Blackjack Shuffle Tracking

Blackjack School

Shuffle tracking is a method used to help blackjack players gain an edge against the casino. The technique comes from card counting methods and the two are often used in conjunction with each other. Players assume that when blackjack dealers shuffle the decks of cards that the shuffle itself arranges the cards in a completely random manner. However, this is not exactly true and players can use this fact to their advantage. Some experts believe that for one deck of cards to be shuffled into true randomness, it would take 20-30 shuffles per deck. That means that casinos using 6 decks of cards would have to shuffle 120-180 times to produce a truly random deck. During live game-play, this many shuffles would just take up too much time and it would not be cost effective for the casino.

Card Counting

To successfully track the shuffle, a player will need to do some card counting. Card counting is done in order to help the player determine whether there are more high cards, 10 through Ace, or low cards left in the deck. If the shoe has more high cards, the player has the advantage as those cards allow for more blackjacks (a total hand value of 21). More low cards in the shoe favor the dealer since he will be less likely to bust as he follows the casino rules about hitting and sticking. When counting cards, high value cards have a negative number and low value cards have a positive number. This means that if the count is high for the played cards, the player can assume that most cards left in the shoe will be high cards.

Shuffle Tracking

Shuffle tracking is based on the idea of identifying a particular set of cards and tracking them in order to predict where those specific cards will end up in the deck after it was shuffled. If you count cards and shuffle track accurately you will be able to give yourself an advantage by knowing when to bet big. If you are playing blackjack with multiple decks and your card count is high, for example +10, then you know that most of the cards still in the shoe are high value cards.

In shuffle tracking, a player will watch and track where a small pack of cards are and where they end up in the deck after the shuffling. When a dealer shuffles, the cards do not intersect perfectly so small packs of cards end up clumped together. If you know where those high cards end up when they are placed in the shoe, you can make an accurate prediction about when they will be dealt and bet accordingly.

Types of Shuffle Tracking

There are several types of shuffle tracking methods including zone tracking, Key Card Location, Ace Sequencing and Ten Steering and all of them are equally difficult to do right. Zone tracking is when a tracker identifies a zone, or pack, of high value cards. He follows that pack as it is shuffled into the deck and bets when those cards have a high probability of appearing. Tracking can also happen by using the Key Card Location method in which a tracker chooses one card and memorizes the cards which follow. When his Key Card is dealt, he will know the cards which will follow as the dealing continues. When a tracker uses Ace Sequencing in blackjack, he locates an Ace when cutting the deck and then uses that to predict when the Ace will be dealt. Ten Steering is much the same as Ace Sequencing but uses the ten-card instead.

Shuffle Tracking on the Internet

While using a blackjack shuffle tracking technique may be useful for a few very talented individuals in land-based casinos, but it does not help a player in most online blackjack games. Software based blackjack games tend to reshuffle the cards after each round of play and in a more even way than any human dealer could possibly do. The reason shuffle tracking can work in land-based blackjack game is because players can identify the flaws in a dealer’s shuffling technique and exploit it to his advantage. However, now many internet casinos offer Live Dealer blackjack which is played in real time with a professional dealer. At these tables players can test out their blackjack shuffle tracking methods and see how good they really are.

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