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Basics of Shuffle Tracking in Blackjack at Online Casino

In this article, we’ll talk about shuffle tracking - a complex method used by card counters. Note that it can be applied at land-based casinos only. It doesn’t work at online casinos – even if you’re playing blackjack with live dealers.

This is an informative article that can hardly teach you how to do shuffle tracking. To master this method, read the books The Shuffle Tracker’s Cookbook by Arnold Snider and Advantage Play for the Casino Executive by Bill Zender.

Principles of card counting

For starters, let’s remember what card counters are doing. By using one of the numerous card counting methods, they track concentration of large and small cards in the decks remaining in the game. The more large cards, the higher are the chances of winning, and the larger must be the bet.

Of course, card counters don’t start a new shoe with large bets, for they don’t have the necessary information yet. The count may go negative and start increasing. In this situation, you won’t have to raise bets at all.

Basics of Shuffle Tracking in Blackjack at Online Casino

It’s common knowledge that blackjack played with several decks uses not all cards loaded in the shoe. One or two decks are separated by a special card. This card coming tells the dealer it’s time to make a shuffle. This is one of the ways to fight card counters.

If you’ve ever counted cards n blackjack, you must have had the situation when the count was too high towards the end of the shoe. This means that the separating card has lots of large cards behind it.

Principles of shuffle tracking

As the part of cards that didn’t take part in the game was already shuffled before the dealing, most dealers don’t do anything with them. You need to track those cards and make separation so that this part was at the beginning of the shoe.

Expecting high concentration of large cards, you can raise your bets. As this strategy is not typical for card counters, this behavior confuses dealers and pit bosses trying to detect card counters.

Moreover, this situation caused changes to be made to the basic strategy. If blackjack professional expects a lot of Tens and Aces in the next decks, he will make splits and doubles in a slightly different way, take blackjack insurance, take equal money, and so on. Those actions will help him gain a larger advantage over the house.

Response actions from the casino

As you can see, shuffle tracking is not as complicated as it may seem. It’s hard to apply this practice, though. Casinos know about this method and try to fight it. Attentive dealers never neglect decks behind the separating card. They divide them into several parts and mix them with the cards from the discard rack. These actions decrease the chances of successful shuffle tracking.

Shuffle tracking is impossible at solid online casinos. However, not all dealers are diligent and responsible. The dealer may add unplayed cards to the shoe without shuffling them. As long as there are lazy dealers, shuffle tracking lives.