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How to Count Cards in Blackjack

Winnie Isiah | September 12, 2023 | Updated on: February 16th, 2024

Blackjack card counting is a method casino blackjack players use to increase their edge over the house.Blackjack Card Counting Although this method is not necessarily illegal, casinos would rather you don’t apply it. However, we will guide you on how to apply this method to your gaming advantage.

The Blackjack card counting method is used to help you decide what your next blackjack move will be based on the perceived game advantage. Read further to understand how card counting in blackjack works and how to apply it the next time you play blackjack.

The best thing is that you can also use this method when playing online blackjack games. Let’s look at some of the basic card-counting methods.

Blackjack Card Counting Methods

Blackjack card counting entails keeping count of the cards as they are played. This method is intended to help you know which cards are left on the shoe.

Counting blackjack cards helps players make better betting decisions and thus minimize losing to the house. Card counting can also be used in certain poker games.

Blackjack Card Counting

Hi-Lo Blackjack Card Counting Method

This is the most common and basic card-counting method. The basis of this method entails assigning a zero, positive and negative value to each card dealt. With each card dealt, you get to determine the percentage of the remaining cards. The cards value is assigned in this way:

  • Cards 2 to 6 have a value of +1
  • Cards 7 to 9 have 0 or negative value
  • Cards 10 to Ace have a -1 value

The idea for this blackjack card counting method is to bet higher when the total value of the cards is positive and bet lower when the card value is negative.

You simply add the total card value as the cards are dealt. Here is a practical example: If a 3, 8, 5, 6, a Jack, and an Ace are dealt, the value of these cards would be +2. The ideal decision to make in this situation would be to bet higher.

True Count Blackjack Card Counting Method

Card counting is easier when only a single deck of cards is played. This is the reason casino houses are now using more than one deck. However, this didn’t stop committed blackjack card counters from finding ways to beat the house. Card-counting punters came up with another card-counting strategy called the true count.

The true count carries the same methodology as the Hi-Lo card counting system. The idea remains the same; the game favours the player when more Aces and 10s values remain on the shoe.

The true count method, however, uses a slightly different approach. The cards value of the dealt cards is divided by the number of decks left on the shoe. For example, in a standard 6-deck blackjack game, you will divide whatever value the remaining decks deal.

With each true count, the house edge moves half a percentage toward the player. True count values and the house edge differs based on the blackjack game played.

How to Count Cards in Blackjack: Conclusion

Although a game of blackjack entails chances, using the blackjack card counting methods can give you a slight advantage. It is best to note that card counting is a skill that takes time to master. Players are thus advised to start small using single-deck blackjack games.

Memorizing the cards’ percentage values without making necessary moves will also make the game daunting. Players are thus advised not to put themselves under pressure for the mere sake of counting cards. This skill requires practice and time, but anyone can master it.

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