How to Employ a Blackjack Card Counting Strategy

Thanks to movies and other sources of media, blackjack card counting is widely known. Though nearly impossible in online casinos and completely banned from land-based venues, many people still swear by it and use it to their advantage.

The Running Count

The running count is likely the most popular and simplest of blackjack card counting strategies. In short, it requires players to assign numerical values to cards and keep a running count in order to estimate the number of high cards left in the shoe. Starting at zero, the player keeps a running total in their head by adding and subtracting the values of cards that have been played. If the current total is positive, it indicates that there is a greater number of high cards left in the shoe than low cards.

High Low System

The High Low system is a bit more complicated in that it attempts to discern the values of all of the cards left in the shoe. To use it, players will assign a value of one to cards ranging from two to five, zero to cards with values of six to nine and negative one to cards with a value of 10. Aces are always assigned a value of one. Out of all of the cards in a deck, 20 have a positive value, 20 have a negative value and 12 are neutral.

Side Count for Aces

In order to keep track of the number of Aces left in the shoe, some counters prefer to keep a side count, as well. Statistically, there is one Ace per every 13 cards dealt. By multiplying the number of the decks in the shoe by four, players can determine the total number of Aces. Then, the player will assign a value of one to all Aces dealt for every 13 cards. This way, players have a shot at understanding their odds of being dealt an Ace as well as the number of other high and low cards left in the deck.

Though card counting is frowned upon in casinos and those who attempt it may have their gambling privileges revoked or even face legal action, players still do it very discreetly. Understanding how card counting works helps players form better and more effective strategies.