Card Counting: Advanced Blackjack Strategy

Card Counting - Advanced Blackjack Strategy

Counting cards is known to be a logical extension of the basic Blackjack strategy. It does not require a photographic memory or a scientific degree in mathematics.

Simply, the ability to count well. Despite the fact that the first card counting systems have been developed and published in statistical journals in mathematics, counting cards, actually, is not so complicated as you probably think.

Edward O. Thorp is considered to be the father of the card counting art in blackjack. This professor of mathematics was the first to prove mathematically that players can win at the casino systematically applying the technique of counting cards while playing blackjack. In fact, the hardest thing here is not to drag the attention of the casino for being too lucky with big winnings. Seriously. So, let's deal with a card counting as an advanced Blackjack strategy.

Is Card Counting a Cheating?

This is the most basic question all people ask. With all respect, counting cards is not a cheating. Casinos have attempted to pass the laws that would define counting cards as a violation of the casino terms and fraud, but the courts have come to the conclusion that it's just a skillful use of the information available to the player which is quite reasonable. So, counting cards in Blackjack have the right to exist and is completely legal.

But not a word to the casino about that! Any casino, whether online casino or Las Vegas casino are privately owned. Their owners can throw the players out from their territory (like famous MIT card counting team members) for any reason, including for playing so well that the casino starts paying out. And if you find yourself exposed to the door and made to leave the casino by force, that is already can be regarded as a violation of the law, really. However, we will tell you how to avoid getting blacklisted by the casinos later, but first you must learn how to count.

Blackjack strategy

Blackjack Card Counting Technique

Card counting strategy is primarily based on probabilities, and all the cards from the deck or decks are registered in the game table. Is this strategy, however, there is a small flaw: a few hands after the dealer discards the unplayed cards, the next hand can be organized from the re-mixed deck. So, it's hard to trace the cards in the deck.

Before the dealer shuffles the cards, a good deal of them can be dropped out, if not three-quarters of all cards. This means that there could be the cards that carry an advantage to the player among the discarded ones and you can no longer coordinate your counting strategy that directly relies upon them. Card counting system considers the probability of delivery the cards worth 10 points only on the basis of the cards that are still in the deck.

The most common and simple system of card counting assigns a specific value to the cards in the deck:

  • All cards from twos to sixes have a value of +1.
  • All cards from aces to tens have a value of -1.
  • Sevens, eights and nines have a value of 0.


As soon as the player sees the played (and subsequently discarded) cards, he or she adds the value of the cards. A starting point of 0 means that the current account may take both negative and positive values. If the first distribution from the deck has a deuce (1), nine (0), King (1), Ace (-1), ten (-1) and jacks (1), the current account will be -3 (minus three).

The higher the current account is, the more low cards have been played, which means that a higher percentage that the higher value cards are still in the deck. Why is it so important for us?

Blackjack Strategy 2

Remember that the system is the basic strategy which is based on the assumption that the next card will be worth 10 points. If you know that the percentage of high cards in the deck is higher than usual, this hypothesis and therefore the whole strategy becomes more efficient.

Card Counting Impact on Basic Blackjack Strategy

So, how the way you count cards is changing the rules of basic strategy? In fact, it doesn't change them. The only thing that changes is the size of your bet.

A typical system player, ie one who uses the system of card counting makes the minimum rate when the game starts. When the current account reaches a certain level, for example 4 or more, the player increases the bet or plays more aggressively that leads to the doubling of the rate. The higher the score, the higher your bet should be. The card counter uses this information to benefit in Blackjack, gaining a victory or two at large stakes until the deck is hot. If the account falls below zero or the deck is shuffled, the card counter returns to the minimum rate.

The casinos are often trying to stop the card counters, and they, in turn, always try to hide their advantages which is the biggest challenge as it was said before.

Blackjack Psychology

In blackjack, as in any other games of skill, practical skills and experience can play an extremely important role. Despite the fact that there is no strategy games that promise you a steady big winning, Blackjack differs from conventional gaming in the fact that it is possible to win over and over again, but carefully. This demands the professional players to preserve composure and follow the well-defined strategy.

However, it is important to emphasize that a knowledge of card counting tactics is not always enough. In fact, a key factor for success in blackjack is the psychological aspect. Often, even the most experienced players do not pay much attention to their behavior in certain situations, though they should, because the emotional aspect in gambling is no less important than the level of training and knowledge.

Here are some scenarios that you may encounter, each of which requires a certain mental discipline, of course, if you want to be able to focus and win. Learn and remember your own behavior in each of the situations. Sharpen mental skills in the game, and you will be able to get rid of the bad habits that affect many players and interfere with real lump winnings:

  • Bad luck

Often you can observe the situation when a skilled player is completely lost if he or she has to play again and again ... Of course, it's the most common cause of the loss of any experienced player which becomes a normal temporary bad luck. He or she is worn out and cannot react on the situation with the sharp mind and blizzard actions. In this case there is really nothing you can do with that. Bad luck is an integral part of gambling. It is impossible to predict which card will come, so if a novice gains 14 points to 5 from the dealer, this is due to the good luck of the player, indeed.

  • Playing with fear

If people for some personal reasons have to win today by all means, it is a typical example of a player's suicide. Do not expect any sound decision for a long time from such a busy player. To achieve success in blackjack, you require clarity of thought, and if the head is occupied with something else, out of control, it is better to stop the game and get out from the table.

Another common phobia is the fear of bankruptcy. Even if a player is a novice and theoretically knows what the right decision and the winning that depend on the correct tactics are in his control, he will be cautious and play on the spot, often losing beneficial combinations. In this case it is necessary to believe in a mathematically correct system, which was developed and successfully tested by thousands of players long before you, and then all the fears will evaporate.

  • Arrogance

This often happens to the experienced players, whose confidence in the thorough knowledge of all the subtleties of the game leads to their own negligence. However, none of blackjack strategies will help if the player starts with bad luck. Anyone familiar with gambling knows that the bad luck is inevitable and to fight it almost impossible. While fighting, it drags you into its swamp even more. Often you can see how a feeling of superiority prevails over rationality, which leads to the errors that cost the player much.

  • Rage / Frustration

Experienced players can have a nervous breakdown after the bad luck, and this feeling is aggravated often when seated next to the winning "greenhorn newcomers" who even cannot make head or tail of how to play. Sure, fools have fortune. This can happen even if their tactics is correct. It is important to realize that the newcomers are often lucky, and not allow it to affect your own game.

  • Superstitions

In addition, it is always necessary to resist gambling superstitions. Many players in the Blackjack double after losing a bet, being confident that sooner or later they will re-gain. Remember - even after losing the hand, the next time you have the same winning odds as those of losing. Play reasonably and do not become the victims of prejudice!

Blackjack Card Counting Confusions

Everybody now found out about card counting in blackjack. Indeed, even the individuals who have never played blackjack and have never been to a gambling club, herd about it. This is mostly due to the endeavors of Hollywood chiefs and scholars who made famous motion pictures on this subject, articles on the Internet and other different distributions. No wonder, card counters are always considered to be outstanding people and very popular players and regular guests of gambling clubs with unbelievable skills.

Here are the most well-known misleading judgments about the card counting technique, so that the newcomers unfamiliar with the card counting tactics, get the right thought of it. Here we go:

  1. Only a man with a photographic memory can card count

Bullshit. Numerous individuals think the way the character of Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man did. New to card counting individuals believe that they can remember all the cards from the shoe all and keep in mind those that are out and which are still in play. Yet, truth be told, there's no special need for that. Every card in the deck with a predetermined worth is appointed as negative, zero or positive, which is added to the average bill when this card is dropped. The player additionally differs the rates and settles on the choices taking into account these data. Thus, it is sufficient to rapidly count and not to lose the focus amid the amusement.

  1. Only splendid mathematicians can count the cards

This thought came to the numerous people who watched Twenty-one. Truly, most card counting frameworks can be utilized by anybody with a normal level of IQ. In spite of the fact that we won't deny that there are methods that require extraordinary skills.

  1. Learning card counting takes months and even years

The most basic and oldest card counting strategy is entirely mind boggling and requires long practice. Now, however, more straightforward systems have been produced that are really great for the individuals who visit gambling clubs now and then and play a lot. Bear in mind that card counting without a knowledge of the rules and the basic strategy and the general information of payouts in blackjack are unlikely to help you anyway.

  1. Checking cards is unlawful

The authorities of the casinos are extensively cultivating that card counting is illegal. However, the laws of many countries where gambling is permitted once and for all defined that card counting is nothing more but a skill that is used by the gamers to win and thus is legal. Period. Obviously, checking cards is not culpable on the off chance that it uses extra equipment. It's the brain that is used by the person to win. No one can accuse you of thinking, right? The players do card check with their brains and nobody can preclude that.

On the other hand, it doesn't imply that you won't be requested to leave the clubhouse in the case you are noticed to card count or suspected to do so even if you don't. Regardless of the possibility that you just routinely win, in light of the fact that the gambling club, when in doubt, don't care for fruitful guests, you may end on the street. So, don't you don't tell anyone about your abilities and play modestly at the table.

  • You cannot count when the game's played with eight decks

That is not true. You can check cards while playing with any number of the decks. It's harder to do if the dealer rearranges a great part of the cards while shuffling, taking them out of the game, or intermittently taking away "visually impaired" cards. Even in this situation counting cards is possible.

  • Card counters always win

Bullshit. Everyone makes mistakes. To err is human and all that card counters can do is to decrease the casino advantage to the minimum in the game. Gambling clubs oversee the attempt to kill their profits in the game and make it their own. At the end of the day, when playing blackjack, they win more than they lose, and stay in, anyway. On the other hand, in any gambling session it's impossible to stay in for the gambler being unnoticed.

  • Card counting requires a considerable cash stock

In the case that your bankroll is not very large, you simply need to pick a table with the smallest rates. It is important to make it through conceivable times of disappointments. So, it is not all that imperative to stock up large sums, to pick the appropriate table of wagers.

  • You can count cards at online casinos

The reason for the card counting is to decide the proportion of higher and smaller cards staying in the game. The closer to the end of the deck, the more clear thought regarding your winnings you get. Online gambling casinos with the card games (one deck or multideck) are rearranged after each wagering round, so each of them is comparable to the initial one. That is the reason why card counting is impossible in online gambling.

BlackJack Glossary

It's high time to familiarize with the terms widely used in Black Jack. Do not be afraid, it is not difficult. Here are the terms which often occur in the game of Blackjack:

  • Shoe: a mechanical device for holding several decks (8) in a multi deck blackjack. When playing, the dealer takes one card from the top of the device.
  • Cut card: a single-colored plastic card that is inserted in the game deck, indicating the place where it will be taken from the deck, and then all the cards are mixed up back, and draws the new shoes.
  • Hard Hand: A hand that does not have an ace, or it counts 1 point.
  • Soft Hand: A hand in which an ace counts 11 points.
  • Hit: means to take another card.
  • Stand: Reject the next card, and let the dealer move.
  • Bust: A losing hand, when the sum of its points has exceeded 21.
  • Double Down: Doubling the original bet, the player receives only one card. Doubling is possible only on the first 2 cards of the player.
  • Split: Splitting of the first two cards into the two separate hands. The player can split only on the first two cards.
  • Draw: The points of the player and the dealers are even.
  • Pair: The first two cards of the same value (eg a pair of sevens — 7.7, etc.) dealt to the player.
  • Flat Bet: The style of the blackjack game in which a player does not change the bet. For example, if you are playing for $ 10, so you bet just $ 10 per game. This is a common strategy for wagering in online casinos.
  • Shuffle: The process of mixing the cards. Normally, the casino game is played as long as about 2/3 cards come out of the shoe, and then all the cards are shuffled again. In the online casinos, on the other hand, the cards are shuffled after each delivery.
  • House Percentage: The advantages of the casino that it has over the player. Expected rate for each player if he plays in the standard One Deck Blackjack is about minus 0.5%. Blackjack is almost 5 times more advantageous for the player than playing roulette!
  • Counter: The player that counts cards in blackjack to obtain advantages over the casino.
  • High Roller: Player of the highest stakes.


Figuring out how to count the cards can make you a decent blackjack player. If you do not neglect mastering the fundamental technique, card counting will be an extra plus for your general strategy.

There are several types of card counting, however, you can experiment with the one that we provide, especially if you are new in this business. Remember to use the base system that we advise. According to the base system, the cards are attributed a value of -1, +1 or 0 for the convenience of calculation. More advanced systems use the account value of 2, 2, 1, 1 and 0, which creates difficulties not only in the calculation, but also in remembering how the cards are assigned to a particular value, as well as tracing which are dropped out from the game and which of them remain.

Anyway, card accounting significantly reduces the house edge, and if you want to become a successful blackjack player, you need to learn it well. Live and learn with us!

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