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How to Count Cards in Blackjack and Improve Your Odds

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As a casino gambling expert with 28 years of experience playing blackjack and other casino games, I have learned the ins and outs of card counting in blackjack.

How do I count cards in blackjack?

My name is Benjamin Ogden and I’m an an expert on online casinos that’s been reviewing casino sites for 23 years and playing real money blackjack games for 28 years.

This guide explains how to count cards in the casino game of blackjack.

Today, I want to share my knowledge with you by explaining how to count cards in blackjack in comprehensive detail.

This method can give players an .5% edge over the casino and improve your chances of winning.

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How to Count Cards
Guide on How to Count Cards in Blackjack

The Basics of Blackjack Card Counting

Before diving into the nitty-gritty of card counting in blackjack, it’s essential to understand its core concept. The basic idea of counting cards in blackjack is to track the ratio of high to low cards remaining in the deck or shoe. By doing so, you can make more informed decisions about when to hit, stand, or even change your bet size.

High-Low Card Counting System

The most commonly used blackjack card counting system is the High-Low system. It assigns a value to each card in the deck, as follows:

  • 2-6: +1
  • 7-9: 0
  • 10-Ace: -1

As the cards are dealt, you’ll keep a running count by adding or subtracting the assigned values. This running count will help you determine if the remaining deck is rich in high or low cards.

How to Implement Card Counting

Now that you understand the basics, let’s discuss the steps you need to follow to implement card counting effectively:

Step 1: Master Basic Strategy

Before you can count cards when you’re playing blackjack, it’s crucial to have a solid foundation in basic blackjack strategy. This means knowing when to hit, stand, double down, or split based on your hand and the dealer’s upcard. This knowledge is vital, as card counting alone won’t guarantee success.

Step 2: Practice Counting

Start by practicing with a single deck of cards. Flip through the deck while keeping a running count based on the High-Low system. When you reach the end, your count should equal zero. Increase your speed and accuracy before moving on to multiple decks.

Step 3: Calculate the True Count

In a multi-deck game, you’ll need to convert the running count to a true count by dividing the running count by the estimated number of decks remaining. This adjustment accounts for the larger number of cards in play.

Step 4: Adjust Your Bets and Decisions

When the true count is positive, the remaining deck is rich in high cards, which favors the player. Increase your bets and adjust your playing decisions based on the count. When the true count is negative, the opposite is true, and you should decrease your bets and revert to basic strategy.

Blackjack Card Counting Strategy

The Blackjack card counting strategy chart table can helps you keep track of the cards that have been played and adjust your bets accordingly. The most popular card counting system is the Hi-Lo system, which assigns a value of +1, 0, or -1 to each card.

Here’s a basic outline of the Hi-Lo card counting strategy:

Card Value2345678910JQKA
Count Value+1+1+1+1+1000-1-1-1-1-1

The running count is the sum of the count values for all cards that have been played. To determine the true count, divide the running count by the number of remaining decks in the shoe.

Here’s a basic betting strategy based on the true count:

True CountBet Unit
<= 01

Remember, card counting is not a guarantee for winning and may be frowned upon or even forbidden in some casinos. Be cautious when using card counting strategies and always play responsibly.

Card Counting FAQs

  1. Q: Is card counting illegal?
    A: No, card counting is not illegal. However, casinos may ask you to leave or ban you if they suspect you are counting cards.
  2. Q: Can I count cards in online blackjack?
    A: Generally, it is not possible to count cards in online blackjack due to the use of random number generators and frequent shuffling.
  3. Q: How long does it take to learn card counting?
    A: Learning card counting can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months, depending on your dedication and practice.
  4. Q: Do I need a photographic memory to count cards?
    A: No, you don’t need a photographic memory. Card counting requires focus, concentration, and practice.
  5. Q: How much of an edge does card counting provide?
    A: Card counting can provide an edge of up to 1-2%, depending on the specific game conditions and your skill level.
  1. Q: Can I still lose while counting cards?
    A: Yes, even with card counting, there is still an element of luck involved, and you can experience losing streaks. However, in the long run, card counting can give you a statistical advantage.
  2. Q: How do I avoid detection while counting cards?
    A: To avoid detection, vary your bet sizes gradually, act naturally, and don’t make it obvious that you’re keeping track of the cards.
  3. Q: Are there other card counting systems besides High-Low?
    A: Yes, there are several other card counting systems, such as the KO System, Hi-Opt I, and Hi-Opt II, each with varying levels of complexity and efficiency.
  4. Q: Can I count cards in other casino games besides blackjack?
    A: While card counting is most effective in blackjack, there are other games, like baccarat, where it might provide a minimal advantage. However, it’s not applicable to games like roulette or slots.
  5. Q: How do I practice card counting without risking real money?
    A: You can practice card counting by using online simulators, mobile apps, or simply using a deck of cards at home. Only venture into a casino when you feel confident in your skills.

Blackjack Card Counting Conclusion

Card counting in blackjack is an advanced skill that can give players an edge over the casino. By mastering basic strategy and diligently practicing the High-Low counting system, you can increase your chances of winning. Remember that card counting is not a foolproof method, and luck still plays a role in the game.

Practice and patience are key, and always play responsibly.

How to Count Cards Blackjack Video Tutorial

AI Illustration of Benjamin Ogden

Author: Benjamin Ogden

Benjamin is a world class blackjack player with 28 years experience playing at the highest levels. He has also been a leading online casino affiliate marketer since 2001, having reviewed hundreds of online casinos and helped thousands of gamblers sharing his in-depth experiences and knowledge of blackjack and casino gambling in general.