Why Blackjack Card Counting Will Not Work


In the 1980s card counting was popular at the blackjack tables in the land casinos of Las Vegas and Atlantic City. Many players, including the famous MIT Blackjack Team, made fancy sums of money through this activity. The current generation of blackjack players have read about the successful exploits of the card counters. It is natural that they too wish to engage in blackjack card counting. However, card counting no longer works, whether at online casinos or at land casinos. This article explains the reasons for this. But before that, it is necessary to provide an overview of blackjack card counting.

Card counting tracks the relative proportion of low value cards as compared to high value cards in the discard tray. If there are more low value cards in the tray, it implies that there will be more high value cards left in the shoe. Similarly, if there are more high value cards in the tray, it implies that there will be more low value cards left in the shoe. If there are more high value cards left in the shoe, the situation is advantageous to the player. Therefore, you can raise the bet amounts and cash in on the advantage. If there are more low value cards left in the shoe, the house holds the advantage. Therefore, you should lower the bet amounts and minimise the losses.

Blackjack at online casinos and at land casinos is usually played with six or eight decks. A position of advantage or disadvantage will almost always be reached after about half the cards in the shoe have been dealt and discarded. And this is the source of the problem for the blackjack card counters of today.

At online casinos each blackjack game is dealt from a complete set of decks. If you are playing single hand games the game will end with about ten cards. In multi-hand blackjack games this may go up to thirty. After that you start with a full set of new decks. So card counting will not even begin to have effect.

In the 1990s land casinos made certain changes in response to the surge of blackjack card counting. The most significant of these was that they began to change the shoes after half the cards were dealt. This made the advantage of blackjack card counting so insignificant that the activity was no longer worth it. They also developed computer based mechanisms to track players that were possibly counting cards. These players were first politely asked to leave, with the threat of other means if they refused.