Blackjack is a simple game where you try to beat the dealer by reaching a higher final score without exceeding 21. It’s the most popular casino game in the world, and it’s very easy to pick up even if you’re a complete novice. One reason for its popularity might stem from the fact that – if played with the right strategy – the odds can actually be turned in your favour. This is because of a technique known as card counting, and it’s the reason Ben Affleck was asked to stop playing Blackjack at a well-known Vegas casino just a few years ago.
Counting cards is often thought of as something that only a genius can do, but in reality anyone can count cards in Blackjack if they practice enough. It involves keeping a tally of certain cards as the game progresses, so that you get an approximate idea of which cards are more likely to appear for both you and the dealer. Using this information you can better decide whether you want to bet big or bet small. If you have an indication that there are more low-numbered cards left in the deck then you will be less likely to hit Blackjack (getting 21 points on your first two cards) and the dealer will be less likely to bust.
Alternatively, if there are more high-numbered cards then this is a good thing for the opposite reasons. One of the most effective strategies for counting cards is called High-Low, where the player just keeps track of three groups of cards. If they see a high number played on the table, they subtract 1 from the tally. If they see a low number card then 1 is added to the tally. Middle number cards are just ignored.
When put into practice you can come into scenarios where your tally might hit +5, in which case it would be an advantage to start betting big as there are more high numbered cards left in the deck. Using this tally system becomes easy with enough practice, but it’s a long term strategy that only gives you advantages if you keep track game after game. When you’re sitting in a hectic casino with players coming and going all the time this is sometimes easier said than done.
Of course, casinos don’t want you to card count and gain any kind of advantage. Despite what they say this strategy isn’t illegal as you’re not cheating, but a casino will often deny service to any gamblers they suspect. This famously happened to Ben Affleck when he was asked to stop playing Blackjack at the Hard Rock Casino in Las Vegas. He found a system which gave him a slight advantage and he was then banned from playing the game anywhere in the building.Blackjack is a fun game to play and you don’t need to get involved with card counting to have a good time. If you’re really worried about losing your money there are plenty of tips like the Advanced Blackjack Guide that can help turn you into a winner. Just remember, if you are going to card count then try to be a bit less obvious than poor old Ben.