Internet Blackjack game, or 21, has continually been one of the most popular table games to be found in any casino since it was first introduced many years ago. Some gambling historians argue that blackjack was being played in French casinos as early as 1700, but no one can dispute that the game exploded in popularity with the arrival of casino gambling in Las Vegas in the 1930's. Today, blackjack is by far the most widely-played casino game in the world. With time and technological advancements, the internet casinos have surfaced offering online blackjack. In the last 10 years playing blackjack online for money has become very popular and no longer just on the computers! Many play blackjack on the iphones & androids!
In many casino establishments blackjack out numbers other table games by an average of two to one, and blackjack tables are frequently the first thing you will see when you enter a casino. The popularity of blackjack can be attributed to a variety of factors: it is an easy game to learn and play, the betting action and tempo of the game is simple and fast, and the odds for the player are among the most favorable in the casino. Whether you choose to gamble in a brick-and-mortar casino or online, blackjack is an excellent choice. With a little basic strategy and card counting skills under your belt you can minimize the house's edge and maximize your chances of winning.
Card counting is performed at offline casinos and also can be used when playing blackjack at home for money with friends. Be the pro and win their hard earned cash :-)!
What is card counting?
Card counting is a card game strategy, known primarily for its use by players playing blackjack 21 & should not be confused with blackjack cheating! A number of different card counting systems exist but they all have one primary goal: to better estimate the chances of particular cards appearing, and to use these estimates to inform the player’s betting decision and ultimately beat the house.
This is possible in blackjack because, unlike most other casino games, the house edge is not fixed: depending on the mix of cards remaining in the deck, the odds change, and can even favor the player. An accomplished card counter can know when the deck is “hot,” or more likely to deal favorable hands to the player, and when it is “cold,” more likely to deal out weak hands, and so maximize winnings while minimizing losses.
The core tenet of card counting is that statistically, Aces and 10s (including face cards) benefit the player over the dealer. If the player knows that there are more 10s and Aces left to be dealt in the deck, they can adjust their betting to take advantage of the better odds. On the other hand, the dealer is required to hit at 12-16, where a 10 will immediately cause them to bust. Large numbers of Aces and 10s also increase the odds of a natural Blackjack, which pays out better than a normal win.
Popular belief holds that one requires abnormal mental ability to count cards; this is not the case. While the arithmetic involved in card counting does require practice and can be tricky in a busy casino rife with distractions, there is no memorization of specific cards being played, and while the number of decks does affect card counting, it is not as large an effect as is commonly thought.
Some card counting systems are more challenging to keep track of than others, but one fact is important to keep in mind: a simpler but less effective system played well will, over the long run, perform better than a theoretically more profitable system that is prone to user error. You can practice the game and play blackjack online for money online before going to the casino floor.
To avoid detection, much card counting is done in teams. In a Big Player Team, several players known as “spotters” set up at multiple tables in a casino, where they keep count of the deck. When the deck is favorable, they signal the “big player” to join the table and begin placing maximum bets while he is at an advantage. The spotter continues counting and signals when the table has gone cold, at which time the big player leaves and watches for another spotter to signal a hot table. The big player appears erratic and irrational, which helps him to avoid detection. The spotters, meanwhile, never adjust their betting strategy, so they too rarely come under suspicion.
A History of Card Counting
Edward O. Thorp was an American mathematician and professor at M.I.T. and New Mexico State University. In the 1950s, he grew interested in whether one could manipulate the odds in blackjack. Using an IBM 704 computer, he programmed a number of equations to analyze the game to an extent never before attempted, and devised a number of schemes he tested with the aid of the computer.
When he thought he had discovered a working system, he headed to Reno, Las Vegas, and Lake Tahoe, where he used $10,000 of venture capital (invested by professional gambler Manny Kimmel) and began hitting the blackjack tables at the casinos to apply his research. By the end of the weekend, he was up over $11,000. His earning was only limited by his tendency to get thrown out of casino after casino due to suspected cheating, leading to his wearing of sunglasses and fake beards while gambling. This event marked the first time a computer was used to aid in gambling.
News of beating the casino never stays quiet for long, and Thorp became an instant icon in the blackjack community. In 1962, Thorp penned "Beat the Dealer," detailing his card counting and betting strategies. The book was featured on the New York Times bestseller list, unheard of for such a specialized work. Its success was somewhat self-defeating: Thorp’s system was most successful as the dealer reached the bottom of the deck, and casinos started swapping out decks long before reaching that point as his system picked up steam. His 10-count system would also eventually be outclassed by simpler and more profitable systems devised later.
The Big Player: Team Play
In the following years, several card counters became fantastically successful and gained notoriety for their exploits. Most remembered is Ken Uston, who learned card counting from a man named Al Francesco. Al was the inventor of blackjack team play, and Uston wrote a book on his experiences on Al’s “big player” teams, now one of the most famous card counting techniques. Other books on team play were released, including "Bringing Down The House" by Ben Mezrich, which was adapted into the Hollywood movie 21.
As card counting techniques became more widely known, casinos became more vigilant in identifying and expelling those employing them. In 1994, members of the team run by Tommy Hyland were arrested for team play and for a technique known as Ace sequencing, which aims to ensure a player is dealt an ace. Though they were arrested at a casino in Windsor, Ontario, it was shown during the court proceedings that Nevada casino interests had a strong hand in the prosecution of the team members.
Despite their efforts, the judge made a ruling that has stood in all card counting allegations since: card counting is not cheating, but the use of intelligent strategy so to answer the question "is card counting illegal?" depends if you use a device or intelligence.