How to Count Cards in Blackjack
Table Of Contents
Blackjack is one of the most popular Casino games in the world. The reason why it is many players' favourite is the fact that it has the best RTP and the highest payouts of all Casino games.
However, what if we told you that you could increase the RTP even more if you use a special technique called 'card counting'?
You must have already heard about it if you have some experience with Blackjack. But you have probably always thought that counting cards in Blackjack is only for geniuses who know their way around numbers.
You don't need to be Sheldon Cooper from the Big Bang Theory to count cards in Blackjack.
Counting cards in Blackjack has nothing to do with memorising numbers or utilising complex formulas.
The technique is based on a simple set of principles you should follow closely to get the best results.
Discover how to count cards in Blackjack and get more chances to win when you engage a dealer in a game of 21.
What Is Card Counting?
Card counting is a technique in Blackjack that allows players to know when the advantage in the game shifts in their favour.
When that happens, they will increase their bets and win more than the house. When the advantage shifts in the dealer's favour, they will decrease their bets and lay low.
By following a set of rules and adjusting their bets accordingly, the players (i.e. you) can win more over a longer period of time than when solely relying on luck and basic gameplay.
The idea of card counting is based on a scientifically proven principle that high-value cards are more beneficial for the player, whereas low-value cards are more beneficial for the dealer.
We'll teach you how to make this rule work in your favour.
How Does Card Counting Work?
Before talking more about card counting techniques, it's important to note that in Blackjack the cards are not shuffled after every round.
Instead, they are counted when the number of cards in a deck/decks decreases sufficiently.
After a deck is shuffled, there is an equal number of low and high cards in the deck.
As the game proceeds, the ratio of low and high cards changes. As we have already mentioned, high cards are beneficial for the player and low cards are beneficial for the dealer.
The dealer benefits from low cards because they are obligated to hit hands 12 to 16. If there are more low cards in the deck, there is a higher chance that the dealer will not bust when they hit.
To know when the deck is more saturated with high or low cards, the players assign values to the cards and then add them together.
- Cards 2-6 have a value of +1
- Cards 10-A have a value of -1
- Cards 7-9 have a value of 0 (because they benefit neither the dealer nor the players)
Card counters must pay attention to every card that enters the table and calculate the total sum of the cards.
If the sum of all cards is positive at the end of the round, the player will bet more in the next round. However, if the sum is negative, they will bet less.
The more cards have been played and the higher the positive count, the more money the player should bet in the next round. It's as simple as that!
Is Card Counting Legal?
Card counting seems illegal because you are basically trying to outsmart the Casino.
However, that's exactly what you're trying to do and nothing more. Therefore, no matter what anyone tells you (including Casinos), card counting is completely legal.
But (there's always a but), Casinos have the right to refuse to provide services to whomever they wish, whenever they wish, for whatever reason they deem valid.
Therefore, if Casino officials notice that you have decreased their edge by counting cards, they might refuse to allow you to play in their Casino the next time you come.
More often than not, you will be prohibited to play Blackjack while other games will still be available to you.
However, catching a card counter is not that easy, so it does not happen often. Therefore, you can start learning card counting techniques and not worry about getting caught
Pros and Cons of Card Counting
All that glitters is not gold is a popular proverb we should take into account when talking about the pros and cons of card counting.
Like many other things in life, card counting in Blackjack has both advantages and disadvantages. Let's start with the disadvantages first.
As we have mentioned above, even though card counting is not illegal and you cannot be prosecuted or sent to jail for it, it is still regarded as cheating.
Casinos monitor every table and every player at each table, which increases the player's stress levels when playing. Card counting will increase your chances of winning but it will also decrease the fun factor.
On the other hand, the main advantage of card counting is winning. Who does not like to win often? Blackjack has the highest RTP in Casinos, but the Casino's house edge can never be low enough, in our opinion.
If you do card counting right, you will definitely increase your bankroll.
Advanced Card Counting Techniques
The card counting technique we explained above is called the Hi-Lo technique. However, there are other, more advanced techniques, you should also practice once you have mastered the basic ones.
Omega 2 Blackjack card counting is also based on assigning cards a certain value, but the values are different:
- 2, 3 and 7 are counted as 1
- 4, 5 or 6 are counted as 2
- 9 is counted as -1
- 10 and all picture cards are -2
- 8 and Ace are valued 0
Contrary to the Hi-Lo method, a positive count means more low-value cards in the deck and a negative count means more high-value cards.
Wong Halves is a balanced system invented by Stanford Wong. It is an advanced technique that uses full and half values:
- 3, 4 and 6 are counted as 1
- 2 and 7 are counted as 0.5
- 5 is counted as 1.5
- 8 is counted as 0
- 9 is counted as -0.5
- 10, Ace, and picture cards are counted as -1
To simplify this method, double the value of each card and avoid having to deal with decimal numbers.