Card counting has been around for as long as casino games have. It is a tactic that does not need much effort to implement. It does not have an immediate benefit, but it pays off in the end! However, trying to take this tactic to live casinos runs into a few problems. Can you get around them and gain an advantage?
All live casino games, including blackjack, are designed from the ground up to combat card counting. It is a difficult balance for software providers. They have to offer the best rules possible to have the lowest house edge to tempt players. At the same time, they find ways to prevent you from taking advantage of card counting. If you manage to do so, you are giving yourself an unplanned edge over the casino.
Of course, no operator or developer want to lose money, which leads to many of those holes being patched quickly. While card counting is possible to some extent, we believe you cannot gain any serious advantage using it. This article will go over why we think this is the case.
Multiple Decks Prevent Card Counting
We frequently hear that live casino tables are vulnerable to card counting because they do not reshuffle after each round. RNG-powered games offer you a different set of cards each time, but the same is not true when playing against a dealer. They use real decks, after all! If they stopped to reshuffle after every round, it would take too long.
That does not mean software providers just rolled over and gave up. Instead, live blackjack was designed with several defence mechanisms in mind. The most obvious being the fact it is played with multiple decks! Depending on the table, you will play with either six or eight decks, though most games and live casinos default to the latter.
Reshuffling may not happen as frequently as online blackjack tables, but they are still frequent. Most developers set the shuffle to happen at 50% shoe penetration. If you have eight decks, that means a reshuffle occurs when the equivalent of four decks have been dealt. Additional techniques like ‘burning’ cards and auto shuffler machines also make it difficult to keep track of drawn cards.
Your Gameplay is Tracked
Online casinos employ a variety of ways to catch cheaters. One of them is keeping track of how you play. Software monitoring the game keeps count of the shoe. If you seem to have a suspiciously high winning streak, the software will flag it to the operator. They may act immediately, or wait until they have more data.
Now, you will not be banned just because you had a super lucky round. If those did not happen, nobody would play live casino games! That said, if your betting pattern consistently matches the shoe count? The casino will take notice, and you will be banned. Card counters cannot hide when playing online.
Dealer Tells Are Not Real
Another popular live casino rumour is that dealers know what cards are dealt. This is not true. Dealers do not know what cards they have in front of them. They are completely in the dark until they scan the card and reveal the information to the player. Software providers designed it this way for the specific purpose of combatting dealer tells.
Is Card Counting Worth It?
Ultimately, it comes down to your preference. None of these rules can stop you from getting a slight advantage using card counting. However, the effort you have to expend is immense compared to the miniscule gain. It is simply not worth your time. Even if you decided to go that route regardless, it is not safe. No operator has to accept your wagers. If they suspect you are trying to pull the wool over their eyes, they will ban you. If you are looking to gain an advantage, there is only one way to do. Apply a basic blackjack strategy, and stick to it! It will not allow you to beat the house edge that much is true. However, it will allow you to enjoy the highest RTP of any casino game in existence. In the end, the final decision rests with you. Save yourself the energy and frustrations, and forget about card counting when playing live blackjack.