Counting cards is one of the toughest skills to acquire in all of gambling. Movies and books have given card counting a bit of a reputation it is just not able to live up to in the real world. Yes, it would be great to be Rain Man and win hundreds of thousands of dollars in one sitting because of a unique gift in counting cards.
Or to work on a crew of MIT mathematicians earning millions a year like in whatever that book was titled. However, we are gamblers in the real world, and by real world I mean online, and we’re just trying to beat online blackjack anyway we can. So, can we use card counting to our advantage in online blackjack?
Card Counting is Difficult
First of all, let’s make it clear the counting cards in blackjack is incredibly difficult. To be a competent card counter takes years of practice and just being able to keep up with the count is only the beginning of successful card counting. You must understand the count, the decks, the penetration, the odds, when to bet heavy, when to lay off, and so on and so forth. It is tough to do.
Even if you can count a 8 deck shoe down and know the odds are all in your favor and a plethora of face cards are due to be dealt, that still doesn’t mean you’ll get your card. If you want to become a card counter, start today. Maybe you’ll be ready in a few years. Does it work? Yes. Is it easy. No.
Online Card Counting
Online casinos feature many blackjack games and varieties. There is American Blackjack, European Blackjack, and Single Deck Blackjack just to name a few. Everyone loves blackjack as it’s an easy game to learn and it just seems beatable. Card counting gives players an advantage in a brick and mortar casino, so why not online? Well, the answer is simple.
Counting cards does not work online for the simple fact online blackjack is dealt with a continuous shuffle. That means the shoe is completely reshuffled after every hand. You play one hand and split eights and then bet two face cards back to back and win. Boom. Deck reshuffles. You get a backdoor blackjack on your next hand. Boom. Deck reshuffles. With a deck continuously being reshuffled, there are no cards to count. It’s a new day every hand. If you find yourself playing online blackjack, don’t try counting.
What about Live Dealers?
A relatively new innovation in online casinos is the “live dealer” feature. This definitely creates a more realistic casino experience for the online gambling sites. On certain table games you can play in games with live dealers and other players. It’s the brilliance of the internet and gambling all in one. Of course, blackjack is the most popular game for the live dealer option.
More importantly though, there is no continuous shuffle. Just as with an on-land casino, the live dealer will deal from a multiple deck shoe and not shuffle after every hand. Sounds perfect for card counting, right? Well, unfortunately, not at all. As mentioned, counting cards is difficult and there are many other factors to consider. The most important of those factors is good penetration.
In order for card counting to be successful, you must have good penetration. That’s penetration as in how far you are getting into the shoe before another shuffle and this is determined by that yellow card. At least 70% – 75% of a shoe must be penetrated for counting cards to be useful and this is the percentage you will find in on-land casinos.
When you are counting cards, you are looking for a good count where you have an advantage of big cards left in the shoe. This is when you increase your wager and start winning bigger money. The deeper into the shoe you get, the better the concentration of those big cards. Online casinos know this and therefore, only allow play through 50% of the shoe.
Once half the shoe is gone, the
automatically shuffles. This eliminates the very advantage you are counting. Yes, you are physically able to count cards in an online, live dealer game of blackjack, however, it will really do you no good. If you have a count that is strongly in your favor, those big cards may be in the last 30% of the deck and you could see none of them.
If you are a card counter and are good enough at it to make money in the in real life casinos, continue as you were. If you are looking to count cards in online casinos, you won’t be doing yourself any favors. Do not try. After all, we’ve all seen Rain Man and that includes the guys who run online casinos.