Counting cards has long been a powerful weapon for the blackjack player, but is it possible to count cards while playing blackjack online? The answer to this question is more complex than a simple yes or no. Live blackjack and online blackjack are played differently in one very important regard: the number of decks used in the game.
Does Card Counting Work in Online Blackjack?
As a useful strategy, counting cards in blackjack depends upon being able to assess whether the cards remaining in the deck are favorable or unfavorable to the player. To make that assessment, a player keeps a running count as cards are dealt.
In a live casino the cards are dealt from a shoe which can contain as many as eight decks. Many hands of blackjack are required to exhaust the shoe and necessitate a reshuffle. This gives the player plenty of time to establish a good running count.
In online blackjack things are a little bit different. The blackjack software that is used for blackjack online makes it possible for each hand to be dealt from one deck of 52 cards. When a new hand begins, a new 52-card deck is used. In other words, the online dealer is essentially shuffling the cards after each hand of play.
This renders card counting ineffective in online blackjack. For starters, your bet is placed before any cards are dealt. In many cases you are also the only player at the table, so counting the cards of other players is also impossible.
Some online casinos have begun to offer a live blackjack dealer that deals from a shoe just as they would in a live game. In this scenario, online card counting may become more effective.
Why Should I Count Cards in Online Blackjack?
Even though it is not possible to count cards in online blackjack in the hopes of obtaining a profitable edge, there is a still a useful reason to count. Practice! If you use your online blackjack sessions as a practice tool to improve your card counting, you will develop a useful skill that can be used in a live casino.
To do this, simply keep a running count as you play. You do not need to begin the count again after each hand. In time you will be able to make the count quickly. This is important because blackjack in a live casino can be a fast-paced game. By practicing online you will be able to assign the values of your preferred counting method to the cards more quickly.
You can play blackjack online for as little as $1 per hand, which is another reason it makes sense to practice your counting. In a live casino it is rare to find a blackjack table with a minimum bet of less than $5, and in many cases the table minimum can be $10 or more. When you play online you spend far less to improve your skills, and there is always the chance that you could walk away a winner. By using good basic blackjack strategy the odds in your favor will go up, and your practice will make you a better card counter.