Counting Cards – This Is How It Works

Counting cards, or card counting, is a type of game strategy that is usually used when playing Blackjack. The primary goal is to accurately determine if the next hand will help you win. You will alter your bet based on that calculation.

It involves a simple yet confusing calculation of the card values. The calculation itself is quite simple. The challenge is in keeping track of the count, controlling your emotions, having the presence of mind to know what to bet, and making sure that you are not caught by the casino surveillance.

4 steps for counting cards

The truth is, only a few people can be successful at card counting. It takes a lot of practice to master it. You should not try it as an amateur because when the casino catches you at it, you might be in trouble. Ever watched the movie 21 (starring Kevin Spacey and Jim Sturgess)?

But if you are interested in it, experts reveal the 4 simple steps to counting cards.

Step 1: Assign a value to every card. This is the easy part. You will assign a value based on the card: 2-6=+1; 7-9=0; 10-Ace=-1. You will add and subtract based on the cards that will appear.

Step 2: Keep a “running count” of the values as they are dealt. This is where it starts to get tricky. You need to add, subtract or retain the number based on what is shown in each shoe. For instance, if the shoe shows an 8, 9, 6, and 10, the running count will be a zero. 8 and 9 are 0s, 6 is a +1, while 10 is a -1. The end is a zero. The general rule is this: if the running count or true count (for multiple decks) is increasing, the player has the advantage. If it is negative, the casino has the advantage.

Step 3: Calculate the count per deck. Currently, casinos tried to use multiple decks to make things harder for the players. But you simply need to know how many decks the dealer is playing with and include it in the calculations. If the running count is 6 and the number of decks being used is 2, you simply divide 6 by 2 to get 3 (6 / 2 = 3). That means the true count is 3. Make sure you consider the + and – of the value.

Step 4: Modify your bets according to the results of counting cards. Increase your bet if you have the advantage and decrease if you are going to lose.