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Winning at CyberBlackjack
by Mark Balestra
Updated 30 July 2003

It's one of many common questions on the minds of newcomers to online casino gambling: Are the blackjack hands dealt from a shoe?

In the case of every software package to be run through third-party testing, the answer is yes. And the next logical question is, "Wouldn't that make it extremely easy to count cards?"

Those who know the ins and outs of gambling understand that successful card counting in blackjack is one of the few ways to gain an edge on the casino. Because most casinos use multiple decks (typically as many as six), only those who are extremely skilled at counting cards can achieve this.

That makes Internet blackjack a very attractive alternative because it's a breeze counting cards when you can write down every card that is turned--something that's prohibited at terrestrial casinos for obvious reasons--and clean house, right?

Not quite. The second variable in determining the difficulty of counting cards is penetration (the number of cards dealt before the deck is reshuffled). This is because a counter cannot assess the probability of certain cards being dealt until the majority of cards have already been shown.

Internet casinos, unlike real-world casinos, have the option of shuffling the deck after every hand, and they do. Thus, there's no way to take advantage of any card counting system because not enough cards are shown.

The only scenario in which card counting can be effective is a multi-player single-deck game in which everyone can see all the cards that are dealt. To my knowledge, no online casinos offer such a game.

Counting your way to a fortune playing blackjack is great thought, but back here in reality, it's an impossibility. Stick with perfect strategy and your chances of coming out on top aren't too bad. But, aside from cheating, you'll never swing the odds in your favor.

Want to play blackjack? - Make sure you know the Basic Strategy for Blackjack to keep the house edge down.  

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