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Why does card counting work in Blackjack?

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1. Overview

The rules, structure, and card values in blackjack render it highly vulnerable to counting. This is because certain cards work to the advantage of players whereas others heavily tilt the winning odds in the dealer’s favor.

2. Aces, Tens, and Faces Help Players

Tens, faces, and aces help the player. Their preponderance means high positive counts, which results in more player blackjacks, more dealer busts on hard totals, and more opportunities for successful splits and double downs. Players make larger bets during positive counts since they stand better chances of winning.

3. Cards 2 through 6 Help Dealers

Likewise, the abundance of low cards 2 through 6 leads to negative counts. These are advantageous for the dealer because they decrease their probability of busting with stiffs and help them make more winning hands.

In such circumstances, the player is more likely to suffer lousy splits and doubles and will get fewer blackjacks. Counters are logically seeking to expose less money to risk during negative counts by placing smaller wagers or not betting at all.

4. Neutral Cards 7, 8, and 9 Help Neither

Cards 7 through 8 receive tags of 0 under the Hi-Lo counting system because they are neutral. As such, they favor neither the house nor the player because their presence does not have a pronounced impact on the outcome of a round.

Is Card Counting Applicable to Baccarat?

Now, let’s see whether this approach is applicable to baccarat. Excluding the Tie bet which carries an enormous house edge (14.36%), there are two main wagers you can make here – on Player (1.24%) and Banker (1.06%). Baccarat is theoretically countable but requires a system with different tags than those used in blackjack because the cards are assigned different point values.

 Card Values in Baccarat

 Edward Thorp’s Baccarat Counting System

 A Simpler Counting System for Baccarat

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