Best Blackjack Card Counting Tips & Tricks

Once you learn the basic blackjack rules, the next step is to apply the right strategies to ensure that you increase your chances of earning money. Although there are many tricks you can apply, the card counting technique is very popular in the casino world.

So, if you’ve played blackjack before, now is the time to learn how to count cards in blackjack and apply them the next time you place bets.

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Online Blackjack – What is it & Where can You do it?

Today, it is the always popular casino game in most online casinos due to its simple betting rules and strategies. Blackjack is more complicated than online slot machines (and other casino games), but it requires less skill than, for example, poker, which makes it the perfect game for most people. As long as players have a certain skill in the game and a certain knowledge of basic strategy, the chances against the casino are higher compared to other games in the online casino.

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In this online card game, only one person or player is needed. However, if the online casinos offer live blackjack, they will be able to play a maximum of seven players at one table with the dealer. What makes blackjack different from poker is the fact that a blackjack player does not compete against other players.

Instead, each player at the table competes against the dealer and tries to beat his hand. If a player is new to blackjack and wants to go to a classic casino to play, it might be a good idea to play a few rounds of blackjack online first.

The software in online casinos is quite good for these players who have difficulty remembering the rules and strategies of playing blackjack. Luckily, on our website, we have the list of the best casinos, that offer blackjack games, for the opportunity to place your bets.

How does Card Counting Work?

Card counting is a system of keeping track of the cards that have come out to determine when the rest of the cards are more favorable to the player. The advantage of the house edge that the casinos and blackjack sites have is valid for the total number of cards played.

Some cards are for player advantage, while others are better for the house. As the cards come out, more of the remaining cards are more favorable for the player (10, Jack, Queen, King, aAce) or those that are more favorable for the dealer (2, 3, 4, 5, 6).

By counting the cards, the player determines when more cards are among the remaining cards that suit him, and then increases his stakes. Conversely, when there are more cards among the cards left that suit the house, he reduces the stakes. In this way, he shifts the advantage gained in his favor and maximizes the player’s advantage.

The Three Levels of Card Counting

There have been dozens of various card counting systems invented and published, all with varying levels of complexity, which refers to the greatest value awarded to a ranking card. However, the three levels we are about to teach you, are the most prominent ones. Learning these can be beneficial, especially if you are set out to place bigger bets.

Level 1 Systems

Single level counting systems are those in which the point values assigned to the cards are either 1,0 or -1. This type of approach is what popularized card counting because it made the activity accessible to the average person.

There are two types of Ace: included and Ace deleted, cards. What this relates to is how the point system handles the Ace. Because Aces are valued as high cards for betting purposes and as a form of low cards for playing purposes, the Ace has a unique role in the game of blackjack.

Strategy Type
Betting Correlation
Playing Efficiency
Insurance Correlation
Ease of use
Compromise Indexes
Suit Aware

It’s certainly the most important part of blackjack or natural, but it’s now a low card if you hit a 14 and receive an Ace.

Knowing that the deck left have a lot of Aces is excellent for betting, but it’s useless if you have to hit a 12, therefore numerous counting systems emerged in two ways: those that treated the Ace as a neutral card (point value of 0) and others that treated it as a high card (point value of 12). This significantly impacts a system’s playing, betting, and insurance efficiency. Hi-lo is the most popular level one system. Ed Thorpe, the father of card counting, popularized the Hi-Lo strategy.

Level 2 Systems

The term level 2 refers to counting systems with card values of 1,2, 0, -1, or -2 given. This method recognizes that some cards have a greater impact than others even within a single card category (such as ‘low’ cards).

Strategy Type
Betting Correlation
Playing Efficiency
Insurance Correlation
Ease of use
Compromise Indexes
Suit Aware

Fives are a good example; they aid the dealer the most when he or she has a hand of 12 to 16, so if there aren’t any left in the deck, the dealer will struggle. Threes aren’t as essential as fives, yet in many single-level systems, a three and a five have the same weighting.

Level two and higher systems distinguish between 3s and 5s. An example of this Level 2 system is Hi opt II, and it was designed for single-deck plays, and many people believe it won’t work with shoes that don’t have an ace side-count.

Level 3 Systems and Higher

The term level 3 refers to a counting system that gives one or more of the cards it tracks a true count value of 3 (plus or minus). One of the existing counts even gives one of the cards a point value of 4, making it a level-four counting system.

Even though one of these systems assigns the Ace a value of -1 and the other assigns it a specific value of 0, neither of these systems outperforms the level-one hi lo strategy in terms of betting efficiency.

If you spend the bulk of your time playing multi-deck games (two or more decks left), the betting efficiency of a system should be your top priority, as a high bet spread typically beats these games. An example of a Level 3 System would be Wong Halves.

The concept of a running count is central to most card counting systems. For example, the Wong Halves system is a level 3 system, which means you’ll need to track three levels of values (running total). All that counts is that each card in the deck has a specific value assigned to it. It’s up to you to figure out how much that card is worth and then keep track of the total. Your running count is the name of this running tally. Halves also have the highest betting correlation.




Additional Card Counting Systems

Card counters know many systems and choose the best one according to their needs and preferences. Next to the three levers of counting cards, we will go through even more card counting strategies in the next sections.

Computer – Based Card Counting Systems

Dr. Edward O. Thorp, a mathematics professor in the 1960s (when computers were new), built a basic arithmetic program that could mimic a game of blackjack. He was seeking the ideal blackjack system that would allow a player to make the greatest option for every hand dealt.

Basic strategy was named after the method he discovered. His legacy provided card counters with the opportunity to create programs that will foretell blackjack games and set them up for making money in the long run. Computer-based systems are preferable in case you want to take the edge off, as they won’t require higher concentration during card counting work, as it usually happens.

Multi-Parameter Card Counting System

The term multi-parameter refers to keeping a separate true count of some cards (both high and low cards), notably those with a point value of zero.

The Ace is the best example. The Ace has a -1 point value in some systems, while it is not counted in others (point value of 0). That’s because the Ace is a strange card in the game of Blackjack; Aces are small cards for playing reasons (strike a 12 with an Ace and you get a 13 ), but it’s the type of high card for betting purposes because it’s the vital piece in a natural, which pays 3 to 2.

So, if you want a technique of counting that is extremely accurate in terms of betting efficiency, treat the Ace as -1 (or more; it depends on the system), but if you want a method to achieve accurate count, treat the Ace as neutral.

Unbalanced Systems

They’re named unbalanced because, while the cards still have point’values, adding all the cards’ values in one deck or decks does not equal zero. These counts allow you to bet without having to convert to a true count, which many people believe to be the most difficult element of learning balanced counting systems.

However, in 4-, 6-, or 8-deck games, they are still extremely effective, and most casual Blackjack players who visit casinos where games are dealt from four or more cards should definitely utilize an uneven true count. We can’t recommend them for single-deck or double-deck games because they have restrictions in those situations, but the imbalanced counts are fairly decent otherwise.




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Casino Countermeasures Against Counting Cards

It should be mentioned that casinos are fighting against this system. Counting cards is a legal way to win money in a casino, but when it is noticed that a player is doing it, the casino has the right to interrupt the game and prohibit the player from entering the casino.

Casinos are protected using other methods such as using an inserted card. In practice, this means that only half of the 8 decks left are dealt. The inserted card is placed in the deck pile and indicates to the croupier at the end of the play after the end of the current round, and the dealer shuffles again.

This method significantly reduces the profitability of card counting, as the benefit is greatest at the end of the deal. Card counting also loses its meaning if the casino uses CSM (continuous shuffling machine). CSM is a device that automatically shuffles cards. Therefore, the used cards are immediately shuffled at the end of each round, and the game progresses.

Casino personnel is using advanced casino surveillance on the watch to thwart card counters. Don’t forget that casinos don’t allow mid shoe entry, meaning you can’t join a group play that already started.

Card Counting Tips Card Counters Use

All being said, there are still some additional tips and tricks you should look out for before deciding on counting cards. Since counting cards isn’t too simple, any additional advice is welcome. In the next paragraphs, we will go through some of the most beneficial pieces of card counting advice, so you learn how to make the best out of player advantage.

Don’t Forget About the Bankroll – Card Counter Necessity

There is no cure for poor luck, no matter how much one possesses of occult knowledge or strategic ability. You will be dealt garbage after garbage from the time you sit down on some days, and there will be nothing you can do about it. That’s how chance games work — you win some and lose some. As a result, it’s critical that you set a limit on how much money you’re willing to lose during a betting session.

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Contrary to popular belief, bringing a huge bankroll to the table is actually preferable. Because blackjack has so many variables, you could lose several bets in a succession before winning several. As a result, you’ll need enough cash to weather the downturns and get back counting on the winning track, especially if you are playing with bigger bets.

Try Using the Strategy – Become a Better Card Counter

The finest blackjack money management tip you can get is to use a good strategy. If your blackjack strategy knowledge is shaky, a chart might help you figure out what to do in each case. If you have a 16 and the dealer has a 6, for example, a blackjack chart will urge you to stand. If you’re playing online blackjack, you can easily obtain and use a strategy chart on the internet.

Things are a little different in land-based casinos because taking a chart to the table isn’t exactly the coolest thing to do. If you don’t know much about blackjack strategy, though, you should bring a chart to the table until you do.

Frequently Asked Questions – Counting Cards

Card counting is a complex subject, with many layers of information. It is only natural that players have many questions about it. We are more than happy to answer the most common questions in the next few sections.




How did the Card Counting Start? – The History

Beat the Dealer- Ed Thorp’s book was the first to include a mathematically correct playing strategy for beating blackjack. The book strengthened one’s self-assurance and increased one’s chances of beating the casino. There were several skeptics initially, and players and game theorists did not universally accept the technique.

Edward Thorp’s Top-Ten count was simple to understand and utilize when playing blackjack, and it provided a tremendous advantage to all players, boosting the book’s popularity. The book was a big hit, and it became a New York Times bestseller a year after it was published.

Perhaps the most telling indicator of Thorp’s and his book’s popularity was that casinos had to change the rules of the game shortly after it was published to keep the odds in their favor. He was even banned from casinos in Las Vegas.

Additionally, counting cards has grown in popularity after 21 (the movie about the MIT team of card counters) was released. As a result, even beginner gamblers developed a positive expectation, and believe they can become a successful card counter too.

Is Counting Cards Difficult?

In principle, card counting in blackjack is a simple concept, but putting it into practice and combining it with a specific attitude is more difficult. Advantage play is the term for this mindset. For gambling, advantage play refers to placing wagers when you are mathematically winning.

The house has a mathematical advantage in all casino games. You can adjust the way you bet in particular (depending on if you bet big or low) games and situations to make the math work in your favor.

How Long does it Take to Master the Card Counting System?

The answer to this question depends almost entirely on the blackjack player and their commitment to becoming card counter. Some research says that it takes 100 to 200 hours of practice on average.


After all, don’t indulge in card counting in the hope that you will make an incredible profit at the casino. Even if you avoid side bets and insurance in the blackjack, if you decide to count cards does not guarantee that you will come out of the casino as the winner every time.

What this strategy can provide you with, however, is a secure income in the long run. To achieve this you have to invest a lot of time and effort, and even treat the game as a permanent job (like the MIT team). Moreover, it requires higher concentration than other casino games strategies.

If you are one of those, who would rather play blackjack from the comfort of your own home, visit our online casino where many different types of blackjack and hours and hours of wild fun are waiting for you!

Last Updated on: 08/11/2022 ago by Shyla Anand

Shyla Anand

In this article I presented and discussed the best blackjack card counting tips and tricks. If you want to apply the card counting method, register now with any of the featured online casino sites here and start making profit playing blackjack.

Shyla Anand has great experience when it comes to games of chance, but most of all online gambling. After having worked at a well known international insurance company, she now writes bestselling books about the casino business.

Shyla Anand

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