Counting Cards Blackjack Practice Online Guide - Part 3
This is part 3 of a 3 part guide for counting cards in blackjack online. See the other parts of the guide below:
Part I | Part II | Part III
Online live dealer blackjack games
One good way to practice your counting skills without the distractions of a real casino environment is to play the new real, live dealt games offered at WilliamHill Casino and Bet365 Casino. These games are dealt by real (and attractive!) dealers using real cards on an actual table.
Players watch the game over a live stream and make their bets online just as in any other online table game. The dealer then deals the cards, and interacts with the players asking what action they would like to take when it is their turn. After the players’ turns, the dealer plays their hand as normal. Winnings are then paid out to the players’ balances just like a regular online game.
There are two shoes (each consisting of 8 decks of cards) which are always kept in plain view. After one shoe is used up, the dealer switches to the new shoe. Another person then comes around to shuffle the old shoe in view of the players, while the game continues as normal. Here's a screenshot of a bet365 Casino live dealer blackjack table.
Benefits of the Online live dealer games
- The game is more appealing to players who feel uneasy of electronic games
- The slow pace gives players lots of time to practice their counting skills
- Decent bet spread of $10-$200 at the lower stakes tables, and $100-$10,000 at the high stakes tables
- It is easier to sit out during negative counts, or to change tables if the count gets very poor
Drawbacks to the Online live dealer games
- The slow game play results in a very low number of hands per hour, on par or even slower than real brick and mortar table games
- The penetration of the show is quite poor. Only about 4-5 of the 8 decks are played before the shuffle, making it hard to have a high positive true count.
TIPS AND TRICKS - Counting made easy
It might be hard at first to get used to doing quick addition and subtraction in your head as the cards are quickly dealt out. One trick is to look at the cards in group and quickly cancel out cards of opposite values. For instance, if after the first hand is all dealt and we see up cards: A 2 / K 6 / 7 9 / K J / 5 8, we can train our mind to skip over hands with a +1, -1 count (such as the A, 2 and K, 6 hands) and view them as a combined zero. Similarly, we can view hands with two neutral cards (7s, 8s and 9s) as zero. And for hands with two cards of the same count value, we can simply double it.
So when we see these cards: A 2 / K 6 / 7 9 / K J / 5 8
Normally we would count it -1 +1 -1 +1 0 0 -1 -1 +1 +1 and arrive at the count of 0
But by grouping we can do it in half as many steps by seeing the hands as one value each:
Hands: A 2 / K 6 / 7 9 / K J / 5 8
Group: 0 / 0 / 0 / -2 / +2 = 0 count
Remembering the current count
This could be as simple as cutting out one pile of chips equal to the count at the start of the hand. If you are playing an online live dealer blackjack game at Bet365 or WilliamHill Casino, then you can even write it on a piece of paper at your desk because no one is watching!
Using a negative count to your advantage
While you would of course want to only play hands while the count is good, this isn’t always possible. Sometimes you will need to hunker down and ride out a bad count. But there are ways you can make it less detrimental to your bankroll.
When there is an excess of small cards in the deck, you can use that knowledge to change your strategy on certain hands. For instance, with 12 against a dealer’s small up card (a 5 for example), basic strategy says to stand because the chance of going bust outweighs the gain of making a good 17+ hand. But basic strategy assumes a neutral count deck of cards. If there are more small cards (negative count) it gives you less chance of busting by hitting your 12, and a better chance of making a good hand. It’s a small gain, but still one that will show better results in the long run.
Practice, practice, practice!
Like most activities, it will take time and practice before you see any results. It will take practice before you are able to keep an accurate count in your head, while at the same time making your plays smoothly, carrying on a sociable conversation and other activities.
Practicing at the live dealer online casino tables can be a great way to learn. You’re under no social pressure to look like you aren’t counting cards, and you have ample time to practice your skills. For the very new card counter, you can even physically keep track of the count and even individual cards without anyone knowing. Some of the more advanced counting methods track the aces separately from the face cards, because of their importance. This online blackjack environment can allow you to practice these more advanced methods too.
Do what works for you
After some practice, some people might find it easiest to count the cards as they are individually dealt. Others might still find it easiest to use the “grouping” method once all the cards are out on the table, as explained in the Counting made easy tip.
If you are new to counting, it might be best to set at a late position on the table. It can be overwhelming playing at a table where the dealer seems to lay out the cards at a lightning pace, so that you have more time to look at the cards before it is your turn to act and the dealer’s eyes are on you, awaiting your action.
By practicing your counting skills at online live dealt games such as William Hill and Bet365, you’ll become proficient in these profitable skills in no time, without having the dealer and pit bosses staring you down.
Ready to give Blackjack card counting a try online?