How To Count Cards In Blackjack

There are different ways to increase the chances in “21”. One of them is definitely card counting, which is unfortunately strictly forbidden in the casinos. Please mind, that using this advanced blackjack strategy you should be extremely careful! Don’t give any tells that you’re counting, otherwise you put yourself in danger of being kicked out from the casino painfully.
Playing blackjack online might be safer way to try this mighty technique. Using only the cheat sheet and strategies mentioned in this article decreases a house edge to just less than 0,5%, but applying also card counting, you can take an advantage of even up to 1% over a casino. It means, that playing blackjack might be profitable in long term!

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Blackjack card counting - how to use this strategy?

It’s not complicated, but to be successful, you have to know it by heart, simply better than the back of your hand. You also need a good memory and mathematic skills.
Before you start reading about the details, you should understand why this technique is successful. It happens, because the big cards (T, J, Q, K, A) are more favorable to the player to hit a blackjack, which is paid in ratio 3:2. Now tell me, if you knew that most of these cards are still to come in the deck – would you be eager to place bigger bet to win more?
Counting card in blackjack involves keeping track on every card coming from the dealer’s hand. In this system, each card has its own assigned value: 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 is worth +1 point, 7, 8 and 9 is no point (0), 10, J, Q, K and A are valued -1 point. The chart below reveals those ranges in the easiest way:

2 – 6 +1
7 – 9 0
10 – A -1

Blackjack card counting starts with 0 and changes dependably on the cards coming. Analogically to the rule mentioned above, simply add the right value assigned to the proper card. For instance, if the dealer’s revealed card is 4 and you have J and 8, make the following operation: 1-1+0= 0. In this case, the result is still 0. But let’s take another hand: dealer has 9 and you have Q and J, so according to the chart, the count goes like this: 0-1-1= -2.

Let’s make it more complicated. For example, your hand is 88 and you decide to split. To one of the eights you are dealt 2, 2 and 7 and to another eight join 4 and J. The dealer shows 7, 3 and A. Apart from the fact that you lose both of your hands, try to make calculations as fast as possible now.

I’m sure you didn’t have much problems with this operation, but just in case we’ll make it together now. So the first hand is 8, 2, 2, 7, what makes 0+1+1+0= 2. The second hand is 8, 4, J, what equals 0+1-1= 0, and the dealer’s hand, which is 7, 3, A, so 0+1-1= 0. Now we’re summing up all the hands together and the result is 2+0+0=2.

The more number is in actual count, the more chances you have to hit one of the high cards and the more you should bet. So, if the count is positive (and it’s more than +2), you can increase your bet with 1 unit. The more number in count, the more you can bet. For instance: your initial bet is 1 $ and the count changes from +2 to +3. You can increase your bet to 2 $.

Warning: never increase the bets much when you play live in a casino. The staff or a dealer might notice and your evening won’t bring the happy ending.

Counting in pairs is faster!

If your hand is consisted of one high and one low card, for example J and 4, you can automatically assign it 0 (-1+1= 0). It saves time and makes the calculations less complicated.

Don't forget about the true count

Most of the casinos use more than 1 deck, what makes things more complicated to the player. Usually they treat you with 5, 6 or even 8 decks (the shoe) to discourage people to counting cards, so it’s definitely right to apply some filter to check if your score is exact.
How to do it? Divide the running count by number of decks left in the game and you’ll get the actual count. Number of decks you have to evaluate by yourself, judging approximately (unless you’re an erudite with ability of counting card one by one).
For example your current count is +6 (which is great!) and there are approximately 2 decks left in the shoe. Divide 6 by 2 and your true count is now +3 (which is still favorable).

Important notice: at the end, the count always equals 0!
Try to practice in your free time, because it’s really difficult in the beginning. Start with a single deck and exercise in pair with your friend or partner. Even if you never use this technique playing blackjack in casino, you can still impress someone, playing just for fun! Or, if not, your math skills will improve emphatically.
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