The Best Blackjack Card Counting Guide to Win

Card counting in blackjack is one of the surest ways of winning. Learn everything about this strategy and how to execute it in thus guide.

Card counting in blackjack is a mathematical system players use to gain an advantage over the house while playing. Actually, it emerged in the 1950s thanks to a renowned mathematics professor, Edward Thorp. While playing in Las Vegas, Thorp realized it was possible to beat the game and came up with this strategy. 

Over the years, card counting has become quite popular with Filipino players due to its high success rate. Of course, mastering it requires time, effort, and dedication. So in this guide, you’ll discover the basics of counting cards, various techniques, and some tips to improve your skill. 

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Counting Cards Successfully

Actually, counting cards in blackjack is very straightforward. Here are all the steps:

  • Assign value to each card; 
  • Run a count of the card values;
  • Determine the true count; 
  • Decrease/increase your bet amount depending on the true count.

Step 1 – Assign Value

Basically, each card in blackjack has an assigned value that can be +1, 0, or -1. So, depending on what the cards are, you should assign each numerical value. For instance, if using the Hi-Lo card counting system, blackjack cards are worth the following values: 

  • 10, J, K, Q, and A are assigned -1;
  • 7,8, and 9 are worth 0 ;
  • Assign +1 to cards 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6.

Step 2 – Run the Count

As each card is dealt on the table, update the total value of the cards with either +1 or -1. For instance, let’s say there are three players on the table with cards 3 and 7, Jack and 10, and 2 and Ace. The dealer’s up card is 6. Then the count for this hand will be (+1), (-1,-1), and (+1-1) versus the dealer’s +1. Therefore, the running count will be +1-2+0+1=0.

Step 3 – The True Count 

To know the true count, which takes into account the undealt cards, you must keep a running count first. After that, divide the running count by the decks remaining. So, for instance, if the running count above was +6 and 3 decks remain, your true count is +2. The higher this number is, the better your winning chances, and you should hit. 

Step 4 – Adjust Your Bet 

Using a good strategy when counting cards is crucial. By tracking the running and true counts, you can know the best time to decrease or increase your bet. For instance, you should increase your bet limit if the true count is in your favor (i.e. is high). If the odds don’t favor you (i.e. the true count is low), reduce your bet amount.

Card Counting Strategy

How to Successfully Implement Card Counting

Besides learning how to count cards, it’s crucial to implement the strategy successfully. There are a few things you can do to get the most out of your gaming experience:

Understand the Basic Rules First

You can only successfully count cards if you know the basic rules of blackjack. Knowing when to hit, stand, split hands, or take insurance is crucial to making the most out of card counting.

Practice 

Practice makes perfect. So play as many hands as possible to perfect your card-counting strategy. But to reduce risk and stretch your budget, stake the table minimum. If possible, play at the live blackjack table with the lowest table limit. 

Pick the Right Game

Not all blackjack games are created equal. To successfully implement a card counting strategy, ensure you play classic blackjack games. These have simple and straightforward rules, which are easy to implement during gameplay. 

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Card Counting Techniques

Techniques in card counting mostly come into play when determining the true count. Some systems are sophisticated, while others are simplistic and easy to master. For example, here are some simple and easy-to-execute card counting systems you can use:

Hi-Lo System

This is one of the most straightforward card counting systems that is easy even for newbies to use as it relies on the true count. It is based on Edward Thorp’s Ten-Count System, where high cards (King, Queen, Jack, and Ace) are marked -1. Cards 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 are low cards and are marked +1. All the other cards are worth zero. Of course, the higher the count, the more likely you are to win if you hit.

Ace/Five System

The ace/five card counting system requires you to reach the blackjack table and start with a mental count of 0. For every 5 cards dealt, add 1 to the count. If an Ace is dealt, subtract 1 from the count. This way, once the count has reached 2, the player should automatically double their bet. This should continue each time the running count increases. When the count comes down to 1 and below, revert to the minimum table limit. 

Pros and Cons of Card Counting

Like any other strategy for casino games, card counting has its pros and cons. For instance:

Pros

  • Reduces the house edge to about 0.5%;
  • Easy to implement;
  • You can significantly lower the house edge and increase your winning chances when you properly execute the card count.

Cons

  • Near impossible to use when playing online RNG games; 
  • No guarantee to win;
  • Requires a lot of time and practice to perfect. 

Conclusion

Card counting is one of the surest blackjack strategies to reduce the house edge to a low of 0.5%. However, while players in the Philippines can effectively use this strategy at land-based casinos, using it online can be an uphill task. First, cards in RNG-based blackjack games are randomly shuffled with the software, making it impossible to count. When it comes to live dealer games, online casinos use multiple decks of cards, making it difficult to establish a count. It doesn’t mean, however, that you cannot count cards online. Once you’ve perfected the art of card counting, you can easily execute it with the live dealer blackjack games. But first, you’ll need a reliable gaming platform, so check out our casino reviews.

FAQ

No, it's not illegal to count cards, whether online or at actual casinos. However, it is near impossible to count cards online as the cards are randomly shuffled with RNG software. At land-based casinos, counting cards is frowned upon as it reduces the house’s advantage. 

Yes, it is possible to count cards when multiple decks are used. However, you must have the necessary skills to flawlessly execute the count.

Yes, new blackjack players can count cards, but it will take a lot of practice to master the skill. To effectively count cards, you must memorize the point values assigned to every card.

One of the reasons why this is a frowned upon betting strategy at the casinos is because of its success rate. However, there’s never a guarantee as errors may occur.

Casinos in the Philippines use multiple decks, have automatic shufflers, and shuffle decks more frequently as ways of preventing card counting.

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