The Basics of Card Counting in Blackjack

Card counting is one of the card game strategies used by the players to determine whether the next hand dealt will be in favor of the dealer or the player.  For a layman, card counting might seem like cheating but it is not.  The players who indulge in this practice are classified as “Advantage Players”.  This system is not related with cheating which is totally illegal but is a sort of advantage play to exploit the weaknesses of games like blackjack.

Did you know that there was a group of people that managed to beat the casinos with that system? Read about the MIT blackjack team

The basics of card counting in blackjack involve decreasing the house edge by calculating and keeping the running tally of cards dealt by the dealer.  This system helps the players to maximize their bets without increasing the related risk.  It also helps in minimizing the losses during a negative variance.

In this article we will go through some of the basics associated with card counting used by professional blackjack players throughout the world.  You can use this system along with blackjack tips which can help you to increase your chances to win more and lose less.

Card Counting Made Simple

There is a common misconception that card counting depends upon the memory of a person and involves complicated arithmetical calculation.  In reality it only involves a fair concentration to watch how many cards are left in the deck.  In Blackjack there are some cards which are quite favorable to the player.  These cards include Aces, 10s, Jacks, Queens and Kings.  So it is much easier to watch for these cards rather than wasting time on smaller cards. While opting for any of the card counting methods always keep in mind that

  • High concentration of Aces and 10s are beneficial for the player to hit a blackjack.
  • Low cards help the dealer.
  • Higher concentration of 10s and Aces helps the player to win by opting for a “Doubling”.

Basic Card Counting

The basic card counting for the game of blackjack involves assigning a positive, negative or zero value to each card in the deck.  Whenever a card is dealt the count is adjusted as per the value of the card.  The low ranking cards tend to increase the percentage of higher cards in the deck while the higher ranking cards do the opposite.  The steps involved in this system include

  • Assigning value to each card.
  • Keeping the running count by taking into consideration the value of dealt cards.
  • Using the information to calculate the count of higher value card in the deck.
  • Changing your betting in accordance with the rise of “True Count”.

Values of Cards for Card Counting

The most common values given for the cards for the purpose of basic card counting are

  • 2 to 6= +1
  • 7 to 9 = 0
  • 10 to Ace= -1

A card counter uses these values for every card that is dealt by the dealer.  This system is very advantageous for those games which are played with a single deck.  The information generated during the process can help a player to plan his bets.  If the running counts remain in positive and increase, the player is in advantageous position.  On the other hand if the count starts to venture into the negative territory then it is time to get out of the game.