Can Online Casinos Ban You for Counting Cards?

If you’ve a knack for numbers and a keen eye for detail, there’s every chance you could master the art of card counting. 

By far, blackjack card counting is one of the most fascinating of all Vegas-related topics and practices. You’ve seen it in the movies and heard about it in the press – you may even think you’ve got what it takes to pull it off. 

But does this mean that to master the art of card counting is to give yourself the upper hand when gambling online? Do the same principles apply when counting cards at an online casino as would be the case in a traditional gaming hall?

Card Counting Principles and Policies
Just to clarify one important point right away – counting cards isn’t nearly as exciting or glamourous as you probably think it is. If anything, it’s a great way of making an otherwise enjoyable game into something incredibly boring.

It’s not to say that counting cards doesn’t work, at least in terms of reducing the house edge and tipping things in your favour. It’s just that getting to grips with the whole thing is a laborious pursuit and takes away from what casino gaming is supposed to be all about…fun! 

As for policies on counting cards, there are no specific laws or official restrictions on tactics and techniques like these. Nor is counting cards considered ‘cheating’ in the conventional sense. If you build the skills and savvy to turn a game of chance in your favour, it’s all to your credit and you technically are not doing anything wrong.

Not that any of this matters – it’s still prohibited in casinos and you’ll be banned for life if caught. Worse still, your details will be circulated near and far, which means you’ll be unable to join most other casinos in the immediate vicinity.

Quite the price to pay for something you’ll probably never fully master anyway.

Is Card Counting at Online Casinos Possible?
Moving onto the crux of the debate, how likely is it that you would also be banned from an online casino for counting cards? If caught red-handed using a forbidden strategy, what kinds of consequences would you be looking at?

The answer to both of these questions is inconsequential, for the simple reason that card counting at an online casino is almost entirely impossible. 

In terms of conventional online blackjack where you’re playing against a machine, there isn’t a strategy or card counting tactic in the world that works.  This is because there is a continuous deck shuffle that takes place after each hand, meaning tracking the cards dealt and working out what’s still in the deck is completely and utterly impossible.

It’s more or less like playing with a brand new and freshly-shuffled deck with each hand – the cards dealt previously being of no consequence whatsoever.

Everything that takes place when playing conventional blackjack online is the result of a random number generator doing its thing. As the name suggests, the random number generator is designed to create 100% random outcomes, 100% of the time.

Consistent randomness means no allowance for accurate predictions, or even having a vague idea as to what will happen next.

Live Dealer Card Counting
All well and good, but what about over in the ‘Live Casino’ area?

It’s a fair and valid argument to raise, given how live casino removes the random number generator from the equation and replaces it with a traditional dealer. There’s nothing virtual about what takes place – it’s you, a real dealer, real cards and any other players who happen to be sitting at the table at the time.

In which case, logic dictates that the same rules apply as those on a real-life casino floor. Thereby suggesting card counting would be possible to tip the balance in your favour, but is this actually the case?

Short answer, no – card counting is more or less out of the question with live-dealer gaming experiences.

This is because as a general rule of thumb, online casino live dealer blackjack makes use of eight decks of cards, which are shuffled comprehensively once they have been through the shoe. This in turn translates to such a low probability of accurately predicting outcomes that the whole thing becomes a pointless exercise.

Irrespective of how skilled you are and how closely you watch the action, there’s little to no chance you’ll gain enough of an advantage to generate guaranteed profits.

Practice Makes Perfect?
All of the above clearly illustrates why the concept of practicing card counting online before heading out to a real-life casino can be a recipe for disaster. 

On one hand, practicing memorising cards and making the necessary calculations without any physical ‘tells’ makes sense. On the other, the fact that things work completely differently online means the knowledge and skills you develop may be of no practical use whatsoever in a real-life casino.

If planning on practicing card counting to be used in a real-world setting, think about setting up regular games with your mates where you’re all in on what’s happening. 

A Word on Casino Strategies in General
Rounding things off, the truth about casino strategies in general is relatively straightforward:

They don’t work.

Too many people give too little credit to casinos, gaming brands, online slot developers and so on. When you think about it, there’s a good reason why most are extremely lucrative companies that turn over more money in a day than most of us will earn in a lifetime. 

Long story short, they know exactly what they are doing and have perfected the art of making you think you can gain the upper-hand. Think about it – you wouldn’t spend a penny on casino games if you didn’t feel there was a good chance you’ll win. When in reality, the house always wins – sooner or later.

Strategies in general can therefore be sidestepped, swapped instead for good old-fashioned enjoyment. Give card counting a try if you like, but chances are it’ll do little other than take the lustre away from one of the world’s most enjoyable casino classics.

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