Can you count cards while playing blackjack online?

If you’ve played blackjack you’ve probably heard of players who swear by card counting. This is a technique used by players to try and boost their chances of winning. By counting cards, they have a tally of how many ‘good’ cards are yet to be dealt and can decide when it’s worth increasing a wager and taking a chance. Let´s find out more about Blackjack card counting online. 

While card counting is used in land-based casinos, when it comes to playing online, things get a little tricky. If fact, you could go as far as saying that it’s pretty much impossible. When it comes to online blackjack, casinos are utilizing software and automated tools in ways that a land-based casino just can’t.

Let’s take a look in greater detail at card counting online and examine what the casinos do to make it almost impossible.

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Blackjack Card Counting online

Blackjack Card counting online and deck penetration

If you’re unsure what is meant by deck penetration, it refers to how many cards are dealt before the remaining deck is reshuffled. It is referred to by using a percentage. The higher the percentage is then the higher the level of penetration and the higher the accuracy of the card count.

With single and double-deck games, you can expect the card penetration percentage to be relatively high. This is because there are fewer cards to keep track of. 

When you start to play with 4,6, or even 8 decks, card counting starts to get a little tricky. That being said, it’s certainly not impossible. Perhaps one of the better scenarios here comes with a 6 deck game when the 5 full decks are dealt before reshuffling takes place. This can leads to an average deck penetration of 4.5.

With that insight into deck penetration, it’s worth noting that, when it comes to card counting, the chances of doing this online are beyond slim. Whether you’re playing a live or virtual version, the best online casinos do all that they can to prevent deck penetration.

Non-live blackjack and card counting

To start to understand why card counting is all but impossible online, it’s worth taking a look at both live dealer games and virtual versions. While live casino blackjack has a video feed, a real table, and a dealer, the virtual version is fully computerised. This being the case, the virtual game has no dealer nor is there a shoe. This means that penetration just isn’t even a possibility. Every card that appears is generated randomly meaning that the cards are already, effectively, shuffled.

The lack of any particular shuffle order means that any attempt to count cards becomes redundant. They effectively need to be started afresh for each round, meaning that there is no way of keeping the tally that’s needed to bring the benefits. For that reason, card counting is completely impossible when playing an online, non-live version, of blackjack.

Card counting with the live dealer game

Playing live dealer blackjack online is the closest you can get to the land-based version. This means that, just like playing at a land-based casino, card counting is perfectly legal. The problem, however, is that online casinos go out of their way to make using this strategy as difficult as possible. There are numerous ways that they do this.

With deck penetration being a key part of card counting, online casinos make this as complex as possible. In the majority of these live dealer games, the deck is shuffled using a Continuing Shuffling Machine (CSM). Even in the absence of a CSM, you will find that dealers shuffle in the middle of the shoe and card counting loses its effectiveness. 

It is also worth bearing in mind that not every player at the table will be approaching the game with a standard strategy. You will find that there are those who have the assumption that the previously dealt cards will have no bearing on other players’ decisions. Then you have those playing with more advanced strategies who know that this won’t always be true.

Something else that makes card counting so difficult during hands of a live dealer blackjack is the lack of deals tells. The dealer isn’t allowed to know what his down card is until all betting is complete. This stops the dealer from inadvertently giving anything away, and from colluding with anyone. 

How else do casinos discourage Blackjack card counting online?

As well as the issues that we have looked at above, online casinos put in other measures that discourage and effectively eliminate card counting. Some of these include:

Software monitoring

Online casinos invest significant sums of money into the software that they use. The software used in the game is able to monitor all that is going on, as well as keep a count of the shoe as it is being dealt. You will find that there are a significant amount of online casinos that invest in artificial intelligence (AI). This is used to monitor betting patterns and can be used to identify potential card counters.

Thanks to AI, trying to hide as a card counter online is all but impossible. You are likely to be identified extremely quickly and the casino will then just prevent you from continuing with the game. 

Low rounds per hour

One of the big attractions of playing blackjack at a land-based casino is the pace of the game. A hand is played in a matter of seconds and you can play a phenomenal amount in a relatively short period of time. Playing blackjack online still has a pace about it, but it doesn’t match the land-based version.

At a land-based casino, a good player will get through up to 300 hands an hour. Live dealer online blackjack sees around 50 hands being played. This much slower pace makes card counting all but impossible.

Final thoughts

If you’ve ever wondered about counting cards while playing online blackjack, you now know two things. Firstly, it is entirely legal within blackjack rules so there’s no reason why you can’t give it a go. The second thing, however, is that this blackjack strategy is beyond difficult to implement at an online casino.

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