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Card Counting Practice

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This simulator will give you real experience counting cards in Blackjack. After choosing your settings, and clicking the count box to hide it, simply count the cards as they appear. When cards have finished, check you counting abilities by checking the count in your head with the one in the Count Box. After mastering this exercise you should have significant skills to keep a count on an active casino blackjack table. For more information on counting cards check out BlackjackStrategyTest.com .


No, man, you've gotta count 7's and 9's. First of all THIS, THIS right here is what the casinos are MOST LOOKING FOR. This is hi-lo, as in beat the dealer, published in 1961. Count 7's as low cards, and 9's as high cards, and it actually works better that way anyway. Not by a lot, but by a little. It works worse for determining when to take insurance, but in other ways, it's better to include 7 and 9. But you need anything you can get working in your favor, the advantage from doing this is disgustingly low. If you don't believe me, take a deck of cards, take out a 2, a 4 and a 5 and play blackjack with those 51 cards and see how far you are ahead flat-betting after 200 hands. It won't be much. There's a good chance you'll be behind.

And then this gives no clue whatsoever as to how to determine the bet size on the fly, under pressure. Here's the best way to do it, by the way, to minimize risk of ruin. In a 6-deck game, where the cut-card is 1 deck before the end, what you do is you bet the minimum bet PLUS 3x the minimum bet for every 1 the truecount exceeds 1.8, and in a 2-deck game, where the cut-card is 1 deck before the end, you bet the minimum bet plus 2x the min bet for every 1 the truecount exceeds 1.8. Unless this value gets past the maximum bet, then of course, you just bet the maximum, but that's probably not going to happen very often. The worst conditions I've ever seen were a 25 dollar min and 199 dollar max though and even then, 1 deck before the end, that's at a count of 6 or more and that's only going to happen in 10% of shoes or so. The truecount is the count divided by the number of decks remaining. It's the least risky, but also least productive method. If you've got some real balls, you bet the minimum bet whenever the truecount is less than 1.8, you bet the maximum bet whenever it's over 1.8, but you'd best have tens of thousands of dollars if you do that, and expect to be kicked out right swift. So for instance, a 2-deck game with a 25 dollar minimum. The count is 6, there are 1.5 decks left. How much do you bet? The answer is about 135 dollars. 6 divided by 1.5 is 4. That's the truecount, 4. 4 minus 1.8 is 2.2. 2.2 times 25 times 2 is 110. Which is what you bet on TOP of the minimum bet, or 135 total. Example 2, a 6-deck game, the count is 15, the minimum bet is 5 dollars, there are 3 decks left. What do you bet? 53 dollars. 15 divided by 3 is 5, minus 1.8 is 3.2, times 3 is 9.6, times 5 is 48. Plus 5 is 53. 53 dollars.

When do you take insurance? When the count gets past 4, my way, where you include 7's and 9's. 3 and a third your way, where you only count 2 through 6 as low cards and only 10s and aces as high. All these things, they're not in this program, it could include all these complexities that are there and would be useful if someone actually tried to use it to make money gambling, but what does this program do? Nothing more than anyone could do with just a deck of cards. And you'll know if you did it right at the end, because if you get to the end of the deck, you should get a total of "0", if it's a balanced counting method. So what's the good of this program then?

If you REALLY want to go under the radar, and I'm not recommending this unless you find some promotion somewhere, and they do exist, like blackjack pays 2 to 1 instead of 3 to 2 on bets up to 50 dollars or something for a limited time only, you can count 5's and 7's as +2, aces as +1 (that's right, aces count as a LOW card!), 2's count as -1 (that's right, 2's count as a HIGH card) and 10's count as -1 of course. It is only about half as effective as high-lo, meaning relative to the standard deviation of its count, the count where breakeven occurs (truecount about = +1.8 with hi-lo or with 7's and 9's included) is twice as many standard deviations above zero so you'd be betting the minimum almost all the time, biding your time for the rare opportunity to bet more, but when you do, the people behind the eye in the sky will be confused as hell, because almost half the time, you'll be betting high when they think the advantage is theirs the way they're doing it, except that the count will be negative using it the classing way because of the appearance of the cards that really rightfully ought to get the least negative coefficients (the optimal counting coefficients aren't +1 or -1 on every card, in other words, and the advantage of this way is that it has a very low correlation with what the casino personnel are on the lookout for).

Then there's changing basic strategy. Hit on 16 against 10 if the count is ANYTHING but positive for instance. Double on 11 against ace if the count is anything positive. Double on soft 15 against 4 if and only if the count is positive as well. Split 8's against anything....... except against an ace, if the truecount is less than negative 1 and a half. If the count goes under negative 4 and a half, don't even split aces against an ace. Hit 12 against 2 if truecount<3, hit 12 against 3 if truecount<1, against 4 if truecount<-.5, against 5 if truecount<-2.5, against 6 if truecount<-4.5, hit 13 against 2, 3, 4 if truecount<-1.3, -2.7, -4, -5.5, hit 14 against 2, 3, 4 if truecount<-4.3, -5.3, -6.3, which are also the thresholds for splitting 9's against those same cards by the way, you split 9's against 2 so long as the truecount isn't below negative 4.3. Whenever anyone else at the table that I'm splitting 9's instead of keeping the 18, I tell them that NOT splitting 9's against a low card is as bad as hitting on 14 and don't elaborate on exactly how true it is, heh heh. But anyway, it's a big fustercluck, if you want to memorize it in all its painstaking complexity and use the truecount as you're keeping track of it in your decisions instead of using basic strategy. Advanced strategy, as I call it. The only thing I don't do is split 10s. If the truecount goes over 4, it's actually to your advantage to split'em against a 6, if truecount surpasses 5, split against a 5, and so on, but I don't, because I have heard that's a good way to get flagged and banned in a hurry. It's not what they SHOULD be looking for, just like people who suddenly start playing multiple hands shouldn't be something they should be looking for, but apparently casinos have plagued with superstitions just like the patrons are, who figured.

So ultimately, no, this is not a useful program. It's not going to help you with the problems that you actually need to solve in order to do it adequately, much less well, under the actual conditions you'll encounter in a casino, all the complexity you could account for. And it's all that comes up when I search card counting on newgrounds. A pity. But it's a functional flash program, and it appears to accomplish what it was set out to accomplish, which wasn't much, and I guess some things certainly don't get that much right.

yashablood below me, congratulations on joining the MIND POLICE. How exactly would you suggest it might be illegal to have a functional memory anyway? Maybe everyone who walks in the building when they walk into the casino should be required to swallow roofies so that their brains are incapable of storing memories and if the drug fails to have an effect on someone, they get sent to jail? "You have been found guilty of being immune to flunitrazepam and having a brain capable of storing memories. Your sentence is execution by hanging." It's like this. If you're playing blackjack, and you're not counting cards, you're playing it badly. It's like suggesting that it should be against the rules, or against the law, to plan your moves in chess, instead of determining your moves at random. Or maybe that it should be illegal to drive while looking at the road. That's a good one. And it's not even like, intelligent thought. It's not like I'm sitting here objecting to being policed over my right to use my mind in some high-level intellectual cerebral capacity or something, no, this is so stupid, you could train a chicken to do it, it's just adding and subtracting 1 to a running sum, it's not even adding 7 and subtracting 4 at a time to a running sum or anything, it's just REMEMBERING something that literally involves as little memory as it takes to tie your shoes, and you're sitting here suggesting that it's illegal to do that. How did such a myth as this get proliferated and persist to this day? Or at least until October 21, 2010.


but...isn't this illegal?

lostwake responds:

No counting cards is 100% legal as long as you do not use an outside device to help you like a machine under the table, but since casinos are private property they can legally "bar" you from the casino. (basically refuse you service) If you have any other questions about counting cards you can ask me here or at my forum: http://blackjackstrategytest.com/foru m.html

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Oct 20, 2010
5:29 PM EDT
Sports - Casino & Gambling