So, how exactly do you count cards in blackjack? Well, it’s actually easier than you might think, and starts with you assigning a value to each group of cards. We’ll concentrate on the most common method of card counting, which is called Hi-Lo, and the values in this system are as such:
Two through to Six=+1
Seven through to Nine=0
Ten through to Ace=-1
Make sure you memorize these values properly, as they are the most important aspect to card counting. You will then keep a running count of the cards that are used during a game. So, if the first five cards you see are 5, 2, 7, 8, A, your running total will be +1 (1+1+0+0-1).
You can then use your running total to determine if there is a better or worse chance than normal of a 10-A card being dealt to you in the next hand. It’s important to remember this though: when the dealer shuffles the cards and fills the shoe, you need to start your card counting all over again.
So imagine this scenario. You’re playing at a table with two other players, and the cards received by each player, as well as the dealer, are:
You: 10, 8
Player Two: 2, 8, Q
Player Three: 10, 2, J
Dealer: 10, 6, 9
What would the running count be after this hand? Well, it would be -3, and this would indicate that the casino holds the advantage, as there is a higher chance of you being dealt lower cards in the next hand, thanks to the higher than average number of 10-A cards that have been seen on the table.
The first thing to know when using this system is how many decks are being used. You can then count the cards in the same way described above, assigning the correct values to specific cards that are dealt. Before a new hand is dealt though, you have to work out how many decks are remaining in the shoe, as a count of, for example, +6 with one deck remaining has better odds than a count of +6 with three decks remaining.
This is because a score of +6 with three decks remaining means that there are six extra high cards in a card counting online blackjack pile of 156 cards, while the same count with one deck remaining means that there are six extra high cards in a pile of 52 cards. Therefore, a count of +6 is far more advantageous when fewer cards remain in the shoe.
So, how do you go about getting the correct value? Well, it’s actually quite simple: you divide the total count by the remaining number of decks. So, using the previous example of having a count of +6, the True Count with three decks remaining would be +2 (+6/3=+2). It’s quite a simple answer to the problem and one that works incredibly effectively.