Blackjack Card Counting Online
It is well documented that you can win at card counting in regular offline casinos, but can you win at online blackjack by card counting?
The short answer is “yes you can”, but it’s not easy. The majority of online casinos shuffle after every round, which eliminates the ability for card counters to gain an edge. That said, the majority of online casinos offer extremely good signup bonuses and rules. Each casino will set a minimum amount of play required to cash out the bonus. That minimum is based on you turning over enough money in the casinos eyes to pay for the bonus amount in expected losses. Generally casinos will take the average loss incurred by regular punters as a guide to calculating your expected loss. By employing precise basic strategy, and adjusting this strategy slightly by employing some card counting techniques, you can bring the house edge down considerably from what a normal punter would face. This makes bonus hunting (or whoring as it is sometimes called) attractive to skilled players.
To provide a numerical example, PokerNews has managed to negotiate a special deposit bonus at PartyCasino for 100% up to $500. So if you deposit the full $500 using the deposit bonus code CASINOPN you get $500 additional as a bonus. The bonus is withdrawable but it will be held in your Player Account until you have collected 4x more PartyPoints than the amount of bonus (in this case 2000 points or about $4000 in bets). The estimated casino edge for PartyCasino’s single deck blackjack game is 0.28%. What this means is if you were to place 4000 bets of $1 bets your expected loss would be $11.20. At this stage you could cash out your remaining bonus of $488.80 as well as your initial $500. If you employ strategy adjustments, according to card counting rules, your expected loss will be even slightly less. Of course you might lose more than your initial deposit while making these bets or you might win as well, however, the point is that on average your expected loss is $11.20.
An increasing trend, particularly in Asia, is to have live dealer blackjack online. This form of blackjack accurately simulates the sort of games you would find in a regular casino as the decks are not shuffled after each round. I have heard that a number of blackjack card counters have experimented with this form of the game. Most blackjack players at the best of times keep things close to their chest, so information is scarce. In a follow up article, I will elaborate more on the pros and cons of live dealer blackjack.