Five’s in Twenty-One

[ English ]

Counting cards in chemin de fer is really a method to increase your odds of winning. If you’re very good at it, you may really take the odds and put them in your favor. This works because card counters elevate their bets when a deck rich in cards which are beneficial to the player comes around. As a basic rule, a deck rich in ten’s is better for the player, because the dealer will bust more generally, and the player will hit a pontoon extra often.

Most card counters maintain track of the ratio of good cards, or ten’s, by counting them as a one or a – 1, and then provides the opposite 1 or minus 1 to the minimal cards in the deck. A few techniques use a balanced count where the variety of low cards may be the same as the number of ten’s.

But the most interesting card to me, mathematically, will be the 5. There had been card counting methods back in the day that engaged doing nothing a lot more than counting the number of fives that had left the deck, and when the five’s had been gone, the player had a huge benefit and would raise his bets.

A good basic strategy gambler is obtaining a ninety nine point five per cent payback percentage from the gambling house. Each five that’s come out of the deck adds point six seven percent to the player’s expected return. (In a single deck casino game, anyway.) That means that, all things being equal, having one 5 gone from the deck offers a player a small advantage over the house.

Having two or three 5’s gone from the deck will basically give the gambler a quite substantial edge over the gambling house, and this is when a card counter will normally increase his wager. The problem with counting five’s and absolutely nothing else is that a deck lower in 5’s happens pretty rarely, so gaining a huge benefit and making a profit from that situation only comes on rare situations.

Any card between 2 and 8 that comes out of the deck improves the gambler’s expectation. And all nine’s. ten’s, and aces boost the gambling establishment’s expectation. Except eight’s and 9’s have quite modest effects on the outcome. (An eight only adds point zero one per-cent to the gambler’s expectation, so it is normally not even counted. A 9 only has point one five % affect in the other direction, so it is not counted either.)

Understanding the results the low and high cards have on your expected return on a bet could be the initial step in learning to count cards and play twenty-one as a winner.

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