 16 in the pack 12 have already been dealt. 

You have a very average-looking hand consisting of a 9 and a 7, and the dealer has a 6. For the dealer to stand a good chance of beating you he would need a good chance of getting a 10 card, but because you know there aren’t many of those left, you assume he won’t get one – making him much more likely to bust. 

You therefore decide to stick on an unimpressive 15, and the dealer is forced to keep going. He gets a 7 and an 8 respectively, and busts – so you win with a very average hand, when ordinarily you would have been advised to continue.

It’s this kind of scenario that card counters start off exploiting, and because the cards dealt are no longer purely random as the dealer works his way through the pack, the player starts to benefit more and more towards the end of each deck. 

This all sounds wonderful – why not learn to count cards and spend the rest of your life playing live blackjack? Sadly that would be too easy. Casinos regard card counting as unsportsmanlike and they are very good at spotting players who are operating a card counting method. You’d be surprised just how good, in fact, and anyone suspected of doing it will be banned from the casino – and their name may also be circulated to other casinos who will also ban them.

This may seem a little harsh, but casinos can’t offer games without a house edge and by counting cards players are eliminating that edge - so it’s a matter of basic economics. Having said that, though, there are a handful of establishments in Las Vegas that actively encourage card counting. These venues are confident that the extra profits they make from the publicity it gives them cancels out any losses they make due to card counting – however you won’t find any such places to play on the web, sadly.

If you want to chance it and play at different casinos on a regular but sporadic basis then you may be able to make regular profits from this method. You’ll need to be careful about which casinos you use and you may find yourself getting barred, though by then you could have made significant profits which are way in excess of anything you could expect from the negative expected returns you’ll get when playing normally. 

It’s really up to you, but there are a handful of players out there who use this method in land and online casinos and don’t let their greed get the better of them - enabling them to make decent, regular wins. 

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Live Blackjack Basics - Counting Cards

Can you really beat the casino at live dealer blackjack using skill and practice? Everything you need to know about counting cards

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