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Counting Cards in Blackjack

By Edited Jul 17, 2015 0 0

A Simple Blackjack Card Counting Technique that can put the Odds in Your Favor

The odds are in favor of the house in every table game offered in a casino.  When playing blackjack, if every single play by the player is made according to the odds, the house is at a slight advantage of anywhere from 1-2%.  This is by far the closest you are ever going to get to the casino by playing the game as it is layed out, in terms of odds.  Put a simple card counting strategy in the mix with altering bets according to the current count and the player can gain a slight advantage of 1-2% over the casino. 

A couple of caveats:

  • A simple card counting strategy will only be effective in single deck or double deck game.  4, 6, 8 deck shoes which are shuffled half way through will not provide enough statistical variance in the odds to be effective.
  • The odds play themselves out over thousands and thousands  of hands.  The actual results can vary greatly from session to session.
  • The slight statistical advantage you gain only exists with mistake free play and mistake free betting.  Even a few mistakes in a session can wipe out any edge you have.

Many card counting books and videos tout strategies that they say will allow the player to be a professional blackjack player.  This is not realistic.  As stated above, the slight statistical advantage plays itself out over a long period of time and only with perfect play.  The intent of this article is to provide a strategy that will provide the player the best chance against the casino while playing blackjack.  Perhaps you'll be able to play longer and win more often but you are not going to be able to make a living playing blackjack or make millions of dollars.  Learn the simple strategy and give it try with some small sample betting. 

Blackjack Simple Card Counting High/Low Strategy 

The method of counting is simple.  All cards are assigned a value of -1, 0 or +1.

  • Aces, 10's and face cards are given a value of +1
  • 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6's are given a value of -1
  • All other cards are neutral 0

Keep a running count of the cards from the first hand of each new deal and obviously start back at zero after the cards are shuffled.  It will probably be difficult to keep track at first because you will be counting in your head  and the action can be fast.  You will need to count the cards in your hand, the cards of players as they bust and the other hands when they are turned over at the end of each hand.  It may seem like a daunting task at first but you will be surprised how quickly you will be able to successfully do it.

Bets are made in units:

  • When the count is +2 or more,  three units will be bet
  • When the count is +1, 0 or -1, two units will be bet
  • When the count is -2 or less, one unit will be bet

You will need to determine the dollar amount each unit will represent.   The count will statistically hold more validity the further along in the deck(s) the dealer is.  A seasoned card counter may increase his/her bet above three units towards the end of the deck with a +2 or more count, especially if there are still several aces still in the deck.  In addition, other strategies can be altered based on the count. For example, if the count is -6, it might not be the best time to double down when the opportunity arises. 

As you can see, the high/low counting strategy is relatively simple and straightforward. Practice it at home for awhile and give it try the next time you play at a casino.  Make sure you remember the information stated in the middle of this article.  Card counting at blackjack is not going to make you rich or allow you to quit your 9-5 job.  When implemented correctly it can give you a slight advantage over the casino and it is an advantage that plays itself out over a long, long period of time.  Use the strategy as a challenge and have some fun with it.  Good Luck!

 

 

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