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Guide to Card Counting and Master Blackjack

How to count cards in Blackjack

Card counting in blackjack is a skill that can tip the balance of the game from the casino to the player. It's a method used by players to keep track of high and low-value cards dealt from a dealer's shoe. Here's a detailed guide on how to master card counting and potentially increase your chances of winning in reputable gambling sites without Gamstop.

Understanding the basics of card counting
Card counting does not require a photographic memory or advanced mathematical skills. Instead, it hinges on the player's ability to maintain a simple running count of the cards as they are dealt. This count gives players insight into the composition of the remaining cards, which influences their betting and playing strategies.

The Hi-Lo strategy
A popular method for beginners is the Hi-Lo card counting system. It assigns a value to every card as follows:

● Low cards (2-6): +1
● High cards (10-Ace): -1
● Neutral cards (7-9): 0

The player keeps a "running count" starting at zero at the beginning of the shoe and adjusts the count according to the values of the cards dealt.

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Running count: the first step

How to keep the running count
The Running Count is adjusted with each card dealt:

● For a low card, add one.
● For a high card, subtract one.
● Neutral cards do not affect the count.

The count reflects the proportion of high to low cards remaining in the shoe; a high positive count suggests more high cards are left in the deck, beneficial to the player.

Example of running count
Imagine a round of play where the following cards are dealt: 5, Ace, 8, 3. The running count would be calculated as follows:

● Start at 0.
● +1 for the 5,
● -1 for the Ace,
● 0 for the 8 (neutral),
● +1 for the 3.

This results in a running count of +1.

Why the running count matters

The running count provides a quick gauge of the card balance in the shoe. When more low-value cards have been dealt, the remaining deck is rich in high-value cards, which statistically benefits the player. This alters the player's strategy, especially in terms of betting and playing decisions.

Converting the running count to the true count

As multiple decks are often used in blackjack, the running count alone can be misleading. This necessitates converting the running count into a "true count," which considers the number of decks remaining in the shoe.

How to calculate the true count
1. Divide the running count by the estimated number of decks left in the shoe. This gives the true count.
2. A higher true count suggests a more favourable deck for the player.

Example of true count calculation
Assuming a running count of +10 and an estimate of two decks remaining in the shoe, the true count would be:

● True Count = Running Count / Decks Remaining
● True Count = 10 / 2 = 5

A true count of +5 indicates a significant advantage for the player.

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How to use the true count

The true count helps players make more informed decisions regarding their betting and playing strategy. Here's how:

Increasing bets: players may choose to increase their bets when the true count is high, indicating a greater likelihood of drawing a high card.

Modifying strategy: depending on the true count, players might deviate from the basic blackjack strategy, which dictates the optimal play for every card combination.

Practical tips for card counting

Practice at home: before hitting the casino, practice card counting at home with a standard deck.

Keep it discreet: casinos frown upon card counting. It's essential to play naturally and blend in with other players.

Stay disciplined: card counting requires concentration and discipline to apply correctly under casino conditions.


Card counting is a valuable skill that can shift the odds in favour of the player. By mastering the running count and true count, players can enhance their strategic approach to blackjack. Remember, while card counting is not illegal, it must be executed with discretion to avoid detection by casino personnel. With practice and careful application, card counting can become a powerful tool in a blackjack player's arsenal.


What is card counting in blackjack?
Card counting is a strategy used in blackjack to determine whether the next hand is likely to give a probable advantage to the player or the dealer. It's done by tracking the high and low cards already dealt and predicting what might come next.

How does the hi-lo card counting system work?
The hi-lo system assigns a value to each card type to help keep track of the running count during a game. Cards 2 through 6 are valued at +1, cards 7 through 9 are neutral with a value of 0, and 10 through Ace are valued at -1. Players adjust their count for every card dealt to determine the composition of the remaining cards.

What is the running count?
The running count is the total value calculated from the cards that have already been dealt in the game. It starts at zero and fluctuates based on card values (low, high, neutral) seen during play.

How do you convert a running count into a true count?
To convert the running count into a true count, divide the running count by the estimated number of decks remaining in the shoe. This adjusted count provides a more accurate reflection of the deck's composition and helps refine betting and playing strategies.

Why is the true count important in blackjack?
The true count is used to adjust the running count by accounting for the number of decks in play, providing a more precise measure of the deck's favorability towards the player. A higher true count indicates a higher probability of drawing high-value cards, which can be advantageous for the player.

Can casinos ban you for card counting?
Yes, while card counting is not illegal, casinos are private properties and have the right to ban players they suspect of card counting to prevent them from playing. It's important to be discreet and blend in with other players to avoid detection.

How can I practice card counting?
You can practice card counting by using a standard deck of cards at home. Deal cards to yourself, keeping the running count, and then calculating the true count. Repeat until you can do so quickly and accurately.

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