Card Counting – How to Do It in 4 Simple Steps

Contrary to what most people believe, card counting, which originated from Ed Thorp, is legal in the casino. It gives the player a leverage over the dealer. Card counting may never achieve an edge as high as these roulette systems that work, but it is still a viable option for professional gambling in many modern casinos.

card counting

Anyone can learn how to count cards. You don’t need to be very intellectual or be good in memorizing. With lots of practice, a player can master the art of card counting and use it stealthily during the game.

Card counting alone, however, does not guarantee your win over the casino. You have to master also the basic strategy in blackjack. You have to know when to stand, when to hit, and when to do nothing.

Here are the 4 simple steps on how to learn card counting:
Learn the values of each card.

The blackjack uses the Hi/Lo counting system where cards are grouped into three:

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

Master the Running Count

The running count is followed for each deck and for each round until the cards are reshuffled.
To do a running count, simply add the values of the card being dealt.

In this example, card 6 has a value of +1. On the set of 2 and Ace, card 2 = +1 and Ace= -1, so if you add these values (1+-1), you will get 0. The cards 10 and Jack have values of -1 each so their total value is -2. And, card 7=0 while card 2=1 so the total value is 1 (0+1).

To get the running count, add the values of each set.
1+0+ (-2) +1 = 0

Thus, the running count here is 0.

Following the same process as the first example, the running count here +1.

Master this process. You should be able to do it in just couple of seconds. When you can calculate the running counts of several cards simultaneously, you are ready to learn the next step.

Learn How to Compute a True Count

The “True Count” is used for multiple decks or shoes. Most casinos stopped using single decks and leveled up to multiple decks when they discovered how card counting works. Since the running count is not applicable for multiple decks, we have to convert it to its True Count value. The number of remaining decks greatly affects the True Count. This is show in the formula below:

True Count = Running Count ÷ Remaining Decks

If the running count is 8 and the remaining decks are 2, our true count then is 4. If our running count is 9 and the remaining decks are 4, still our true count is 2. This shows that a running count of 8 and 4 remaining decks is different from a running count of 8 with 1 deck remaining.

The true count dictates the strategy of the player, whether he/she should stick with the current strategy or whether he/she needs to change his/her game plan. That is how important true count is.

How is the True Count Used to Calculate the Player’s Edge?

A standard blackjack game uses 6 decks. The house edge is moved half a percent to the player’s advantage every 1 true count. At true count of 1, the game is even. At true count of 2, the player has an advantage of 0.5%, 1% advantage at true count of 3, 1.5% advantage of 4, and the math goes on.

Use the True Count to Adjust Your Bets

How you adjust your bets depends on the value of the true count. The rule here is that, you should raise your bet when the true count raises and you have to decrease your bet when the value of the true count gets lower. When the true count is positive (+2,+4, +6, +8…), the cards favor you as the player, and you should increase your bet. However, when the true count is neutral (0) or negative (-2, -4, -7…), the card is not on your favor so you should lower your bet. If you don’t know when to increase or decrease your bet, you will surely be causing a great damage to your bankroll, so you have to be very careful and adjust your bets according to the true count.

Can I Win over the Casino Now and Bring Home a Lot of Money?

Not yet. Learning how to count cards does not guarantee your win over the casino. Aside from mastering how to quickly count the card, you also need to master how to stealthily do it, without being detected by the surveillance of the casino. There are certain rules that you need to learn as well, what things you should do, and what things you should avoid.

You should understand though that card counting does not work for everyone. If it does, then every casino player should have brought home millions of dollars already.

To win over the casino, you have to combine your skills in card counting with the other strategies on how to win the game.

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