What is Card Counting and Can it be Done Playing Blackjack Online?

Many people have often toyed with the idea of trying card counting when playing blackjack and with the growth of online casinos and blackjack sites, trying your skills at home while playing online seems like a good idea.

This begs the question, is it possible to count cards playing online blackjack? Sadly, the answer is no.

For those that don’t know what card counting is, it is a legal technique that is thought to have been “created” in the 1950s, though it wasn’t until mathematician Dr Edward O Thorp, the godfather of card counting, published his 1962 book “Beat the Dealer” that it really came to prominence. Card counting involves keeping track of the high and low cards that have been dealt because a deck with an above average number of high cards creates conditions favorable to the player.

The key principle which makes card counting possible and blackjack, unlike all other casino games, beatable, is that what has gone before has an impact on what is to come. In roulette, 50 reds in a row – though unlikely – does not alter the probability of a red next. However, in blackjack, if a large number of low cards come out in the early hands, leaving the remaining deck stacked with high cards, we know that DOES influence what happens next.

However, almost all online blackjack sites and casinos that feature blackjack use continuous shuffling, such that after every hand all cards are automatically returned to the deck and shuffled before the next hand. This is done electronically, of course, using Random Number Generator software, but the impact on the potential for card counting is the same – it is fatal. Each deal starts with a full complement of cards and so the deck never changes in composition, thus rendering card counting impossible.

However, the position is slightly different with live dealer casinos, which replicate, to a large degree, the conditions of a normal land casino. Here, card counting is possible, especially if you happen to find a live dealer casino that only reshuffles the cards when the whole deck is almost played. To combat the threat of card counting most such casinos shuffle the cards when only about half the deck has been played and this limits the accuracy of card counting, though it may still be worthwhile.

Overall, card counting doesn’t sit well with playing online blackjack and, as ever, our main tip is to use good bonuses and freebies with basic strategy in order to maximize your chances of making a profit playing online blackjack.

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