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The history of Blackjack and counting cards goes back several centuries. Basically, counting cards aren’t anything new. In fact, if you watch old reruns of westerns on TV, you will probably hear the phrase being thrown around, proving that the method has been around since the days of the Old West, if not earlier, as the game of 21 has been around since the 1440s. However, the concept became popular in modern times with the release of films such as Rain Man, 21, The Hot Shoe, and The Last Casino.
Thanks to the book the Theory of Blackjack by the mathematician Peter Griffin, counting cards also surged in popularity in the late 1970s. In his book, Griffin talked about how he researched the game of 21 after losing badly in Nevada. He started compiling statistics from Blackjack players in Atlantic City and later compared patterns from players in Reno and Las Vegas. He along with Anthony Curtis are cited for coming up with the term “Couponomy”. Curtis stated that “Griffin pointed out that the suffix “omy” means to extract, so Couponomy meant to extract by coupon.”
The two questions many people ask are: How does counting cards work, and do you have to be a mathematical genius to master card counting? Well, it would certainly help, but really you don’t. You just need to learn the strategy, be a fast thinker, and practice constantly. Anyone who can count can count cards in Blackjack.
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Basically, counting cards mean keeping a tally of the cards as the dealer goes through the deck. By doing this, you will know which cards are likely to come up for you and the dealer in the next hand. This will provide you with insight on whether you need to place a big wager or a small one with the next hand. If played correctly, you can improve your odds by one percent. It may not seem like much, but after hours of playing, you will be more likely to leave the table with money in your pocket.
So, what type of strategy is best? There are several strategies for counting cards that are used by players. The high-low strategy is considered one of the easiest to learn. Using this method, you only keep a mental tally of three groups of cards. Each time you see a high-number card on the table, which includes the 10s and face cards, you will need to subtract one from your tally. For every low-number card, however, the twos through the sixes, you will add one to your tally. The middle cards, which are the sevens, eights, and nines are ignored.
Anthony Curtis from the Las Vegas Advisor said that “The Science of card counting is knowing how to do it; the art is being able to get away with it” and here is a lot of truth in that statement, as the method is highly frowned upon in many major Las Vegas hot spots. Therefore, the experts recommend that you shouldn’t spend too much time at one location if you are counting cards, just to be on the safe side.
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