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Why the 5's Would be Important in Blackjack Card Counting

By: Olivia Lake

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Counting cards in blackjack is really a method to increase your probabilities of winning. If you're good at it, you are able to actually take the odds and place them inside your favor. This works simply because card counters raise their bets when a deck wealthy in cards that are advantageous to the player comes about. As a common rule of thumb, a deck wealthy in 10's is better for the player, simply because the dealer will bust much more frequently, and also the player will hit a blackjack much more often.

Most card counters maintain track from the ratio of higher cards, or 10's, by counting them as a +1 or perhaps a -1, and then gives the opposite +1 or -1 towards the low cards within the deck. Some systems use a balanced count where the amount of low cards will be the exact same because the quantity of 10's.

But the most fascinating card to me, mathematically, will be the 5. There were card counting systems back within the day that involved performing absolutely nothing greater than counting the amount of fives that had left the deck, and when the 5's had been gone, the player had a big advantage and would raise his bets.

A good basic technique player is obtaining a 99.5% payback percentage from the casino. Each 5 that's come out of the deck adds 0.67% towards the player's anticipated return. (Inside a single deck game, anyway.) That implies that, all other issues becoming equal, having one five gone in the deck provides a player a small benefit over the home.

Getting two or three 5's gone from the deck will really give the player a fairly significant edge over the casino, and this really is when a card counter will usually raise his bet. The issue with counting 5's and nothing else is the fact that a deck low in 5's occurs fairly rarely, so gaining a big benefit and making a profit from that situation only comes on rare occasions.

Any card between two and eight that comes out from the deck increases the player's expectation. And all 9's. 10's, and aces improve the casino's expectation. But 8's and 9's have extremely small effects around the outcome. (An eight only adds 0.01% to the player's expectation, so it's generally not even counted. A 9 only has 0.15% impact within the other path, so it is not counted either.)

Understanding the effects the low and high cards have in your anticipated return on a bet is the first step in studying to count cards and play blackjack as a winner.

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