There are a lot of myths and misconceptions about blackjack. One of the most common is that you need to count cards in order to win.
While for the most part, this is true (you cannot, for example, beat the house with any betting strategy or staking system, or even by using basic strategy) there are some exceptions to the rule!
For professional players, there are a number of ways to win at blackjack without ever having to count cards. They’re not easy – far from it – but they are possible.
In this article, I will explore some of the most popular techniques used by non-card counters. I will also look at the pros and cons of each method so you can decide whether you want to pursue them yourself…
Edge Sorting is a technique used by advanced and professional blackjack players to gain an advantage over the house.
It relies on being able to notice subtle differences between cards that aren’t easily visible to the untrained eye. With this method, players can determine which cards are high-value and low-value by looking for tiny imperfections in the printing of the backs of the cards.
- Pros: Edge sorting is relatively easy to learn and can be used without arousing suspicion if done correctly. In addition, since the differences between cards are so subtle, it’s very difficult for the casino to determine whether or not a player is using edge sorting techniques.
- Cons: Edge sorting only works with certain types of cards. In addition, it can be very difficult to spot the differences between cards and it can take some time to perfect the technique. Your powers of observation will need to be very well developed if you are to use this method successfully.
Hole carding is a technique used by blackjack players to gain an advantage over the casino. It involves watching the dealer’s face-down cards to try to get a glimpse of what value they are holding.
This is not possible with every dealer, but some inexperienced or lazy dealers can be more prone to exposing their hole card than others.
- Pros: Hole carding gives you a massive advantage over the dealer, so if you manage to get this technique right you will win regularly and win big!
- Cons: Dealers are trained to hide their cards, and while they can make mistakes, you could be waiting a long time to find a dealer with a weakness you can exploit. It’s therefore a very tiresome task, and you will inevitably spend far more time looking for weak dealers than you will actually spend playing.
Shuffle tracking is a technique used by blackjack players in which they try and predict where certain cards will be in the deck after it’s been shuffled. This can then be used to gain an advantage over the house.
- Pros: Shuffle tracking is relatively easy to learn, and many players find it fun to try and make predictions about where cards will end up. It also doesn’t require any special skills or knowledge, other than keeping track of which cards have been dealt.
- Cons: Many casinos now use automated shufflers which renders this method ineffective, as you cannot look inside them to track the cards. You will need to find a table where the cards are shuffled manually in order to use shuffle tracking.
Front loading is a technique used by blackjack players which involves trying to identify the dealer’s hole card when it is first pulled out of the deck, or when the dealer places it on the table. This is probably the best way to win money at blackjack without counting cards!
Knowing the dealer’s hole card obviously gives you a massive advantage and makes it obvious what to do with your own hand.
- Pros: Front loading can be very profitable as you already know what hand the dealer has, so you can adapt your own decision to hit or stand accordingly.
- Cons: You’ll have to be very sharp to spot the front-loaded card, and even seasoned professionals can’t see them all, so this does not work on every hand. When you miss the hole card, you have no advantage on that hand and must play normally using basic strategy to minimize losses.
Don Johnson Method
The Don Johnson method is a technique used by blackjack players which involves a combination of techniques that give an advantage when used together. Johnson famously won somewhere in the region of 15 million dollars using this technique in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
The method centered around a loss rebate, which means the casino will return a percentage of losses to the player over an agreed period of time. Johnson managed to negotiate 20%. Some of the best online blackjack sites still offer this type of bonus, but not usually to this extent.
Johnson would then quit after winning or losing a predetermined amount in each gaming session. This combined with his rebate ended up giving him a 0.26% edge over the house.
- Pros: The Don Johnson method does give a mathematical edge over the house, providing you use the same parameters he did.
- Cons: You need to be a very high roller in order to get the same terms used in this method, and be willing to walk away after the requisite level of wins or losses. Also, casinos are more likely to be wise to it now than they were in 2011, so you may find yourself getting stopped if they catch on to what you’re doing.
There are a number of different ways to win at blackjack without counting cards, each with its own set of pros and cons.
The techniques listed above are some of the most popular and well-known methods, and they can all work in theory.
But you can’t just expect to walk up to the table and use them to win straight away. Each method requires a lot of practice and discipline to get right. Otherwise, you’ll still end up losing.
Whichever technique you choose, always remember to gamble responsibly and have fun!
Last Updated on December 12, 2022