Author: Anna Gordienco
Oct 26, 2023

Does Card Counting Work in Online Blackjack?

For years, card counting has been one of the hottest topics in online casino games, especially when it comes to online Blackjack. This so-called strategy is linked to the concept of beating casinos and winning real money by tracking dealt cards and adjusting your bets accordingly.

But there’s one crucial question that we will explore in this article: Can you use card counting in online blackjack?
We’ll break down card counting, examine its digital challenges, and see if it’s a go-to strategy for online blackjack.


How does Card Counting work?

To better understand the prospects of card counting in online blackjack, we must first understand the basics of this strategy. Generally speaking, card counting mainly applies to blackjack, a popular casino card game where the aim is to reach a hand value of 21 or as close to it as possible without exceeding it. A standard deck contains 52 cards, and blackjack games often involve multiple decks shuffled together to make card counting more challenging.


Card counting is all about giving cards in a deck certain values. High cards (10s and aces) get negative values, while low cards (2 through 6) get positive values. This creates a “running count,” showing if the remaining deck is favorable. When it’s positive, you bet more; when it’s negative, you bet less.


It is believed by some players that in land-based casinos card counting offers a small advantage if used consistently. But how about online gambling?


What Makes Card Counting in Online Blackjack Pointless? 


Card counting in online blackjack poses several significant challenges that differ from physical casinos. These challenges make it much more complex to employ this strategy effectively in digital casino websites. Some of the factors are: 

Random Number Generators (RNGs): Online blackjack games use Random Number Generators to shuffle and deal cards randomly, ensuring unpredictability. 


Limited Deck Penetration: In physical casinos, you can tell when the deck is favorable for card counting by tracking how deep into the shoe(a device used to hold and dispense cards) you are. To prevent this, online games often have limited deck penetration, making card counting less effective.


Speed of the Game: Online blackjack games are faster than in physical casinos. Quick decisions and automated processes leave little time for accurate counting, reducing its effectiveness by huge percentages.


Continuous Shuffling Machines (CSMs): Some online casinos use Continuous Shuffling Machines, which constantly mix the remaining cards into the shoe, making card counting useless.


Casino Countermeasures: Online casinos know about card counting strategies and may take steps to stop them, like reshuffling the deck after each hand or using more decks in a game.


The obstacles listed above make it much harder and almost impossible to benefit from card counting. Players who try it online may find their efforts in vain and their bankrolls shrinking.

Is Card Counting Legal? Both Online and Offline


The legality of card counting varies from place to place and depends on the specific rules and regulations of the casino or jurisdiction.
Let’s examine the legal aspects of card counting in both online and offline settings:


Offline (land-based) Casinos:


In physical casinos, card counting is generally not illegal. While casinos don’t appreciate card counters and may employ countermeasures like reshuffling more frequently or banning suspected counters, it is generally not against federal laws. 


However, it’s essential to note that individual casinos have the right to refuse service to anyone. If a casino suspects you of card counting or believes you are using a strategy that gives you an advantage, they may ask you to leave and may even ban you from their premises. This is known as “trespassing” in the casino industry, and it’s well within the legal rights of the casino.


In some jurisdictions, casinos may use local laws to support their right to ban suspected card counters, but this doesn’t typically lead to legal action against the player. Remember, the legality of casino bans may vary by location.


Online Casinos:


The legal status of card counting in online casinos is a completely different matter. Online casinos often have terms and conditions that explicitly prohibit any form of advantage play, which includes card counting.


In cases where an online casino detects card counting or any form of advantage play, they may suspend or close the player’s account, seize any funds in the account, and ban the player from future participation. The legal grounds for these actions are typically based on the casino’s terms and conditions, which players implicitly agree to when they sign up.


Broadly speaking, legal issues surrounding online casinos can be complex and vary widely by jurisdiction. In some regions, online gambling may be heavily regulated, and players engaging in advantage play could potentially face legal consequences if their activities violate local laws. 


In summary, card counting is generally not illegal in offline casinos, but you should be prepared for potential casino countermeasures and bans. Online casinos, on the other hand, explicitly prohibit card counting and advantage play in their terms and conditions, with potential account closures and fund seizures as consequences. The legal status of online gambling and advantage play varies significantly by jurisdiction, so it’s essential to understand the local laws and casino rules where you are playing. And when it comes to online blackjack or any other games, this strategy typically proves unsuccessful.


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