Is Counting Cards Illegal? – A Comprehensive Guide to Card Counting Strategies

Many casino players playing card-based games such as blackjack and baccarat often like to use different kinds of strategies to boost their winning chances. One such strategy is counting cards. But there have been different opinions about this strategy. This has caused many players to ask the question – is counting cards illegal? In this article, we will give you a detailed answer to that question.

How Does A Counting Cards Strategy Work?

Before we say anything concerning the legality of counting cards, let’s first explain what the strategy is all about. Counting cards literally involves keeping track of the cards dealt out to both players and dealer. Since there is a finite number of cards in a single deck (52), it is relatively easy to count the cards that have been dealt and the ones remaining in the deck.

Step 1 – Assign Values to Cards

The first thing to do when counting cards is to assign values to the cards. In blackjack, cards 2 to 6 are assigned values of +1 while cards 10 to Ace are assigned values of -1. The remaining cards are assigned a value of 0. You need to know that the values assigned to the cards vary depending on whether you’re playing blackjack, baccarat or other card-based games.

Step 2 – Keep Track of the Cards

After assigning values to the cards, the next thing you need to do is keep track of your count. You will have to continue adding the values together based on the cards that appear on the table. If your count is negative, then the house has an increased advantage and you should reduce your bet. If it is positive, however, it means you have an advantage.

Is Card Counting Considered Illegal?

Back to the initial question at the beginning of this article – is card counting illegal? The straightforward answer is that card counting is not illegal in most countries. However, if you want to be sure, then you can probably check your country’s gambling laws to see if there is any mention of the strategy. But if card counting is not illegal, why do online casinos frown on it?

Why Casinos Hate Card Counting

Just as you might have guessed, casinos hate card counting because it gives the player a bit of an advantage. Since casinos are established with the main purpose of making profits, it is no surprise that they frown on using this strategy. That said, there are some situations where card counting can be considered illegal by a casino, and we will talk about that in the next section.

Other Important Things to Know About Card Counting

The use of external software for card counting is regarded as cheating in many countries and is not allowed by physical or online casinos. While using a card counting strategy seems to be a good thing to do for many card-based games, you need to be aware that the strategy cannot work if the deck of cards is shuffled from time to time within the game.

Additionally, because of the nature of virtual card-based games, a card counting strategy may not be as efficient compared to playing the game in a physical casino. Virtual games make use of a Random Number Generator to randomize the outcome of the game and each outcome is independent of the next one. Thus, the randomization of the outcome will make it inefficient to use the strategy.