How To Count Cards Like A Pro - The Game

How To Count Cards

Want to take your blackjack game to the next level? Stack the odds in your favor? Then you need to learn how to count cards. Like all great things, it is easy to learn and hard to master. But we've got you covered with our free training software which will show you how easy it is to learn counting cards.

To do blackjack card counting properly you will need to keep a running tally based on the face value of any cards revealed. Cards are assigned a value (+1, 0, or -1) based on their value allowing you to get a feel for what cards remain in the deck.

So how does this add up to an advantage over the casino? If you are playing blackjack perfectly, then the house edge is around 0.5%. If you play perfectly AND master card counting then YOU actually have a 1% advantage over the casino. That is huge. So get learning!

Why Learn How To Count Cards In Blackjack?

Why Lean Card Counting In Blackjack?

You can strike casino gold with one simple and strategic game. Yeah. You read that right. Blackjack can help you win big. Really big.

Blackjack has been a casino game phenomenon worldwide because, apart from being ridiculously easy to pick up and absolutely fun to play, you also get a great chance at pocketing whatever you've actually won. Plus, here's where it gets even better: you can flip the odds in your favor! How? Let us introduce you to the wonderful world of card counting.

Card counting is an extremely simple and straight forward, yet super powerful exercise that gives you an edge. Wouldn't it be great if you had the exclusive formula to bag a huge chunk of change? Here at Casino.org, we'll provide you with everything you need to know to acquire the perfect set of skills for card counting. So get ready to win big, starting right now.

Guide To Blackjack Card Counting

Counting Cards Guide

For starters, we'll assume you know the ins and outs of the basics in blackjack and its strategies. Generally, when considering card counting strategies, we employ the popular and simple Hi-Lo strategy. In this strategy, high cards (such as the face cards and aces) are assigned a specific value of -1 and the low cards are assigned a +1 value. When you add them up, the total is considered the “running count”. That's all there is to it. Remember the mantra, “keep it simple, silly”? Well, it applies here best. When you keep it simple, your brain does not go into over drive.

If you're trying to figure out why counting cards in blackjack works, it’s really very easy to understand. It pays off because the high cards provide a better chance for the player to hit blackjack, meaning a payout of 3:2. Similarly, there's a higher chance of the dealer going “bust”, thanks to the high cards. Low cards, unfortunately, can poison your chances at winning and act in favor of the dealer.

But the question is, how does the counting work? Given that the ratio of a deck's high cards to its low cards is higher than regular circumstances, meaning quite a number of high cards are still present in the deck, you can place bigger bets to up the amount that you'd win since the deck is in your favor. You should keep a number (running count) in your head to get an idea of when to and how much to bet. In some cases, you might not want to bet at all.

You'll find that there are quite a few other variations of this particular technique. For example, the “KISS” or “Keep It Short and Simple” technique. This involves a range of strategies which are unbalanced, and you learn to work your way up. There's also the Red Seven strategy, where values of cards change. So, Red 7s (cards 2 – Red 7) are worth +1, face cards and 10 are worth -1, while black 7s (cards 8, 9 and black 7) are worth 0.

Advances in Strategy

Strategy for Card Counting

Obviously, once you've mastered the talents of basic card counting and are probably past counting off cards on your digits, you should move up the ladder.

Omega II

You could wet your feet starting with the Omega II system developed by the brilliant Bryce Carlson. The Omega II technique is a “balanced” system, where we have 0 as base. A positive count reflects that more low cards are present in the deck being dealt while a negative count means a large number of high cards. Plus, the count is also a bit sophisticated than the classic +1, 0 and -1 values.

If you have a card numbering 2, 3 or 7 you will assign it 1. For 4, 5 and 6 the value is 2. The card 9 is considered -1. Face cards and 10s are -2, while 8 and Ace cards become 0 in value. You might find the counting slightly difficult in Omega II, however, it will definitely be worth your while once you get a hold of it. In a couple of days, the only thing you'd be fretting about is hitting, splitting, standing or doubling down.

Wong Halves

The name for this strategy comes from its wonderfully skilled creator Stanford Wong. It is considered quite the difficult strategy on account of its assigned values. Some of the cards in Wong Halves are assigned values in fractions instead of whole numbers. Which means, cards 3, 4 and 6 are valued as 1. Cards 2 and 7 are valued at ½. The card 5 is worth 1 ½ in value. Card 8 is 0 while 9 is –½ . The 10, face cards and the Ace are assigned -1.

The Wong Halves technique is also a “balanced” system, which means that when a deck is dealt completely, your count should be 0. For some players, there is a way to ease out the strategy. You can double all the values to avoid the presence of fractions! Ta-dah! You're all equipped to get winning.

Famous Card Counters

Card counting has been around since ages! This also means that there are definitely some very successful individuals who have made fortunes off of these techniques and some who have come up with some mind-blowing strategies of their own, such as Mr. Stanford Wong and Bryce Carlson. Here's a look into some of the other legends.

MIT Team

The MIT Team - This team is absolutely famous in blackjack history. A group of students and some alumni of MIT, Harvard and other prestigious schools banded together under this name. This group was managed and lead by Bill Kaplan, an MBA graduate from Harvard. The team went on to enjoy amassing a large fortune from the 1980s up to the beginning of the 1990s. Apart from counting cards, this group practiced and carried out other strategies too. In fact, upon their fame, a book and movie were launched

Edward Thorp

Edward Thorp - Often considered the “Godfather” of card counting, Thorp was among the first to prove mathematically that blackjack could be beaten through the simple task of counting cards. Edward is also thought of as a genius in probability theory's application. His card counting had been devised through means of budding technology in computers. Mr. Thorp has also authored the book “Beat the Dealer”, where his methods have been provided clearly for a wide audience.

Ken Uston

Ken Uston - You might have caught Ken Uston on television giving away his exploits as a gambler. He is one of the most famous card counters. He helped make popular the idea of counting cards in teams. Thanks to his absolute gifts, he was also one of the reasons why casino operators introduced measures such as a large number of decks dealt in one game and the increase in the frequency of shuffling by the dealers.

Honorable Mentions

Honorable Mentions - The above listed names are but only a few of the large number of men with casino exploits under their belt. Here are other players whose skills are also worth mentioning, such as Keith Taft, James Grosjean, Peter Griffin, Lawrence Revere and Dave Stann. Did you also know that celebrities such as Ben Affleck have been known to get around to counting cards when out for a fun night of gambling?

A Word of Advice

At Casino.org, we want to let you know all the details on gambling, therefore, here's something we need to discuss. Although the legal situation for Blackjack card counting is still undetermined, it is definitely not a practice welcomed with open arms when at a physical casino. Although a casino and its operator cannot prosecute a card counting player, they can definitely make a situation and matters very unpleasant for someone caught counting cards.

Since casino operators are well aware of the practice of cards being counted, they take quite a few measures to keep you from doing so. You will find cameras for surveillance whenever you look up. Dealers are often switched when a table is considered “hot” by a pit boss. Sometimes, the pit boss will get the dealer to force a shuffle once the hand being dealt is over.

Remember, learning how to count cards in Blackjack can be and is a lucrative strategy that works in your favor. But it is important to be responsible and to respect the rules of the house when you decide to walk into a casino.

F.A.Q

How does card counting work?

Simply put, Blackjack card counting aims to lower the edge of the house in the player's favor. A simple set of rules that are part of a mathematical strategy help you tip the odds. When you count the cards, your goal is simply to deconstruct what the deck is composed of; meaning the cards remaining in the deck and the cards that have already been dealt. Once you are aware of the situation at hand, you get a basic idea of when it is good for you to bet low or bet high.

Can it be used to make money?

Absolutely! You can definitely make money by counting cards in Blackjack, since you're tipping the odds in your favor. Truth is, depending on the number of hands per hour you play, you have the potential to up your winnings.

Is it worth it?

If you're thinking of giving up your day job to become a professional card counter at a blackjack table, don't do it. However, learning how to count cards is definitely a fun and extremely lucrative hobby to cultivate. You may need some time to learn the skills of counting cards. However, once you are well versed, eventually you will step out as a winner, every single time.

Does it work online?

True. It is possible to count cards when you are playing at a Blackjack online casino with real money. Plus, there is not “physical” casino staff that can deter you from doing so. Nevertheless, when online, most casinos have software that is designed to shuffle cards almost every time when dealing out a hand. Therefore, it is a difficult skill to latch onto, but not impossible.

Is counting cards illegal?

As previously discussed, the legal situation around card counting is currently very murky. While it isn't considered completely “illegal”, physical casinos are entitled to right of service. They can certainly choose to deny any service to those they consider offenders. Still, you should recognize the fact that counting cards is NOT cheating.

Why is it frowned upon?

At the end of the day, casinos are actual businesses run by people. All businesses operate to make a profit. Most importantly, every business has the right to deny anyone service. Thanks to counting cards and such techniques, one can lay bare the essence of blackjack and mint some good money. If a player is making too much money and they're going into loss, it’s really not viable for a “business owner”. Which is why casino operators do not have the highest regards for card counters.

Is it difficult?

Card counting is a skill. If you begin to learn any skill with sincerity, it will become your ultimate weapon. It can be difficult, as a beginner. But, the great news is, it doesn't require you to be a genius at mathematics. Break it down into steps and unleash the power within you!

How can I practice?

Simple! Just pick out any of recommended list of blackjack casino websites here at Casino.org. Log in and play without any real money. Go ahead, start now.

Can it work with multiple decks?

Depending on your skills and your card counting strategy, you can count when multiple decks are involved. It can be daunting for a beginner. Regardless, it doesn't hurt to try.

What system is the best?

There really is no best or worst system when it comes to Blackjack card counting. It all depends upon a player's level of comfort. If you feel at ease playing Hi-Lo, then stick to it. If you choose another method, it is completely up to you.

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