Counting cards in poker can boost your odds of winnings. Read this article to find out how to make the most of this technique!
To boost your odds of winning in selected card games, you can try to count cards. This technique doesn’t provide a 100% victory guarantee — but it can be rather efficient. It works better for blackjack than for poker. However, experienced players apply it to selected variations of poker too (with some other variations, this technique is not compatible). In this article, we’ll have a look at how to count card in poker. You can do it when playing both online and offline.
Essence of Card Counting
During the gaming session, the dealer and the players show some part of their cards to each other. It enables you to understand which cards still remain in the deck and which aren’t there. Of course, you can’t be entirely sure. The players and the dealer keep holding some cards without showing them to you. Plus, selected cards leave the game without letting you see them face-up. Nevertheless, you can make assumptions and approximations.
The exact method of counting cards depends not only on the game but also on its variety. Below, we’ll share the basic information that is relevant to the most popular types of poker.
General Information About Counting Cards in Poker
In poker, the dealer shuffles the cards after each hand. When you get a new hand, the results of your count for the previous one become irrelevant. Learn to “erase” the excessive details from your memory as soon as you don’t need them anymore. This trick might be more challenging than the ability to analyze your opponents’ cards.
When playing online, you sometimes don’t know how many decks the dealer uses. This makes it impossible to count cards. Offline, this method should deliver better results.
Don’t expect to win millions thanks to counting cards in online poker or offline game. In blackjack, this technique indeed can help the luckiest and the most experienced gamblers to hit a big prize. With poker, it makes sense to talk only about boosting your odds to win.
Players can lose focus and become nervous during a gaming session. They can fold cards — and accidentally turn them. Make sure to constantly keep an eye on your surroundings to notice such moments. It will enable you to understand which cards are still in the game and which are not.
Counting Cards in Seven-Card Stud
The demand for this poker variety has been declining in the last few years. Nevertheless, we’ll mention it in our article because card counters like it. In an online casino or poker room, you’ll be likely to find such Stud variations as Seven-Card Stud, Seven Card Stud Hi/Lo and Razz.
Stud is the optimal poker variation for card counting because every player gets at least one face-up card at the beginning of the hand. Many gamblers fold from the onset. It’s a great chance to memorize the cards that leave the game. You can use this information to assess the hands of your opponents. Plus, you can try to predict the possible cards that you’ll get later.
Counting Cards in Hold’em And Omaha
These two poker varieties tend to be more popular than the Stud. You can come across them in nearly any online casino. Both of them suggest that all the cards should be dealt face down. From the onset, you lack the information to make smart decisions. The good thing is that you at least see your own hand. It can serve as a basis for card counting.
Let’s imagine that you’re playing Texas Hold’em. The board runs 9 8 7 and you have two tens. You can assume that your opponents hardly have a straight. Besides, they will need your tens for the nuts.
Now, let’s consider the Pot-Limit Omaha variation. While playing it, people frequently use blockers for bluffs. This technique has become more common among the younger generation of gamblers than among the older one. Imagine that you have an ace (its suit doesn’t matter). If three cards of the same suit as your ace come off, you’ll have the nut flush. You won’t even need to use your second card.
What You’d Better Avoid Doing
On the Internet, you can find dozens of articles about counting cards in different games. However, all of them offer more or less identical information. The selection of tricks that you can apply is limited.
A gambler whose experience is not extensive enough might try to invent a new easy way to count cards. In some situations, it might even work — but that will be just a coincidence. If you share your discovery with others, seasoned players may laugh at you and stop taking you seriously.
Poker was invented nearly 200 years ago. The best minds on the planet had enough time to create and test all the possible strategies and tricks related to this game. Maybe, one day a math genius will come up with a new tactic, backed up by data science… But to be honest, the probability of such an outcome is not too high. To avoid disappointment, it would be reasonable to stick to the already existing methods.
Is This Technique Legal?
The answer to this question is a bit complex, so let’s split it into two parts. The first one will be devoted to blackjack and the second one to poker.
It’s Illegal to Count Cards in Blackjack
If you’re interested in gambling, you’ve probably heard stories of people who were banned from brick-and-mortar casinos because of counting cards. Such cases indeed took place on the U.S. Western Coast. There have been court trials and media storms accompanying them. The only thing is that such stories were related to blackjack and not poker.
In blackjack, you aren’t allowed to count cards. Skilled players can do it so discreetly that no one will notice. As a result, it becomes impossible to punish them. Yet such virtuosos aren’t that numerous.
When looking at most other gamblers who try to count cards, it’s rather easy to detect that their minds are busy. (Please remember that we’re talking about offline gambling). They might act slower than usual and fail to promptly react to other people’s words and actions. They might frown or bite their lips. If the dealer notices that, they can ask the player to leave the table. In the worst case, a security guard can make the gambler leave the casino and never come back. Alternatively, the dealer can leave the table — and the other one can take their place, bringing another deck with them.
It’s Ok to Count Cards in Poker
If you ask the question “Is it illegal to count cards?” to the members of the poker community, the answer will be different, compared to blackjack. In poker, this technique is considered a norm. It’s natural and it’s hard to imagine that someone can get punished for that. So feel free to count to your advantage!
When playing against experienced gamblers, you should assume that everyone will be counting cards. However, when playing against less experienced opponents, you might be the only person who resorts to this technique. If so, good for you! To be sincere, that would be rare luck.
Hopefully, you found this article informative! By counting cards, you can estimate your chances to get a good hand and assess your opponents’ cards. Ultimately, it should boost your odds of winning — even though there is no 100% guarantee.
Before you start applying this technique, it’s crucial to learn how to play poker. Thoroughly memorize the rules of the selected variety of this game. Get to know the terms, such as “5 card draw”, “pot” or “street”. Train a lot and gain experience. Unlike in blackjack, it’s legal to count cards in poker — so feel free to use this technique to your advantage!