Archive for the 'Card Counting' Category

Update to Card Counting Post Friday, April 18th, 2008

It seems that card counting online doesn’t work as the deck is essentially shuffled after each deal. This means that all the cards are in play for every hand making card counting useless. In land based casino’s this would be equivalent to playing at a table that uses a constant shuffle machine. I think I’ll do a post on these neat little machines in the near future.

Unfortunately this also means that you cannot use an online casino as a training ground to practice your counting skills. There are however computer programs that people have written specifically for people to use to practice their counting skills with.

Card Counting Continued Thursday, April 17th, 2008

Some card counting system can be very complicated, even the easy system I wrote about in my last post is difficult to use when you are starting out.
I found a really simple system created by the wizard of odds. This system is call the Wizard Ace/Five and it is a great system for those that wish to start out in card counting.

Wizard Ace/Five

The Wizard Ace/Five system was developed by the Wizard of odds ( to minimize the chance of being identified as a card counter by the casino and to maximize casino comps.

The Wizard Ace/Five start like any other card counting system with the introduction of a new deck or shoe. The Wizard Ace/Five system is most effective when used at a table that has six decks, dealer stands on soft 17.

Unlike the Hi-Low system where every card was assigned a value the Wizard Ace/Five system assigns a value to only the 5 and Ace cards. The 5 cards have a value of +1 and the Ace’s have a value of -1.

Just like the Hi-Low system you will be adding or subtracting 1 to your running count. When you see a 5 played add +1 to your running count and if an Ace is played then subtract (-1) from your count. If your running count is zero or less you will wager one unit, if the count is positive you will wager 2 times your unit size times the running count. This means that if $2 is your wagering unit and the count is +2 you would wager 2 x $2 x 2 = $8.
All your game decisions should be made using basic strategy.

As you can see both the Hi-Low system and the Wizard Ace/Five system are very easy to use in theory. However using them in practice might be a little more difficult. I would imagine that trying to use these systems in a noisy casino with employees that are trained to spot card counters must be very difficult.

Card Counting Wednesday, April 9th, 2008

Did you know that card counting has nothing to do with counting the number of cards played and memorizing those cards? I didn’t!

I honestly thought that a card counter tracked the number and types of cards played by memorizing the number of each card played. In my world a card counter literally new that 3 tens, 1 queen, 3 5s etc had already been played, but in reality card counting has nothing to do with memorizing which cards have been played.

I’m sorry to tell any card counters out there that I am just a little less impressed with your skills than I was only yesterday. Yesterday you were Blackjack Idols with the memories that were closer to computers than anything else. Today you are just Blackjack Idols with impressive skills… sorry :)

In case there is anyone like me that has no idea what card counting is I’ll explain it like I did with Basic Strategy.

There are a number of different card counting strategies available but I’ve only looked at two of them, the Hi-Low system and the Wizard Ace/Five system.

The Hi-Low system is the most basic of the card counting systems. Each card is assigned either a +1, -1 or 0 value to it. As each card is dealt you will either add (+1), subtract (-1), or do nothing to a running count in your head and adjust your wagers based on this count.

The cards valued 2 through 6 as assigned a value of +1.
Ten valued cards (including Faces and Aces) are assigned a value of -1.
The cards 7, 8, and 9 are assigned a value of 0.

Using this distribution when a full deck has been dealt your running count should be zero as there are an equal number of +1 valued cards and -1 valued cards.

So to use this system you would wait until a new deck(s) is introduced at the table and add the appropriate value to your count (which starts at zero) as each card is dealt.
As an example I just started a hand and the cards dealt to me were 5 and 2 and the dealer has an Ace as their face up card. The count would look like this +1 for the five, +1 for the two and -1 for the Ace so my current running count is +1 (1+1-1=1). I take another card and I am dealt a 4 which changes the count to +2. Again I take another card which is a King, which bring my count back to +1. Since the King gives me 21 it is the deals turn and I get to see what cards the dealer has and will get. Their hole card was a 4 and they drew a 9 and 10. So with these cards there is no change in my running count because the 4 is worth +1, The 9 is worth 0 and the 10 is worth -1 (1+0-1=0). This means after the first hand my running count is at +1 which means that there are a more 10 valued cards in the deck and I should increase my wager as I am now more likely to be dealt a Blackjack than I was on the last hand.

Here is how my second hand worked out.
Player: 4, 2, Q, (+1)
Dealer: 5, 6, 3, 6 (+4)
New running count total: (+6)

Well thats all for my first post on Card Counting. In my next post I will discuss a simple card counting system called the Wizard Ace/Five.

Still need to see 21 Tuesday, April 1st, 2008

Well the weather this weekend was decidedly unwinter like which is great because it isn’t winter anymore. Anyways I couldn’t bring myself to sit in a movie theater in such nice weather so I passed on seeing 21 on the opening weekend. It looks like they didn’t need my help to have a bang up opening weekend.
It would seem that the studio’s gamble on 21 was worth the risk and they certainly were dealt a Blackjack with this one. 21 grossed $24,105,943 on it’s opening weekend.

In case you haven’t heard about 21 yet here’s the trailer. (I tried to get it to embed but it would work so here’s a link)

21 Friday, March 28th, 2008

Tonight is the opening night of the much anticipated (at least by me) of the blackjack movie 21.

In case you do not know what 21 is about it is about a group of students from MIT lead by a Professor who form a card counting team and travel to Las Vegas on weekends. The MIT 6 as they have become known as use team work and card counting skills to win millions of dollars from Vegas Casinos. Eventually greed starts to take over and cracks begin to form in the team resulting in team members being caught and all of them being banned for life from most casinos.

I don’t feel too bad giving away the plot and ending as the movie is based on a real team of students from MIT. The MIT 6 exploits are (in)famous and there has been numerous books written about/by them.

The is certainly a must see, the trailers look excellent and Kevin Spacey as Prof. Rosa is a great choice! I’ll do a review once I see the movie (hopefully this weekend).

Weekend Blackjack Results Monday, March 10th, 2008

Well I need to find a Blackjack strategy or something to help me play. I started playing on Saturday and quickly lost my bankroll. Loss after loss after loss.

I think I made every bad decision that could have been made while playing Blackjack. I held when I should have hit, and hit when I should have held. It seems that the only time I won was when I was dealt a Blackjack.

I had planned on playing Blackjack all weekend but my first game was such a horrid experience that I spent the reset of the weekend looking up blackjack strategies that could help me improve my game. I found two strategies that seem like they might hold the answer to my poor Blackjack skills. These blackjack strategies are Basic Blackjack Strategy and Card Counting. Everything I read said that I should start with Basic Strategy as some card counting strategies rely on Basic Strategy.

I’ll be writing about Basic Strategy shortly and how it affects my play.

Welcome to Blackjack for Dummies Friday, March 7th, 2008

Welcome to my Blackjack Blog. I know there are a large number of Blackjack related blogs to read. Blogs that offer strategies, others that offer tips and some that give hand by hand details of their latest game or tournament. I hope to offer something a little different. You see I’ve never actually played Blackjack other than at a friends house to kill some time.

I’ve always been interested in Blackjack but I’ve never taken the time to learn about the game other than the basic rules and I’ve never taken the plunge and actually played Blackjack at a casino whether it be a land based casino or an Online casino. Since I live in an area where there are no local casino’s I’ll be playing mostly online Blackjack. I’m hoping to get to Vegas soon and I am really interested in playing some Blackjack in Vegas.

Since I know very little about Blackjack I’ll be recording my thoughts and experiences as I play and learn about this game. Of course I’ve heard stories about the MIT team that went to Vegas and won millions of dollars by counting cards. Now I’m no math genius and I don’t think I could keep track of that many cards to win anything. There is no way I could tell you how many Aces, Kings and Queens had been played after about 15 cards so I think I will avoid card counting.

So It’s off to my online casino of choice (which is for my first real game of Blackjack.

Wish me Luck