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What Is Card Counting? Can You Apply Card Counting in Online Casinos?

November 29, 2021

Written By,

Brijesh Mehta

You might have read books or watched movies about pro gamblers using card counting to bring down the casino house and you might be wondering whether the card counting can be applied in online casinos or not.

Card counting doesn’t mix well with the online casinos and here we will discuss why so. By reading this article, your confusion about the application of card counting in online casinos will be cleared. So, go through this article.

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Let’s first know what card counting is.

What is Card Counting?

Card counting is a strategy that can be applied to play blackjack online games to gain an advantage over a casino or house.

In this strategy, the player keeps a running tally of cards that have already been dealt from the dealing shoe to get a better idea of cards that are likely to appear next.

It’s based on probability and using this strategy in blackjack will provide information to the player whether the next cards to be dealt will more likely to result in a player win or dealer bust.

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Card counting is not illegal but casinos are not entertained with players applying it. Every good player uses card counting to some extent in blackjack.

If a player notices that many high cards have already been dealt & changes his bet, then the player has used card counting to some extent.

Under card counting itself, there are many different systems that don’t have the same accuracy and complexity. The most common card counting system is the Hi-Lo system in which you have to either add 1, do nothing or subtract 1 based on the values assigned to each card dealt.

  • High Cards (Aces, Kings, Queens, Jacks, 10s) are assigned a value of -1.
  • Neutral Cards (7s, 8s and 9s) are assigned a value of 0.
  • Low Cards (2s, 3s, 4s, 5s and 6s) are assigned a value of +1.

You keep a running count with each dealt from the shoe by adding or subtracting or doing nothing. If the blackjack is played with just a single deck, this information of running count would be enough to begin wagering accordingly.

If the running count increases, the advantage is higher for the player to bet. If the running count decreases, the house advantage increases and the situation is not that favourable for players.

Casinos don’t use a single deck. So, for a game with multiple decks, you have to calculate the true count from the running count. You calculate the true count by dividing the running count by the estimated number of decks remaining.

For example; if your running count is +8 and you estimate that two decks are left in the shoe, then the true count is 8/2 = +4.

As the positive true count increases, the house edge shifts more in favour of the player and you can increase your bet size.

You change your bet size based on the rise and fall of the true count. This is how card counting is applied.

Card Counting in Online Virtual Casino Games

Card counting usually doesn’t work in Indian online casino games. Whether card counting can be applied or not also depends on the deck penetration. The deck penetration refers to how many decks a casino dealer deals from the shoe before reshuffling.

If the game is played with 8 decks and the casino dealer deals up to 4 decks before reshuffling, then the deck penetration is 50%.

Higher deck penetration favours card counting as the system becomes more accurate. Generally, the deck penetration of 75% is considered ideal for implementing card counting.

But many casinos reshuffle before this deck penetration is reached to prevent players from card counting. Some casinos that don’t want to slow down their games by reshuffling more allow higher deck penetration.

They consider that losing hands because of constant reshuffling is more costly than providing some card counting advantage to a few players.

But this is not the case with online virtual casino tables as online casinos don’t have to worry about losing hands because of reshuffling. The shoe is automatically reshuffled by their game software without wasting time.

Online casinos reshuffle their decks and provide very low deck penetration. So, this offers no chance for players to implement card counting and gain an advantage. Because of this low deck penetration, card counting doesn’t work in online virtual casino games.

Card Counting in Live Dealer Casino Games

What about the live dealer casino games offered by online casinos? Live dealer blackjack features real cards and a human dealer like land-based casinos and you might think that such games are ideal for card counting as no one will see you sitting at home and counting cards.

But online casinos are not stupid and they know that card counting can be applied in live dealer games shifting the advantage to players. So, live dealers are instructed to shuffle shoes so that more deck penetration is not allowed for card counting to be effective.

Some live dealer baccarat casino games offer the deck penetration of up to 50% before reshuffling which is somewhat more than virtual games.

However, this amount of deck penetration is not just enough for card counting to be effective.

You can visit live dealer casino tables at different casino sites and get an idea of their deck penetration by watching games. You can choose casino sites that offer live tables that are more susceptible to card counting strategy.


Card counting is effective in casinos that provide games with fewer decks and deck penetration of at least 75%. These days, casinos are well aware of this and they usually don’t offer favourable situations for card counting.

In online casinos, card counting is not effective in games where the software is used for the automatic shuffling of decks. Live dealer casino tables also don’t allow required deck penetration for this strategy to work effectively.

We hope that you are clear about card counting and how it is not that ideal strategy for online casinos. Always play casino games for fun at a licensed, safe and trusted online casino platform like BetBarter India.

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Written By,

Brijesh Mehta

Brijesh Mehta is a content writer & strategist from India providing his top-notch skills & expertise in the Sports and online casino industry for more than seven years. He is an avid reader and creative writer who is fond of words and uses them to teach others about online betting and trending sports news through his in-depth guides.