Why it’s Not Worth Your Time Card Counting at Online Casinos

card counting at casinos

We have all seen casino experts and professionals in movies claim to lower the house edge, within the most minimal of efforts. Like it is something relatively easy and any ordinary person can come along and actually do it. Hate to break it to you, but that is not really the case unfortunately. This trick is very, very tricky and will be impossible within an online casino setting. For real life casinos, there is a slight chance-and we mean ever so slight!

So we thought, to explain the differences of possibility to the counting cards to overcome the casinos house edge, in this small but in depth guide. Enjoy!

Key differences between land-based casinos and playing online

There are many factors that come into play when you consider playing blackjack in an online casino or land based casino setting. Things such as the chips themselves, the real people handling the cards, chips and money, the interaction of dealers and of course the players involved. Yet, the most significant difference is the actual manner the cards are dealt and shuffled by the dealers themselves.

When you play in a land based casino setting, you will find that the blackjack dealer will have up to eight decks of cards to deal within the shoe. The shuffling of the cards usually occurs very quickly or slowly depending on how vulnerable they feel to people counting cards of tampering with them in any way possible. That is the reason the pace of the games like blackjack and poker are very fast, to prevent any mishaps along the way. Therefore, the pace will continue at that rate, with the dealer continuing the shuffle of the decks from the shoe, until the cut card (used as a coloured indicator card and barrier from one deck to another) is reached and will signal a new deck is ahead and therefore will conclude the first series of games.

It takes no brain genius or scientist to understand the large difference between the land based and online game variants, is the use of computer technology that is used to count the cards. All the cards are shuffled randomly, so that there is no chance to count any cards from this randomised computer technique. It's faster than fast and cuts corners to all the card counters waiting to pounce.

Card counting and its principles

Card counting will never really hold clear, regardless of how many times people mention it. People will assume they know it as a cheating method, yet never know actually how to do it. Yet it essentially is what it says on the tin, meaning you really do count the cards-completely shocking news, right?

For every deck of cards that you play with, the number of cards is known already. There will always be a fixed value on that and ultimately you can start adding or taking away from the value that you know as you play.  Within one deck of blackjack, there will always be 52 cards with 16 cards in particular that have a value of 10 (the face cards i.e. Kings, Queens and jacks), and of course the Aces will have 4 in total of a deck, with each value being either 1 or 10. However, you will always have more than one deck of cards and thus you will need to multiply each amount of the face cards or aces by the amount of decks you have e.g. 16 face cards, multiplied by 6 decks and that gives you 96 cards!

It is all a numbers game and card counters know that the more they take into account these details, there could be a chance that large high value cards can actually get put together in a shuffle and within the shoe. Making the strongest 2 card hand is very important, if you want to go home with some great winnings. So attention to detail is highly imperative.

How will the card counter know when it's the right time to increase bet size?

So, we are sure you are scratching your head wondering, how do they actually do it-correct? The most popular method of counting decks of cards, is by using the Hi/Lo variant and system. This introduces to the card counter, either a positive, negative or neutral value to each card that is dealt within the system. You will subtract, add or remain the same when counting from zero. It does not actually sound so hard now does it?

So, for all the cards that have a value from cards 2 to 6, you will need to add 1 to the count of your score in the system. For the cards 7 to 9, these will get a neutral value and therefore you will not need to add anything to the score system. Finally the cards 10, Jack, Queen, King and Ace, will all get a score of minus one, that will need to be added overall to the scoring system.

It is important that the counting player keeps track of every card systematically, to ensure that the track of the score is as accurate as possible. If you find that there are cards that value a count of 10 or more, you will immediately know that there are lower value cards that have been played and therefore you have the higher value cards left to play from the shoe.

When all the values play up to the system and numerical principle of order, the player will then know to increase their bet size, depending on how many cards are left in the shoe. The bet value will depend on all these factors and systems we mentioned towards card counting. Always remember that, as a card counter, you should take advantage of a positive count as that indicates you are closer to getting a blackjack with the cards to deal in relation to your hand.

The system is very easy with practice and anyone can make this work, just as long as they understand the main principles of card counting and recognition of when to lower and bet sizes.

How do online casinos stop card counting?

Casinos have high regard in preventing players from card counting. Despite that, it is not that easy to get a good and accurate count, as you will never know when the decks are being shuffled by the dealer. This is ideal for casinos. Yet, they will also try out a Deck penetration to prevent players trying to be better than the house edge overall. This system is all about cutting decks in half to put off card counters. Yet there is a risk with this, as essentially you may find there are more high value cards that will be cut and make it harder for players to make the best of their game, when all the good cards are effectively taken out from the game momentum.

What about live casino blackjack on online casinos?

Live casinos, will of course in theory be better for card counters to have a go at-since you can see the cards actively being dealt. Yet the pace of the dealing can affect how well the cards can be counted, in addition to the use of automatic or physical shuffling. You know that when you see a live casino game with an automatic shuffler, you are pretty much screwed. For that reason, many online casinos have increasingly begun to incorporate the automatic and continuous shuffling systems to put off card dealers entirely.

In addition to this, the Deck penetration method is used to cut down the shuffled decks and prevent any counted card systems from commencing. This can really ruin the game's potential as you will find some of the high cards can be cut out completely or it can work oppositely in your favour and feature them all in your game. You never know.


Counting cards has gone on for a very long time. People have perfected methods that allow them to really squeeze every bit as much as they can out of casinos. Yet technology has really increased nowadays, making it even harder for the card counters to get past the new technological systems. These are being integrated within both online casinos and land based casinos slowly everywhere, meaning there is a high chance that your local casino will have them too. Card counting back in the day cost casinos millions of dollars, so putting the stops to it is pretty much imperative .

Players should never forget though, the house edge can be lowered by efficient strategy and gameplay. If you play the game successfully and execute it well, each time you win, the house edge will be lowered. Meaning you will be able to get the odds up to a 50% chance in your favour. Of course this is not always, but a chance.

Counting cards do work in your favour for the long term, but just be prepared to handle all the obstacles casinos put in your way to stop it. Playing for fun can mean being cheeky sometimes, yet it is imperative to know when to say now and stop overall. Have fun, count cards and don't forget to play smart too!


Hi, I'm James

"More than 5 years experience in the online gambling sector and 4 of them working with casinos. I'll share my thoughts relating to what you should be looking for in a casino and whether a site is worth your time and money."

Reviewer since June, 2020