In 1962, Edward Thorp, mathematics professor and author of the book Beat the Dealer, proved that blackjack could be beaten by card counting. His strategy became known as the basic strategy. In developing his basic card counting strategy, Edward Thorp found that when tens and aces were the cards left in a game, the player tended to win more often than the dealer. When the cards left were mainly low cards, the dealer would win more often. Many other card-counting strategies since then have been based on this principle.
The idea behind card counting
The idea behind card counting is that by keeping track of high and low cards left in the deck, players can approximate which situations will favor them in the rest of the shoe. They will wager more when they have the advantage.
When Thorpe published his book, many more people started playing blackjack than ever before. It is still a top-rated game over 50 years later, and now people can even play live dealer blackjack at online casinos.
A popular card-counting system
Hi-Lo is one of the most popular card-counting systems. The first step in card counting is to assign a value to each card. When using the Hi-Lo strategy, cards 2 to 6 have a value of +1. Cards 7 to 9 have a value of 0. The 10 to Ace have a value of -1.
Players will keep a ‘running count.’ As each card is dealt with, they will add 1, subtract 1, or do nothing based on the value of the card. If the running count increases, the advantage starts shifting to the player.
Players use this information to calculate the count per deck (‘true count’). If the overall count is higher, a player’s chances of winning at casinos become more likely. In such a situation, the player will wager more on upcoming hands and less when the dealer has the advantage.
How do high cards benefit the player?
For those who want to make money at home, playing blackjack at an online casino could be profitable when using card counting strategies. High cards can benefit the player for several reasons. They increase the probability of a player hitting blackjack. A high ratio of tens and aces also improves the probability that doubling down will succeed. High cards offer a player more opportunities for splitting, and there’s more probability that the dealer will bust.