# BLACKJACK after CORONAVIRUS

It’s almost that time where the casinos can open up to us gamblers again.  Woohoo! I can hardly wait…what about you?

The real question should be, have you kept your game up by at least playing online?

I hope so, but let’s take a look at how you can come back to the land based casinos and return to your winning ways.

## Simple Card Counting

As we all know, card counting is not illegal, only highly frowned upon.  The casino heads know that card counting provides a distinct advantage to the player.  It doesn’t totally take away the house edge, but severely decreases that house advantage.

There aren’t many competitive activities where if you take the time to make it easier for you, you’re actually penalized.  It hardly seems fair that, card counting is not against the rules, yet you’re asked not to use that skill you have worked hard to acquire.

I’m going to present a very simple method of card counting that will make your win percentage slightly higher than just going with basic strategy and no card counting.  A slight advantage is always better than no advantage.

Simple Mathematical Analysis

First of all, you have to be alert at the table, and clearly aware of all the cards of all the players.

Also realize that most casinos use a 6-deck shoe, meaning there are 312 cards, with 96 of those cards valued at 10.

Why does that matter? You can make the assumption that the dealer will cut 1.5 decks (78 cards) out of play after the shuffle, with 24 of them being 10-value cards.  That leaves 72, 10-value cards among the 234 cards left in play.

Because of the Covid-19 restrictions and social distancing, we can assume only 3 players, plus a dealer are at the table.  Not a bad thing in my mind! So, let’s estimate 12 cards dealt per hand, therefore 20 hands dealt before a shuffle is required.  If 10-value cards come out proportionally, you should see 3, 10-value cards dealt per hand.

How It Works

You start with the premise that you should see at least three 10-value cards each hand.  If you see 3, 10-value cards, your count is zero. if you see 2, 10-value cards, your count is -1. (one short of the expected 3)  After each hand, you add or subtract that round’s total from the previous running total.

For example, the first hand had 3, 10-value cards, running count total 0, the next hand had 2, 10-value cards, total -1, running count total -1, and the next hand had 2, 10-value cards, total -1, running count total -2.

As you keep your running count, a plus number indicates a shoe with more 10-value cards, meaning advantage player, so bet bigger. A negative number indicates a shoe with fewer 10-value cards, meaning advantage house, so bet smaller.

Since that is such a simple counting method, you can also try to track Aces, noticing how many have been played. If it seems like a large number have been dealt the first half of the shoe, you should keep your bets smaller during the second half because the chance of hitting a blackjack is definitely smaller.  If you haven’t seen many Aces, then increase your bet, hoping to hit a blackjack and payoff of 3:2.

One more card to consider tracking are fives. A five is considered dealer friendly because it allows him to draw to a stronger hand.  If you think there are plenty of 5’s still in the shoe, bet small because it’s advantage dealer, if it’s vice versa, bet bigger.

BONUS TIP: If you have a hard time keeping track of the count, a good tip is to use an extra stack of chips, to add to when the count is plus and subtract from when the count is negative.  As the dealer is running out of cards and you notice your extra stack is high, time to bet bigger!

FINAL THOUGHTS

Remember, there are many different card counting methods, and it doesn’t have to be complex.  With blackjack, knowing when it would be more likely to hit a blackjack, for a 3:2 payout, is what can make the game exciting.  Card counting gives you that advantage and it doesn’t have to be hard.

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