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Black Jack Casino Game Basics

November 25th, 2013

Blackjack, Card Counting, and Why the 5s are the Most Iimportant Cards in the Deck

by Randy Ray

Counting cards in a black jack casino game is a way to increase your chances of winning. If youre good at it, you can actually take the odds and put them in your favor. This works because card counters raise their bets when a deck rich in cards that are advantageous to the player comes around.

As a general rule of thumb, a deck rich in 10s is better for the player, because the dealer will bust more often, and the player will hit a black jack more often.Most card counters keep track of the ratio of high cards, or 10s, by counting them as a +1 or a -1, and then gives the opposite +1 or -1 to the low cards in the deck.

Some systems use a balanced count where the number of low cards is the same as the number of 10s.But the most interesting card to me, mathematically, is the 5. There were card counting systems back in the day that involved doing nothing more than counting the number of fives that had left the deck, and when the 5s were gone, the player had a big advantage and would raise his bets.

A good basic strategy player is getting a 99.5% payback percentage from the casino. Every 5 thats come out of the deck adds 0.67% to the players expected return. (In a single deck game, anyway.) That means that, all other things being equal, having one 5 gone from the deck gives a player a small advantage over the house.Having two or three 5s gone from the deck will actually give the player a pretty significant edge over the casino, and this is when a card counter will usually raise his bet.

The problem with counting 5s and nothing else is that a deck low in 5s happens pretty rarely, so gaining a big advantage and making a profit from that situation only comes on rare occasions.Any card between 2 and 8 that comes out of the deck increases the players expectation. And all 9s. 10s, and aces increase the casinos expectation. But 8s and 9s have very small effects on the outcome. (An 8 only adds 0.01% to the players expectation, so its generally not even counted.

A 9 only has 0.15% affect in the other direction, so its not counted either.) Understanding the effects the low and high cards have on your expected return on a bet is the first step in learning to count cards and play black jack casino games as a winner. There are several websites with information on the black jack casino game.

Please be sure to visit this new online blackjack site, or play the free blackjack games on this other site. Another good resource is this blackjack tips article. The author spends most of his time playing poker, but he used to want to be a card counter. So he knows way more about card counting than he actually implements.

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