The Most Basic and Effective Card Counting System in BlackjackBy: Joe Valentino, Friday March 14th 2014
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Card counting is a fairly well-known topic in pop culture because of films like 21 and plenty of books that have been written about blackjack overall. While it's not particularly effective in most online blackjack games because of the requirement that you play with a shoe that isn't shuffled after every hand, it can be an extremely valuable skill in games where counting is a viable option. In spite of this, it can be very difficult to learn even basic systems like the Hi-Lo Card Counting System, because of the practice and concentration that it requires.
For players who aren't wanting to get in on an advanced card counting system, there are still ways to utilize counting cards with the very simple ace-five system that is still effective enough to swing the game into the player's favor in certain types of games. As long as you're playing with six or eight decks with penetration into at least three-fourth of those decks, if blackjacks pay out at 3:2 and you're allowed late surrendering, re-splitting aces, doubling after splitting, and the dealer stands on a soft 17, then you can beat the house with this basic system.
Here's how this system works. You start off the shoe at a count of zero. For every five that you see, you add one to the count, and for every ace that you see, you subtract one from the count. That's all the cards that you have to keep up with to make this system work. You work this system on a spread betting system of 1x to 8x a basic betting unit. You bet one unit when the count is one or lower, and you always double your previous bet (unless your previous bet was 8x) with a count of two or higher.
Being able to use this system requires that you use basic strategy very well. To this end, it won't keep you from having to study at all for the game of blackjack. However, what it will do is give you a very easy addition to your basic strategy work that will allow you to ease into the world of card counting. You can extend your spread behind 8x if you'd like, but the higher you go, the higher it will alarm the dealer and pit bosses. Overall, this is a good way for casual players to improve without putting in an overwhelming amount of time and effort.
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