Live Dealer Blackjack Card Counting
Counting cards is a blackjack skill that allows players to figure out when the remaining cards left in the deck give them an advantage or disadvantage to the house. In most blackjack games online, card counting doesn't work because the deck is shuffled after every hand. However, online live blackjack card counting can work under certain conditions as long as you're skilled at counting cards and as long as you know how to adjust to different types of game conditions based on the result of that card counting. We'll show you how live dealer blackjack card counting works on a basic level and the types of strategic adjustments you can make according to that count.
The Hi-Lo Counting System
The easiest way to get into online blackjack live dealer card counting is by using the Hi-Lo Counting System. This approach offers a fairly simple way to count cards that provides pretty strong results overall. When there's a new deck or shoe of cards, you start off with a count of zero. For each card dealt, you count points based on the value of the card. If a card is a 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6, then you add one to the count. If it's a ten, jack, queen, king or ace, you subtract one from the count. The 7s, 8s and 9s do not affect the count at all.
The idea is that the higher the count, the better off you're doing. However, you'll need to divide that count by the number of decks left in the shoe (based on a visual approximation) to get what's known as the true count, and that's the piece of information you'll actually use in your live dealer blackjack card counting adventures to make better decisions. When the true count is more than two or three, then you'll have an advantage against the house in virtually any live blackjack game you'll find online, and that means you can bet much larger than normal to take advantage of that and to negate your smaller bets that you make while waiting for the count to become favorable.
A big part of online blackjack live dealer card counting that's often ignored is the fact that you should change your strategy under certain circumstances. For example, in most situations, you would only surrender if you hold a hard 16 against a dealer ten or ace. However, if the true count is zero or higher, you should also surrender with a 15 against a 10. If it's one or higher, you should also surrender with a 15 against an ace, and if it's two or higher, you should surrender with a 15 against a nine. To make this even more complicated, players can actually correctly surrender a hard 14 against a 10 as long as the true count is three or above.
One of the really cool things you can do when learning live blackjack card counting is to figure out when it's actually good to take the insurance. As general advice, everyone is told that taking insurance is a sucker bet, and that's typically the case. However, if the count becomes three or higher, then it's actually best to take the insurance because of the composition of the deck being so heavy towards tens and aces.
Other Strategic Changes
There are some other atypical strategic changes that can happen. Players who have a pair of tens against a five should split instead of hitting when they have a count of five or more, and players who have the same situation against a six should split with a count of four or more. It's really interesting because these are splitting in situations with a total of 20, which is almost a guaranteed win, but the dealer has such good chances of going bust in these spots with so many tens left in the deck that it's better to split.