Blackjack is one of the most famous games that visitors and guests enjoy at casinos. Similarly, card counting is one of the most popular gaming methods in gambling. This technique is so famous that many movies in Hollywood are based on card counting. The players who have the skill of card counting get almost 0.5% to 1.5% profit. They can gain more than this profit sometimes. So this technique is profitable for skilled players. Due to much fame of card counting, some players of blackjack think that it is the only technique to win huge profits at casinos.
But the reality is you do not need to count cards for beating blackjack. There are some effective techniques that you can use for winning at blackjack without counting cards. These advantage-play techniques are helpful for the players to win the game and earn huge profits. In this article, we discuss all the techniques along with their features and merits.
The Techniques That Help in Winning At Blackjack Without Counting Cards
The following are some techniques through which you can win at blackjack without counting cards:
Casinos in Las Vegas introduced shoe games in the 1960s and 1970s. The main objective behind this idea was to create hindrance for card counters by forcing them to count cards with the help of various decks in the shoe. The casinos in Las Vegas thought that they had solved the problem of card counting through shoe blackjack tables. But the card counters made adjustments in the strategy. At the same time, they invented the shuffle tracking strategy.
How Does It Work?
In shuffle tracking, tracking is done through a sequence of cards or specific cards via various shuffles. The shuffle trackers analyze from where the face cards and 10s will come in the coming rounds. Similar to card counting, the main objective is to make more bets when the shoe is in excess in the face cards. If the players do it right, shuffle tracking is more efficient than card counting. But this is indeed a difficult technique. The players will have to be well aware of the advanced strategy and card counting strategy.
The main agenda behind shuffle tracking is that shuffles are not stochastic. The players can track the cards after shuffles. But the casinos do not prefer that their dealers are wasting time in shuffling the cards. The reason is that it takes much time. Besides, it reduces the profits of the casinos. So if you think about why dealers do not shuffle more to make more random decks, this is the main logic behind this idea.
The Common Technique
The common technique is the zero shuffle. In this technique, the dealers separate the cards into piles. Moreover, they do shuffling between the piles. The dealers pick two piles. Also, they riffle these piles. It means that the ace of hearts has a high probability of appearing in one or two sections of the shuffled shoe. Moreover, card counting comes here since you want to keep a track record of count for different sections. You can refer to the hi-lo counting method for detailed explanations such as:
- 7 through 9 = 0
- 2 through 6 = +1
- 10 through ace = -1
The players use other card counting systems along with shuffle tracking. But hi-lo strategy is a famous and easy strategy for the players to use. Furthermore, the face cards favour the players by improving the probability of winning the natural blackjack money. The players gain either a 3:2 or 6:5 bonus. Similarly, low cards decrease the probability of dealer’s busting out when they are trying to reach hard 17. All the points that increase the dealer’s odds of winning are not good for the players at all. The players make efforts to for higher bids in the case when the shoe is rich in terms of aces and 10s. Also, they try to make bets for the minimum table when there are low cards in the shoe.
Advantages of Shuffle Tracking
Running count includes positive and negative counts. Hi-lo system converts it into the true count. It refers to the unplayed decks in the shoe. Moreover, shuffle tracking and card counting come together when the players know the card values in the shoe. They get a higher advantage when they track face cards and find them together. Besides, the biggest merit of shuffle tracking is that the players cannot spot it easily compared to card counting.
Usually, the players increase bets in good situations. But their increased bets come in a short span. The other merit of shuffle tracking is that the players can get 50% benefit with the perfect shuffle tracking. It is not necessary that all the players will achieve this benefit all the time. Those players who are skilful and expert will get 10% to 30% long-term benefit by using their unique shuffling style.
Disadvantages of Shuffle Tracking
On the contrary, the disadvantage of shuffle tracking is that the players cannot pull it off easily. The players not only have to keep a good count, but they have to follow the deck with their eyes. Also, they need to comprehend how face or high cards will disperse. Therefore, the players have to make much effort to become an expert in shuffle tracking. Moreover, the players have to be good enough for pulling it off with high uncertainty. Similarly, some players think they are doing a good job, but they actually live in a fool’s paradise. In reality, they are not getting any advantage.
The other disadvantage of shuffle tracking is that all the casinos do not have the facility of shuffle training for the blackjack dealers. Hence, exploitation is possible in this case. In some of the casinos, there is a 2-pass shuffle. The players go through two rounds of restacking and riffling. It becomes difficult to track cards while doing shuffling. The players require a one-pass shuffle to reduce the random behaviour of the shoe. Furthermore, shuffle tracking is not possible with a continuous shuffling machine. Therefore, the players try to find hand-shuffled shoes that have a one-pass shuffle facility.
In North-American Casinos, the dealers deal with one face-down and one face-up card. The face-down card refers to the hole card. Also, this hole card is not visible to the players. Only the dealer can see this hole card since the dealer assesses the natural blackjack when the players are playing. Hence, you cannot see the hole card. You focus on the blackjack decisions with incomplete information. The basic strategy assists you to reduce the gap between yourself and the house. But you are bearing a risk while using this perfect strategy.
Enter hole carding is such a technique that includes spotting the hole card of the dealer. If you are able to see their hole card, you will get up to 13% benefit. Flasher is a dealer who offers a chance to see this hole card to the players. Even such dealers give the opportunity to the players to get a big advantage through flashing the hole card. The right tactic for the player is to sit on the right side to find out the dealer’s flaw. The players should focus on every hand of the dealer closely. But the majority of dealers do not focus on dealer peeks for blackjack. Hence, they give an advantage to the flasher in this way.
When the players spot the dealer’s face-down card while they peek for blackjack refers to third-basing or first-basing. When the players spot the hole card under the up-card refers to front-loading.
Popular Hole-Carding Seats
The majority of hole-carders prefer to sit at the first base. It is the first set to the left side of the dealer. Besides, it is the best way to focus on the right hand of the dealer. It will give you the maximum advantage. The other famous hole-carding seat is the third base. It is on the immediate right side of the dealer. In fact, it is the best seat to focus on the left-hand of the dealer’s face-down card. This seat helps you if you succeed in getting a closer point to the table. The more you focus on the table with your eyes, the more you will be able to see the hole-card. Therefore, the players can do so in a fine way. They should not lean back. It will draw attention towards their efforts put in for hole-carding.
Some Important Instructions
Moreover, you should not overuse the advantage of winning at blackjack without counting cards. You should be cautious while applying this technique. Furthermore, the players should ignore the information while using the basic strategy. The reason is that some of the gameplays look too much suspicious. For Instance:
- The dealer’s up-card is 10.
- The best way is to double down against the dealer’s 12.
- Your total of the first two cards is 8.
- No regular players decide this point since they do not have this information.
- The dealer’s hole card is 2.
Steps That Casinos Can Take To Avoid Winning At Blackjack Without Counting Cards
So when the dealer is a continuous flasher, the players should get the advantage of such gameplays including winning at blackjack without counting cards. But if the casinos see that the dealers are trying to show the hole-cards to the players continuously, such things will take place:
- The casino will fire the dealer if the flashing has become a problem.
- The casino will give some better training to the dealer.
In both cases, you will get nothing after finding a flasher. It is the benefit of some suspicious gameplays that you should leave. Moreover, all the players should think in the long run and analyze the profits by playing at the dealer’s table. They should not make such decisions that are not relatable to the regular strategy.
It is not an easy task to search for a consistent flasher. The casinos train their dealers not to give a chance of showing hole-card to the players. Similarly, some dealers do not get enough expertise and knowledge. If you want to search for flashers, then you must visit the casinos of Reno, Atlantic City, and Las Vegas. These casinos will assist you in finding experienced flashers in no time. So when you succeed in finding a flasher, try to play at this dealer’s table. You should make it a priority.
The poker pro-Phil Ivey made edge-sorting a popular advantage-play technique. Ivey won more than $20 million from Borgata and Crockfords along with his friend Cheung Yin Sun. The casino security strictly checked all the details of Ivey’s case. Further, it is possible for blackjack and other players to get money through edge sorting. In this technique, the players spot the flaws and use the same information to predict the card values before revealing them. But you cannot go to the casinos in search of a flawed deck. Despite this, you should be familiar with the design flaws in the decks. Ivey won millions of dollars with the help of the same strategy along with Cheung. She focused on the purple Gemaco deck for some time. Then she became good at spotting the flaws in the design of a deck.
Different Types of Flaws
There are different forms of flaws:
- You can easily identify when the flawed side of the card is rotated near you.
- There are half-diamonds on the edge of the specific card backs.
- There may be full diamonds on the other cards.
- You need to identify which cards have an irregular diamond pattern on the back.
The technique of edge sorting works well when you rotate the cards 180 degrees. It will make it easy to look at the pattern of diamonds. Therefore, Ivey requested to rotate the cards 180 degrees. Being a high-stakes gambler, Ivey made such kinds of requests. On the contrary, the regular players do not have such sway. Hence, they do not have such opportunities in edge sorting.
You can get an advantage out of this technique when you become a high-stake player of blackjack. Besides, you cannot gain an advantage with special requests. But when you make requests, the casinos will protect themselves due to the famous case of Ivey.
Ace sequencing is considered a unique kind of card tracking. In this technique, you try to remember the cards that are on the top of the ace cards in a pile. Then you can make big bets when you find some hope in those ace cards. Just like shuffle tracking, ace sequencing is not an easy technique at all. Only the experienced and skilled trackers can remember a dozen sequences of the shoes. Hence, there are more chances of their success in this technique.
If you know that you will deal with an ace, you can get a 50% benefit from the house. Besides, when dealing with an ace, there are 31% chances of getting a ten-card and completing a natural blackjack. Moreover, it is difficult to become an ace tracker since there is no enough material available like card counting. Further, it takes some time to learn and execute this skill.
This technique starts with looking at the segments to guess the clumps appearing after a shuffle. Also, you want to watch where the aces go into the tray. In this way, you will have a better idea about ace dealing in the segment. Additionally, you need to remember 2-3 cards on the top of the ace cards in a tray. You watch key cards for after the shuffled deck. Then you can increase your bet after looking at the key cards. But you should consider that ace sequencing is like shuffle tracking since it does not work with the continuous shuffling machine.
Which Technique is Helpful in Beating Blackjack?
All the techniques give you an advantage compared to card counting. Also, you can get a 50% benefit in the case of ace sequencing and shuffle tracking. In comparison, hole carding gives you up to 13% benefit. There are no exact figures that will tell you the advantage that the players can gain. But just like Ivey, you can earn more than 20% advantage with the help of these advantage-play methods. After making the close comparison, card counting is indeed the most difficult technique of all. On average, the skilled card counter gets only a 1% benefit. That clearly depicts that there are chances of failures along with the chances of success. Therefore, the card counters need a $30,000 balance for their survival due to a high level of uncertainty.
On the contrary, the positive point regarding card counting is that it is easy to pull off compared to the other techniques. Besides, some blackjack games are relatable to card counting. There are more chances of success in shuffle tracking, edge sorting, hole carding, and ace sequencing. But you should try all the advanced techniques. You can win in any of the games. But you should first learn these techniques. When you become an expert in those skills, then you can gain huge profits.
Wrapping It Up Winning At Blackjack Without Counting Cards
You might have heard about card counters’ stories getting kicked out of the casinos. You can watch movies in Hollywood like 21. It depicts many scenes relatable to casinos’ pursuits of the MIT Blackjack team. It is the same case with any of these advantage-play methods, including edge-sorting, shuffle tracking, hole carding, and ace sequencing. But casinos have the right to refuse to give services to blackjack players. Moreover, you should be familiar with winning at blackjack without counting cards at casinos.
In addition, if they suspect that you have gotten much benefit, then they will ask you to leave. Therefore, you should act like a normal player. Further, if you have gained much profit, you should still mess up with some other gameplays to pretend that you are an average player. But first, you should focus on getting an advantage. Then you can create a situation to distract the casinos’ attention. You cannot become a pro player before losing some small games. Practice makes a man perfect. So you will have to lose some games to become an experienced player. You can use a basic strategy and keep an eye on the dealer’s flawed card, hole card, and opportunities for shuffle tracking. This is probably the best transition from a regular casino player towards getting a huge profit.