Blackjack Card Counting

One you have learned the fundamentals of how to play blackjack including learning basic strategy, this puts you ahead of 99% of all blackjack players, however, if you truely want to beat the casinos and make money from playing live or online blackjack then using just basic strategy is not enough as this only puts you at even with the casinos. The final stage is to learn and implement card counting if you want to win in the long run.

Don’t be intimidated. You don’t need to be rain man or a mathematical genius to become an accomplished card counter. As with anything you want to excel at, it just takes practice.

What is Blackjack Card Counting?

In simplistic terms it is a way of keeping track of the proportion of high cards compared to low cards. When more high cards remain in the shoe the player has the advantage and this is when the player should increase the bet size.

Level One Point Count Strategy – Assigning a Point Value

This involves assigning a point value to each card

  • 2,3,4,5,6 = +1
  • 7,8,9 = 0
  • 10,J,Q,K,A = -1
level one blackjack card counting image

Calculating a Running Count

When the count is high, this means more low cards have been dealt (low cards = +1) and therefore the shoe is rich in 10s and aces, meaning the player has the advantage.

For Example, if the following cards have been dealt: Ace, 4, 3, 6, 2, King, 5, 8, 3, the count is +4. This is known as keeping a running count. The running count is +4.

In contrast, if the count is low and the shoe is rich in small cards then the casino has the advantage.

Once a running count has been calculated by adding the point values together, the next step is to calculate The True Count.

The True Count

The True count provides a more concise picture of the advantage/disadvantage of the remaining cards in the deck.

Theres a big difference between having a running count of +28 with 5 decks of cards remaining than with only 2 decks of cards remaining. The reason for this is because with only 2 decks of cards remaining there is a larger concentration of high cards.

The True Count is calculated by dividing The Running Count by the number of decks remaining.

For example a running count of +28 with 4 decks remaining equals 7, where as a running count of +28 with 2 decks remaining equals 14. Running counts convert to different true counts depending on the number of decks remaining.

Free Practice Online Blackjack Games

If you have managed to read our guides on basic strategy and counting you are well on your way to becoming an accomplished blackjack player. The best thing to do is play free online blackjack to practice these skills. Once you feel confident join one of our recommended casinos and play for real money.