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We know that the online casino industry has many misconceptions that are attached to it. Whether or not these myths are a reality make all the difference to just how safe or rewarding playing casino games can be. The world of online gambling, casino games, and even land-based casinos has come a long way since its conception. As gambling regulations are established and laws become more stringent, it’s easy to see that many concerns about casinos are nothing by but a myth. Let’s take a look at the most popular “myths” and debunk them to put your mind at ease. Myth #1 – All Casino Games are Rigged While it may be frustrating when a losing streak drains your bankroll, it doesn’t mean that online casino games are rigged. In fact, it’s the complete opposite. With regulators such as the UK Gambling Commission and the Malta Gambling Authority keeping a keen eye on how casinos and software providers operate, games are tested on a regular basis. Third-party companies have been created to ensure that casino games are fair and payout as they should. No more or no less than they have been designed to do. You can rest assured that all of the online casino games you play by trusted software providers at licensed online casinos are safe and fair. Myth #2 – Past Results Can Predict Future Wins Unfortunately, no matter how many times you’ve won while playing blackjack or roulette, casino games are based on pure luck. Yes, while certain casino games may take some skill to get the most out of a bet or hand you’re played, only Lady Luck can truly determine who wins or loses. In games such as roulette, where the random outcome of the ball is what determines the winner, this couldn’t be truer. Random results are what make casino games such a gamble – but it’s also what provides a lot of the fun. Myth #3 – Betting Systems are the Key to Winning The online casino industry is filled with betting systems and “experts” who insist that betting systems are the perfect way to make yourself a winner. While certain steps can be taken to get the most out of your bet and make your bankroll last longer, betting systems are no guarantee of landing a win. Depending on the betting system you choose to incorporate into your gaming session, you could end up walking away with a much lighter bankroll instead. Myth #4 – Online Slots Pay Out in a Rhythm While it’s true that all online slots pay out eventually, there’s no way to determine when or how that will happen. If a certain online slot hasn’t paid out in a while, it doesn’t mean that you can force that win by playing it more. When outcomes of a slot are determined by random outcomes, it’s impossible to guess what it will take before a big win lands. Instead, be patient and play responsibly. Myth #5 – Online Casinos Never Pay Winners We can with certainty that this is 100% not true. All trusted, licensed and regulated online casinos are required to pay out winners if they meet the standards set out by the regulator. While there may be some paperwork involved, online casinos worth their salt pay out their winners as quickly as possible. It’s because of this that it’s so important to choose the right online casino. We have a long list of reviewed online casinos that can be trusted but not all casinos are created equally. If you find that an online casino has been blacklisted or has a bad review, steer clear to be safe and keep your money and information safe. Myth #6 – Certain Slots Never Pay Out Jackpots All online slots are created with an RTP percentage. RTP or Return To Player, is the percentage that determines how often an online slots pay outs across its lifetime of spins. This is entirely hypothetical and can range from 92% to 98% depending on how generous the provider is feeling. While this number is hypothetical and cannot truly be tracked, it does give players an idea of what to expect when it comes to winning. A higher RTP means there’s a better chance of winning, but this could be over a long period of time. For instance, if a slot has an RTP of 94%, it should pay out $94 for every $100 bet over the game’s lifetime. Statistically, all online slots are designed to pay out wins. This is what makes them entertaining and rewarding for players who bet. Myth #7 – Online Gambling is Illegal Depending on where you live, this may be true. However, many countries around the world are starting to embrace legal gambling practices and putting regulators in place to keep gambling safe. While this doesn’t mean that online gambling is legal everywhere, the chances of finding legal gambling sites in the country you live are better than ever. If you find yourself in a country where online gambling is legal, make sure that you play at a safe and licensed online casino for the best possible experience. There are many online casinos that offer their services to players in countries where gambling online isn’t legal. This is unsafe and means you’re playing without any protection. Play Safe, Stay Safe The online casino industry is simply a part of the entertainment industry. This means there are rules and regulations that must be met to keep players like you safe. Playing at a safe online casino means you should have a fun and rewarding casino experience and that’s why we want to make sure that you’re always in good hands. Trust our GamblersPick Select casinos for the best experience possible.
Card counting isn't just something that savvy mathematicians do in the movies. It's in fact very real and potentially very profitable. Some card counters are so talented at the practice that they can earn millions of dollars in a single night. But what exactly is blackjack card counting? And how does it work? Continue reading and we'll walk you through everything you need to know about card counting and how you can use it the next time you go to the casino. The Origins of Card Counting Blackjack wasn't legally played in casinos in America until the 1930s. But it wasn't until the 1960s that blackjack card counting would become a real thing. It all started with a mathematician by the name of Edward O. Thorp. Thorp received his Ph.D. in mathematics at UCLA in the late 1950s. He then went on to teach math at MIT, New Mexico State University, and UC Irvine over the next several years. After earning his degree, he became very interested in the game of blackjack. Using an IBM 704 computer, he researched the probability of winning blackjack with different hands. After much research, he came up with what he called a "ten-count system." With this system, he would start with two numbers in your head - 36 and 16. The 16 represents the 16 cards with a value of ten and the 36 represents the other cards. As cards were dealt out during the game, he would count backward and divide that count with the number of remaining "other" cards. This was back in the day when there were single-deck games. Using Thorp's method on today's eight-card decks would mean that you would have to start with the numbers 288 and 128 and then count backward while also doing division. Thorp took his system to the casino one weekend with $10,000 in hand. He left the casino a few days later with $21,000 in his pockets. News spread quickly of Thorp's method and he became a celebrity among the gambling community. Then, in 1966, Thorp wrote his seminal book Beat the Dealer. It was an instant success and even became a New York Times bestseller. The Casinos React As we can imagine, the casinos weren't too pleased that Thorp had figured out a way to beat the game. They started to implement changes. For example, they went from single-deck games to four-deck games. Blackjack dealers were also required to reshuffle more often. However, the casinos soon realized that Thorp's book was actually good for them. Suddenly, floods of wannabe high rollers started coming in and playing blackjack. But these new players didn't have the patience or the skills needed to apply Thorp's system. Despite Thorp's book, the casinos were doing better than ever. Hi-Lo Count Going off of Thorp's work, a computer programmer by the name of Harvey Dubner invented a counting system known as the Hi-Lo Count. As computer systems became more popular, programmers were able to take the variables that casinos kept adding and determine what their advantages would be. The Griffin Agency The reason why casinos don't make blackjack a lot harder is that they want the game to still be attractive to players. Even if you play perfect basic strategy, the house still has an edge and is thus likely to win your money. Because of this, they even encourage players to try and beat the game. Dealers know exactly what basic strategy suggests and they're more than happy to offer the system's advice whenever a player is deciding what to do. But what were casinos to do about players who actually figured out how to beat the house? Robert Griffin, a private detective from Las Vegas, came up with a solution to this problem. He made a book that contained information and pictures of suspected and known card counters and sold it to the casinos. He would constantly update the book and sell them newer versions too. Team Play A card counter by the name of Al Francesco devised the team play system in 1971 as a way to avoid being caught by pit bosses. He would go to the casino with his brother who was also a counter. While his brother sat, Al would sit next to him and pretend to have a conversation. Whenever his brother placed a large bet, Al would casually throw down $100. The scheme was so successful that he became the first Big Player in blackjack history. Al would go onto train other players including Ken Uston. Uston went on to write a book about the strategy. This book led to a major increase in people engaging in team play, including the MIT team which the movie 21 is based on. Stanford Wong Stanford Wong took card counting to another level. After earning a Ph.D. in economics, he wrote a book called Professional Blackjack and wrote about his own strategy. He suggested back-counting and hopping around different tables to find the best shoes. By counting cards but only betting when the count was in his favor, he could avoid losing money and he could also avoid attention by not making constantly shifting bets. Also, during this time, casinos weren't as worried about using computers. Players would design complex machines that they could hide inside of their clothes. They would input information by tapping their feet and then the computer would output information through vibrations. What Is Card Counting? Essentially, to count cards means that you are keeping a general mental record of the cards being dealt. Because you know how many cards are in the shoe, and which type of cards are still left, you can more or less determine if you have good or bad chances of winning upcoming hands. The most popular method for counting cards is Harvey Dubner's Hi-Lo count. How the Hi-Lo Count Works First off, it's worth pointing out that you don't need a Ph.D. in mathematics to count cards. You just need to be someone who is patient, level-headed, and disciplined. The very first step to being a successful card counter is learning basic strategy. Card counting is useless unless you can master and memorize basic strategy. This system is a strategy that tells you the mathematically optimal move for every possible hand in the game. Once you have basic strategy down, it's time to learn the running count. To do this, we're going to have to give a value to every card. Imagine separating a deck into three chunks. The cards numbered 2-6 will be our low cards. They will have a value of +1. So every time you see a 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6, you're going to add 1 to your running count. The 10 through Ace cards are your high cards. They have a value of -1. Cards numbered 7-9 are neutral and have a value of zero. Keeping a Running Count To practice keeping a running count, you should flip over cards in a deck one at a time. As each card comes out, attempt to keep the count going at a steady pace. By the time you reach the end of the deck, your running count should equal zero if you were doing it correctly. When at a table, you can use the hi-lo system no matter how many decks are in the shoe and no matter what the specific rules of the game are. When keeping the count, you need to make sure that you are counting every single card that comes out. Not just your card but the cards of the other players and the dealer too. You want to continue counting until the cut card comes out and the dealer reshuffles. When this happens, the count resets. As more low cards continue to come out, that means that there are more high cards on the verge of being dealt out. This is how blackjack is different than any other game in the casino. Other games are based on the spin of a wheel or throw of the dice. But with blackjack, all of the hands are cumulative. Cards that come out of the shoe aren't going to be in play again until the shoe is reset. Calculating the True Count Unfortunately, keeping a running count isn't enough to give you a good advantage. Having a running count of +10 but with five decks still left in the shoe will be different than that count with only one deck left. Because of this, we also need to calculate the true count. Figuring out the true count requires only some basic division. To calculate it, you divide the running count by how many decks remain in the shoe. Let's go over an example. Imagine that you have a running count of +15. If you have five decks left then you calculate 15/5. This would mean that your true count is 3. This information will determine how you bet as well as which playing decisions to make. Using the True Count When counting cards, there are times when you don't want to follow basic strategy. Only when you know how to use basic strategy as well as calculate the running and true count can you gain an edge over the casino. The higher the true count gets, the more you should increase your bet. Also, as the true count gets higher, you'll spend more hands standing, doubling, splitting, and surrendering. If your True Count is +4 or greater, you will always want to stand. This is because a high count means there are more high cards in the shoe. And if you hit, you increase your chances of busting. But you also have better odds of being dealt out a winning hand. Is Counting Cards Allowed? Contrary to popular belief, counting cards is not illegal. You're not cheating when you're counting cards and you're not committing fraud or tampering with any equipment. All you're really doing is doing mental math. And there's nothing against the rules about doing mental math. With that said, casinos can ask you to stop playing. Casinos are private institutions and they have the ability to tell you to stop. Yet, they can't always do that. For example, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that casinos can't discriminate against card counters, even if they know they're counting. So instead, if you go to Atlantic City, you'll see that they use eight-card decks and that dealers are shuffling a lot more often. This is to inhibit card counters from playing. This is much different than in the Las Vegas casinos. If you get caught card counting in a Nevada establishment, the pit boss will come up to you and tell you that it's time to play a different game. How to Avoid Being Caught Perhaps the most important thing to remember is to play it cool. Don't count out loud or move your lips. Try to keep all of the math in your head. Also, don't drink alcohol. Non-alcoholic drinks are fine but drinking alcohol can quickly lead to major slip-ups. And if you start winning a lot, don't be afraid to throw in some misdirection. Purposefully making bad bets or bad decisions can throw the pit bosses off your trail. And also remember to tip your dealer. Tipping helps to get the dealer on your side and it also distracts them. The Importance of Knowing About Blackjack Card Counting As we can see, blackjack card counting is something that most people can do. However, it's something that most people aren't willing to put the time and energy into. But if you commit the effort, you can be counting cards as well as your winnings in no time. Looking to play some blackjack right now? Be sure to check out our many blackjack games and start playing!