Counting cards FAQ

Browse page & FAQs show

Welcome to our exhaustive FAQ page on Counting Cards. This resource is designed to answer all your queries ranging from the legality and ethics of card counting, to strategic tips and the potential risks involved.

Whether you’re just getting started or already a seasoned player looking to deepen your understanding, this page offers a wealth of information. We’ve gathered expert insights and comprehensive responses to the most frequently asked questions about card counting in blackjack.

Dive in to demystify the art of card counting and enhance your gaming skills today!

counting cards

Ask questions about counting cards

If you have any questions or concerns about counting cards, feel free to ask us using the form below.

All frequently asked questions about counting cards

What does counting cards mean?

Counting cards is a method used in card games, primarily blackjack, where players keep a running tally of certain cards as the dealer goes through the deck. This strategy is used to gain a statistical edge over the game by tracking the ratio of high-value to low-value cards.

How does counting cards work?

Card counting operates on assigning scores to different types of cards and maintaining a running tally. For instance, low-value cards may be assigned a score of +1 and high-value cards a score of -1. The higher the tally, the better the odds for the player. Some players may use more complex systems, including different values for different cards or keeping track of Aces.

What is counting cards in blackjack?

In the game of blackjack, counting cards is a strategy where players keep track of the number of high and low-value cards remaining in the deck. It helps players to predict the likelihood of certain outcomes and adjust their betting strategies accordingly. It’s a way for players to gain a statistical advantage over the house.

Why is counting cards considered cheating?

Counting cards is often considered cheating because it gives the player a statistical edge over the house, which goes against the intended odds of the game. The strategy involves a level of strategy and skill that some consider to be outside the spirit of the game, as it can significantly shift the odds in the player’s favor.

Why is counting cards illegal?

Counting cards itself isn’t illegal, but casinos often frown upon it and may ban players suspected of using this strategy. This is because it can affect the casino’s profits by reducing the house edge. It’s worth noting that while it’s not illegal, it is often considered against the rules of the casino and can result in a player being asked to leave.

How to win at blackjack without counting cards?

Winning at blackjack without counting cards can be achieved through strategic game-play. Mastering the basic blackjack strategy is vital, as it helps you make the right decisions based on the dealer’s up-card and your own hand. You can also leverage online casino bonuses to build a blackjack bankroll without investing much of your own funds. Playing online instead of at a live casino can be more cost-effective and convenient. Choosing a game that suits your style and avoiding ones with rule variations favoring the house can increase your chances of winning. Lastly, good money management is crucial. Start with a suitable bankroll and set win and loss limits to protect your funds. Constantly improving your play and adapting to changes in the game can help you stay ahead.

What happens if you get caught counting cards?

If you’re caught counting cards at a casino, the consequences can vary. In most cases, the casino will ask you to leave and may ban you from returning. While counting cards is not illegal, casinos have the right to refuse service to anyone. In some cases, the casino might just ask you to stop playing blackjack or switch to another game. It’s important to note that while the act of counting cards is legal, using devices to aid in counting is illegal in many jurisdictions.

What is counting cards in poker?

Counting cards in poker is different from blackjack because poker is a game of incomplete information, whereas blackjack is a game of complete information. In poker, card counting involves tracking cards that have been dealt to predict future cards, but it’s not as effective or straightforward as in blackjack. Counting cards in poker is more about understanding the odds and probabilities of certain cards being dealt based on the remaining deck.

How to practice counting cards?

Practicing counting cards can be accomplished through various methods. Start by familiarizing yourself with the values assigned to each card in the deck. Then, practice counting through a deck of cards until you can do so quickly and accurately. You can also use card counting apps or online games to simulate a real blackjack game and practice your counting skills. Remember, consistency is key when learning to count cards, it requires a lot of practice to become proficient.

How hard is counting cards?

Counting cards can be challenging as it requires a lot of focus, a good memory, and the ability to perform mental calculations quickly. It’s not just about memorizing cards, but also about understanding the game, managing your money, and making correct decisions based on the count. While the concept of card counting is simple, the execution can prove to be difficult, especially in a live casino setting with distractions. However, with consistent practice and dedication, it’s a skill that can be learned.

How to bet when counting cards?

When counting cards, the basic strategy is to increase your bets when the cards that remain in the deck are in your favor, and decrease your bets when they’re not. If you have been keeping an accurate running count, you will have an idea of the abundance of high or low cards left in the deck. If the running count is positive, it means that there are more high-value cards left, which is favorable for the player. In such a case, you should increase your bet size. On the other hand, if the running count is negative, indicating more low-value cards, you should decrease your bet size.

How do casinos know you’re counting cards?

Casinos have several methods to identify card counters. They have sophisticated security measures such as databases of known card counters and facial recognition technology. Behavioral cues can also give away card counters. Some of these behaviors include placing minimum bets after the deck is shuffled, not tipping the dealer, closely watching the cards, and being very precise with handling chips and cards. Using blackjack insurance can also reveal a card counter.

Why is counting cards bad?

Counting cards is not inherently bad or illegal. However, it’s frowned upon by casinos because it reduces the house edge, potentially causing the casino to lose money. Card counting enables players to have a strategic edge in games like blackjack by helping them make more informed bets based on the cards likely to come up next. This is why casinos take measures to identify and ban card counters.

How to not get caught counting cards?

Avoiding detection while counting cards requires a blend of skill and subtlety. Try not to drastically alter your bet amounts based on the count, as this can raise suspicion. Maintain a consistent demeanor at the table and avoid appearing too focused on the cards or the count. Engage in casual conversation and tip the dealer to blend in with the other players. Remember, it’s essential to act natural and not draw attention to yourself while using card counting strategies.

How does counting cards work in blackjack?

Counting cards in blackjack involves keeping a tally of high and low-value cards. The objective is to determine if the deck is rich in high-value cards (favorable to the player) or low-value cards (favorable to the dealer). You assign a value to every card and keep a running count based off of the values of the cards dealt. This running count helps you estimate the nature of the remaining deck. One of the easiest methods is the High-Low strategy, where high cards are assigned a negative value and low cards a positive one. When the running count is high, you know the deck is rich in high-value cards.

When counting cards when do you bet?

When counting cards, you should bet more when the count is high. A high count means that there are more high cards (10s, Jacks, Queens, Kings, and Aces) left in the deck. High cards favor the player because they can result in blackjack, and increase the chances of the dealer busting. Conversely, when the count is low, i.e., more low cards (2 through 6) are left in the deck, you should bet less as the odds are now in the dealer’s favor.

Why is counting cards illegal in Vegas?

Counting cards is not actually illegal in Vegas or anywhere else. It is perfectly legal to use your brain to keep track of the cards. However, casinos are private establishments and they have the right to refuse service to anyone. If they suspect that a player is counting cards and gaining an unfair advantage, they can ask that player to leave. This is why it is often misunderstood as being illegal.

How to tell if someone is counting cards?

Identifying a card counter can be tricky as it requires a keen observation. Some signs may include a player who is quiet and intensely focused on the game, varying their bets significantly, often betting minimum and then suddenly ramping up the bets, keeping a keen eye on all cards being dealt, and not drinking alcohol during the game as they need to keep their mental acuity sharp.

How much money can you make counting cards?

The amount of money you can make by counting cards can vary greatly. It depends on several factors like the specific game rules, the betting spread you use, how many hours you play, and your average bet size. Skilled card counters may make between $25 to $50 per hour, although there’s no guarantee as gambling always comes with a risk.

What is the count when counting cards?

The count when counting cards is a system to keep track of the ratio of high to low cards left in the deck. This count starts at 0 at the beginning of the deck or shoe. In a popular system known as the Hi-Lo system, the count increases by one when a low card (2-6) is played and decreases by one when a high card (10-Ace) is played. Cards 7-9 are considered neutral and do not change the count. The higher the count, the more the remaining deck favors the player.

When did counting cards become illegal?

Counting cards has never become illegal. It is not deemed as a form of cheating or fraud under federal, state, or local laws in the United States. However, it’s worth noting that while the act itself isn’t illegal, casinos often frown upon it. Casinos reserve the right to refuse service to any individuals they suspect are counting cards and can ask these players to leave or play other games with a higher house edge.

In counting cards, what number do you use?

The number used in counting cards varies depending on the counting system. However, in the most basic system, known as “Hi-Lo,” cards are assigned a value of +1, 0, or -1. Low cards (2-6) are counted as +1, high cards (10, face cards, and Aces) are counted as -1, and neutral cards (7-9) are counted as 0. The player keeps a running total, or ‘count,’ adjusting it for each card that is seen.

What happens if a casino catches you counting cards?

If a casino catches you counting cards, they can take several actions. The most common response is that they will ask you to stop playing blackjack or to leave the casino. While counting cards isn’t illegal, casinos are private properties and have the right to refuse service. Some casinos may also take preventive measures like using multiple decks, frequent shuffling, or changing betting limits to discourage card counters.

How much does counting cards increase your odds?

Counting cards can significantly increase your odds, but the exact amount varies based on several factors, including the specific counting system used and the player’s skill level. On average, a card counter might gain a 1% to 1.5% advantage over the house. This means that, in the long run, a card counter is expected to win more than they lose, but short-term results can still vary due to the inherent randomness of the game.

At what point does counting cards become impossible?

Counting cards becomes impossible when measures are taken by the casino to prevent it. These measures can include frequent shuffling of the deck, using a multi-deck shoe (a device that holds multiple decks of cards), or using continuous shuffling machines. These practices disrupt the card counter’s ability to maintain an accurate count, making it effectively impossible to gain an advantage through card counting.

What is the movie where a guy pays college by counting cards?

The movie in which a guy pays for his college by counting cards is “21”. It’s a film based on the true story of the MIT Blackjack Team as told in “Bringing Down the House”, the best-selling book by Ben Mezrich. The film stars Jim Sturgess as the lead character who joins the team to earn money for his college tuition.

How does counting cards work in Breaking Vegas?

In the documentary series “Breaking Vegas”, card counting works by assigning a value to each card and then keeping a running tally or “count” as each card is dealt. This helps the player determine when the deck is favorable, thus increasing the chances of winning. This strategy, however, is not foolproof and requires a significant amount of practice and skill.

What if you get accused of counting cards but you’re not?

If you’re accused of counting cards but you’re not, it’s best to stay calm and polite. Casinos have the right to ask anyone to leave if they suspect them of card counting, even if they’re mistaken. You can try to explain that you are not counting cards, but ultimately, the decision lies with the casino management. It’s important to note that card counting is not illegal, but casinos may choose to ban individuals who they suspect are using such strategies.

What actors were known for counting cards?

While not necessarily known for counting cards, several actors have portrayed characters who count cards in films. For example, Kevin Spacey and Jim Sturgess in “21”. In real life, actor Ben Affleck has admitted to being asked to leave a casino due to his card counting skills. However, it’s not a widely known or common skill among actors.

What is the bet variance when counting cards?

Bet variance when counting cards refers to the changes in bet size a player makes based on the count. When the count is positive, meaning that there are more high-value cards left in the deck, a card counter will increase their bets. Conversely, when the count is negative, indicating more low-value cards, the bet size is reduced. This bet variance is a fundamental part of card counting strategies, as it aims to maximize profits during favorable conditions and minimize losses when conditions are unfavorable.

What skill is used in counting cards?

Counting cards requires a combination of skills, including a good memory, concentration, quick mental arithmetic, and a keen sense of observation. It involves keeping track of the cards that have been dealt to predict the cards that are yet to come. This knowledge is then used to adjust betting strategies according to the odds of winning.

What are the 3 secrets of counting cards?

The three secrets of counting cards are:

  1. Card Value Assignments: In most counting systems, each card is assigned a specific value, which is used to keep track of the running count.
  2. Running Count: The running count is the total of the values assigned to the cards that have been dealt. It helps predict the likelihood of receiving a favourable card in the next deal.
  3. Bet Adjustment: Depending on the running count, the player adjusts their bets. If the running count is high, it suggests the deck is rich in high-value cards, leading to larger bets.

What count to bet when counting cards?

When counting cards, the count at which to increase your bet varies depending on the specific counting system you’re using. However, a general rule is that when the count is positive (indicating a deck rich in high-value cards), you should increase your bet. The higher the positive count, the more you should bet.

What happens if you get caught counting cards in Vegas?

In Las Vegas, counting cards is not illegal, but casinos do not look kindly upon it. If you’re caught counting cards, the casino may ask you to leave and possibly ban you from returning. They might also share your information with other casinos, leading to a wider ban. However, you cannot be arrested or legally prosecuted solely for counting cards.

What’s your win percentage in blackjack when counting cards?

The win percentage in blackjack when counting cards can vary greatly depending on the player’s skill and the specific counting strategy used. However, skilled card counters can often achieve an edge of around 1% to 2% over the casino. This means that over the long run, they can expect to win about 1% to 2% of the total amount of money they bet.

Why is counting cards against the rules?

Counting cards is considered against the rules because it gives the player an unfair advantage over the casino. Casinos make their profits from the house edge, a statistical advantage they have over players in most games. If a player counts cards effectively, they can reduce or even overcome this house edge, which threatens the casino’s profitability.

Who invented counting cards?

Edward O. Thorp is often credited as the person who invented card counting. He was a mathematician and author of the book “Beat the Dealer,” published in 1962. In the book, he outlined the first scientifically proven system for using card counting to gain an advantage in blackjack. Despite being decades old, his principles remain fundamental to modern card counting strategies.

How accurate is counting cards?

Counting cards in blackjack can be highly accurate if done correctly. It involves assigning values to cards and keeping a running tally of those values. It’s not about memorizing each card that has been played; rather, it’s about understanding the ratio of high cards to low cards remaining in the deck. This can give a skilled card counter a win percentage of around 1% to 2% over the casino, but accuracy depends on the counter’s skill and the specific counting system used.

Who is the cast member of counting cards who stole money from the company?

Without specific reference to a movie, television show, or real-life situation, it’s difficult to answer this question. The act of counting cards in itself does not involve stealing money from a company. Card counters simply use mathematical principles to gain an advantage in games like blackjack. However, if a cast member of a specific production involving card counting stole money, that information would be specific to that production or incident.

When to walk from a table when counting cards?

Deciding when to walk away from a table while counting cards is a subjective decision. It often depends on the count, the player’s comfort level, and the perceived risk of being caught. If the count is low (indicating a low probability of high-value cards coming up), or if casino staff appear suspicious, it might be a good time to leave. It’s also wise to walk away when you’ve achieved significant winnings, to avoid drawing attention.

How does having more decks of cards affect card counting?

The more decks of cards are used in a game, the more complex card counting becomes. This is because a greater number of cards dilutes the impact of individual cards on the overall count. However, card counting systems have been adapted to account for multiple decks. In these systems, the count is usually divided by the estimated number of decks remaining to get a “true count,” which can guide betting decisions.

What does a +15 mean in counting cards?

In the context of counting cards, a “+15” refers to the count of the cards that have already been dealt. A positive count indicates that more low-value cards have been dealt, and therefore, more high-value cards (10s and Aces) remain in the deck. This can be advantageous for the player, as it increases the chances of the dealer busting or the player getting a blackjack.

Why is counting cards helpful in poker?

Counting cards in poker is not the same as in blackjack. In poker, it more often refers to keeping a mental tally of what cards have been played to predict what cards are likely to come up next. This can help in estimating the odds of completing a winning hand. However, the effectiveness of card counting in poker is much less than in blackjack due to the nature of the game.

How to calculate player edge when counting cards?

Calculating the player’s edge when counting cards involves several steps. First, the card counter keeps track of the count. When the count is positive, the player has an advantage and can increase their bet. When the count is negative, the casino has the advantage, and the player should bet the minimum. The exact extent of the player’s edge will depend on the specific counting system used, the rules of the game, and the player’s skill at card counting.

What stops you from counting cards in online single deck blackjack?

Counting cards in online single deck blackjack can be challenging due to the use of Random Number Generators (RNGs) in online games. RNGs reshuffle the deck after each hand, making the count irrelevant. Furthermore, live online blackjack often uses multiple decks and reshuffles often, which also makes card counting virtually impossible.

How many times do you go to the casino counting cards blackjack?

The frequency of going to the casino to count cards in blackjack varies greatly depending on the individual. Some may go once a week, others may go several times a week. It’s not about the frequency, but more about the strategy, discipline, and understanding of the game. However, it’s important to note that frequent visits might raise suspicion, as casinos are alert to card counters.

What does it mean when counting cards plus 1, 0, -1?

In card counting, plus 1, 0, and minus 1 refer to the values assigned to cards. In the Hi-Lo system, high-value cards (10s, face cards, and Aces) are assigned a value of -1 because their removal from the deck is favorable to the player. Low-value cards (2s through 6s) are assigned a value of +1, as their removal is unfavorable. Neutral cards (7s, 8s, and 9s) are assigned a value of 0.

How much money for counting cards?

The amount of money you can make from counting cards at blackjack varies greatly and depends on several factors such as your betting spread, the number of hands you play per hour, the average bet, and the advantage you can gain over the house. It’s difficult to provide an exact figure, and it’s crucial to understand that card counting doesn’t guarantee profits, it only gives a theoretical edge over the house.

Why are casinos allowed to kick you out for counting cards?

Casinos are private properties and they reserve the right to refuse service to anyone, as long as they are not discriminating based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. Counting cards is legal, but casinos view it as cheating because it shifts the advantage from the house to the player. Therefore, if a casino suspects someone of counting cards, they can ask that person to leave.

How is counting cards possible?

Counting cards is possible by assigning a point value to each card that comes out of the deck, and then keeping a running tally or “count”. When high-value cards are dealt, the count decreases, and when low-value cards are dealt, it increases. This count helps predict the likelihood of high or low-value cards being dealt next, giving the player an advantage.

Casinos where counting cards is legal?

Counting cards is technically legal in all casinos because it’s a skill-based method and does not involve any form of cheating. However, casinos have the right to refuse service and may ban players they suspect of card counting. In places like Nevada or Atlantic City, card counting is not illegal, but it’s frowned upon by the casinos. It’s always advisable to check the local laws and casino policies before attempting to count cards.

How high should the count be in blackjack when counting cards to bet high?

While there isn’t a definitive number that indicates when you should bet high, the general rule of card counting is that the higher the count, the more you should bet. This is because a high count indicates a higher ratio of high cards to low cards, which can be advantageous to the player in blackjack. However, your bet size should also be influenced by the size of your bankroll. A common guideline is to make your maximum bet about 1% of your bankroll.

What is the difference between counting cards and memorizing them?

Counting cards and memorizing them are two different strategies used in card games. Counting cards involves assigning a value to each card and keeping a running total, or ‘count’, as the cards are dealt. This helps the player estimate the ratio of high cards to low cards remaining in the deck. On the other hand, memorizing cards, also known as ‘tracking’, involves remembering which cards have been played to predict which cards are left. This requires an excellent memory and is generally more difficult than counting cards.

When you get kicked out for counting cards, do you get to keep your money?

Yes, if a casino suspects you of counting cards and asks you to leave, you are allowed to keep your winnings. However, the casino has the right to refuse service to anyone, so they can prevent you from playing further. It’s important to note that while counting cards is not illegal, casinos often frown upon it as it gives players an advantage.

How do online blackjack dealers know that you’re not counting cards?

In online blackjack, it’s nearly impossible for dealers to know if you’re counting cards. This is because online blackjack games often use a mechanism called a random number generator to shuffle the cards, which makes card counting ineffective. Furthermore, as the online dealer cannot see you, they cannot detect the physical cues that might suggest you’re counting cards.

How fast can you make money counting cards?

The speed at which you can make money counting cards depends on several factors, including your skill level, the specific game rules, and your betting spread. With a good strategy and a decent bankroll, a skilled player can make about $30-$50 per hour playing blackjack. However, it’s important to remember that card counting is not a guaranteed way to win and involves risk.

When counting cards in blackjack, do I need to play 1 on 1 with the dealer?

Playing 1 on 1 with the dealer is not a requirement for counting cards in blackjack. However, playing with fewer players can be advantageous as it allows you to see more cards per round, making your count more accurate. Nevertheless, card counting can be done in any game of blackjack, regardless of the number of players.

How does basic strategy change when counting cards?

Basic strategy in blackjack provides the best move for any given hand, based on only the player’s hand and the dealer’s up-card. When you’re counting cards, you still follow this basic strategy most of the time. However, the count can guide you to make different decisions in certain situations. For example, with a high positive count (indicating a lot of lower value cards have been dealt and many higher value cards remain), you might take ‘insurance’ when the dealer shows an Ace, a move you would not typically make when following basic strategy alone.

What is considered a low number in counting cards?

In card counting, a low number generally refers to the positive count totals, typically +1, +2, or +3. These counts suggest that many low-value cards (2s through 6s) have been played, and the deck is rich in high-value cards (10s and Aces), which can favor the player. However, different counting systems may have varying definitions of what is considered a low number.

What is an Ace when counting cards?

When counting cards, an Ace is typically counted as a -1. This is because Aces are high-value cards that, when they are still in the deck, increase the player’s chances of getting a blackjack or a favorable hand. So when an Ace is played, the count decreases by 1. However, the value attributed to Aces can depend on the specific card counting system being used.

Counting cards, bet when the count is low?

Contrary to this, in card counting, you should typically increase your bet when the count is high, not low. A high count means that there are more high-value cards (10s and Aces) left in the deck, which favors the player. When the count is low, implying more low-value cards are left, you should bet less as the odds are not in your favor.

How to make counting cards easier in blackjack?

Making counting cards easier in blackjack requires practice and mental agility. Start by understanding and mastering the basic strategy of blackjack. Then, choose a simple card counting system like the Hi-Lo system and practice it until you can do it effortlessly. It’s also helpful to learn how to count cards in pairs and to familiarize yourself with the deck’s common combinations. Lastly, always stay focused and calm while playing.