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How To Count Cards In Blackjack? Basics and Advanced Techniques!

In this article, let’s dive into the world of card counting in blackjack.

Introduction to Card Counting in Blackjack!

Blackjack is a popular casino game in which the objective is to have a hand value of 21 or as close to 21 as possible without going over. 

One strategy that has been used by skilled players to increase their chances of winning is card counting.

Card counting is a technique that involves keeping track of the ratio of high cards to low cards in a blackjack deck. The reason for this is that a higher proportion of high cards left in the deck favors the player, while a higher proportion of low cards favors the house. 

By keeping track of the ratio, a player can make more informed decisions about when to hit, stand, or even place larger bets.

Before we dive into the techniques of card counting, it’s important to note that card counting is not illegal, but it is frowned upon by casinos. Casinos have the right to ask players to leave if they suspect them of counting cards. 

Additionally, many casinos use multiple decks and shuffle them frequently to make card counting more difficult.

The Basics of Card Counting in Blackjack

There are a variety of different card counting systems, but they all generally involve assigning a value to each card and keeping a running count as the cards are played.

The most basic system is the Hi-Lo system, where each card is assigned a value as follows:

  • 2 through 6 are assigned a value of +1
  • 10s and face cards (J, Q, K) are assigned a value of -1
  • 7 through 9 are assigned a value of 0
  • Aces are assigned a value of 0 (or sometimes -1)

As the cards are played, you would keep a running count by adding or subtracting the value of each card as it is revealed.

For example, if the first card dealt is a 4, you would add +1 to your count. If the next card is a 10, you would subtract 1 from your count. If the next card is a 6, you would add +1 to your count again. And so on.

It is important to keep count in your head, and not to do it out loud or on paper. Casinos will typically keep an eye on players they suspect of counting cards, and doing it openly is a surefire way to get yourself kicked out.

Advanced techniques

While the Hi-Lo system is a good starting point, many experienced card counters use more advanced techniques.

One such technique is the use of a “true count” which takes into account the number of decks remaining in play. As the number of decks decreases, the running count becomes less accurate and should be adjusted. To calculate true count, divide the running count by the number of decks remaining.

Another technique is the use of “index numbers” which are assigned to each player decision. These index numbers indicate the optimal decision for a player based on the running count. For example, a player might be instructed to always stand on a count of 16 or higher.


Skilled blackjack players who count cards to boost their odds of winning might benefit from this strategy. Card counting is not against the law, however it is frowned upon at gambling establishments. 

And to further complicate matters for card counters, several casinos utilize numerous decks that are shuffled at regular intervals. If you’re interested in giving it a go, it’s recommended that you get some practice under less stressful conditions away from the casinos.  

Darren Elias

Darren Elias

Meet Darren Elias, a veteran of the casino industry with over 10 years of experience under his belt. From his early days as a dealer to his current position as a senior executive, Darren has seen it all and knows the ins and outs of the gambling world like the back of his hand.

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