Card counting is a continuously debated topic among blackjack enthusiasts and blackjack professionals, with endless guides, books, and even films being made about the practice.
It’s harder than ever to make it pay these days due to the shoe changing rules casinos put in place, as well as their hyper vigilance and ability to spot anybody doing it and eject them, but it doesn’t stop players trying.
When live casinos came along, savvy players saw a potential opportunity to use card counting to get ahead, but once again, the casinos were ahead of them, changing shoes regularly and keeping the pace such that it would make counting cards impractical.
Still, people do it, and there is even card counting software available which you can run alongside the game to keep the count for you.
This software makes card counting much more accessible to newer players, and is a good way to learn the basics before perhaps looking into more complex card counting strategies, but there are software programs available for these too.
We have another article on how card counting works so you can read that first if you don’t yet understand what card counting is, this article is specifically about the software.
Card Counting Software Explained
It’s a small maths program basically, with a basic interface that usually looks like it belongs in 1998 – but it doesn’t need to look pretty to do its’ job.
Card counting software keeps track of the cards that have been dealt in the game so far in order to establish the count, so it makes the player’s job a lot easier because they don’t have to keep track themselves and risk missing or forgetting a card, or getting the count wrong.
It is designed to be used alongside live casino games, the idea being that you tell the software what is happening in the game, and then the software does it’s mathematical magic and gives you the information you would need as a true card counter, allowing you to place bigger bets which the count is high and make smaller (or no) bets when the count is low.
The key will be to find a game that doesn’t change the shoe too early, as they all have slightly different protocols for that.
If you can find a live casino blackjack game that uses say 8 decks and gets through around 5 of them before swapping out, then card counting software can have a chance of turning the odds in your favour which, over the long term, means more success.
Card counting software is often just designed by a keen blackjack fan and/or hobbyist computer programmer, so it’s really simple to use, but very effective.
How Does Card Counting Software Work?
It’s very simple actually, and takes all of the mental work off the player making it much easier to multi-task.
There are quite a few card counting software programs out there, all designed a little different but essentially doing the same thing. They are often free to download too, so you can try a few and see which one you get to grips with.
When you open the software, it will appear as a pop up on the screen, which you can move around like any other window on the computer. It doesn’t plug into the casino in any way, it requires the player to input the information, but this is as simple as selecting a few options then clicking a button once the count begins.
Setting Up The Game
Obviously, you need to wait until a new shoe is started before beginning the count, so while you are waiting you can fill in the important info that tells the software what kind of game it is.
An online casino will always give this info, they have to, so you just need to input it.
This might include things like:
- Number of decks
- Betting Strategy
- Unit size
It just depends how the software has been designed.
Some go as far as telling you how much to bet at each point based on your unit size, some give the running count and the true count, others don’t.
Once you have told the software everything it needs to know and the game you are watching has started a new shoe, you can begin.
How to Use the Software
Again, this will be dependent on the software you are using, but in all cases the software will need to know that a new count is beginning. Some have a button that resets the count while others are a bit more annoying and need to be restarted each time.
This is where you will need to be on your toes, because you have t tell the software which cards have been dealt, and you do this with a single click of the mouse.
I’ve seen some that use a + and a – so you need to click the right button for the cards that are drawn (you don’t click anything for a 0 value card), but other that keep track of the cards dealt/remaining and how many decks have been used will need more detailed info.
The one I used had 3 buttons:
- 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
- 7, 8, 9
- 10, J, Q, K, A
This is actually easier to use, and also let’s the software know exactly which cards have been dealt so far (in terms of their count value at least).
The software instantly does all the calculations and then tells you what the current count is, and maybe even how much to bet if it has that function, so the player just needs to do as they are told really.
Blackjack Card Counting Software FAQ
Can I Use Card Counting Software With RNG Based Games?
You could technically use card counting software with an RNG based blackjack game, but there wouldn’t be much point because RNG based games ‘reshuffle’ after after every single game, so it would get you nowhere as the count would be meaningless.
It’s generally accepted that card counting is impossible for digital versions of blackjack, so card counting software wouldn’t help you in any way.
Is Using Card Counting Software Illegal?
Just like in the real world, counting cards is not permitted by the casino’s own rules, which means they can ban you if they think you are doing it, but it’s certainly not against any sort of law.
An online casino has no right or ability to access your device anyway, so they could only base any accusation on the way you were betting, and if you ended up dong well, chances are you would just get the generic email and have your account limited for being too successful.
Can Downloading Card Counting Software Be Dangerous?
Downloading anything can be dangerous if you don’t know what it is or where you are downloading it from, so potentially, yes.
That said, so long as you do a bit of research, maybe check for reviews or other people who have used the software or recommended it, you should be ok.
Just don’t download anything from any dodgy looking websites and definitely don’t hand over any details about yourself – there’s no reason you should be asked for anything like that anyway.