How To Learn To Count Cards In Games Like Blackjack
5 mins read

How To Learn To Count Cards In Games Like Blackjack

People like the idea that they can beat the house, and one way it has been done before is by using the card counting strategy. Essentially, card counting is a strategic skill that is used by casino players, particularly when playing Blackjack – offering a potential edge over the casino and potentially increasing your casino account finances.

While it is often associated with mathematics and number skills… and it’s been portrayed in several movies by those who are geniuses, in actual fact, learning to count cards is an achievable skill with a bit of practice and dedication.

Here, we will look at all the fundamentals, methods, and ethics of card counting so you can understand what it entails and if it’s the right strategy for you.

Understanding Card Counting

Card counting is a strategy that can be used in games like Blackjack – where the aim is to gain an advantage by tracking the ratio of high to low-value cards that have already been played.

Meanwhile, many land-based casinos have systems in place to try and prevent it.

That being said, in some instances, it is possible. However, successful card counting will require practice, discretion, and a thorough awareness of all the legal and ethical considerations.

While it isn’t illegal, casinos may restrict or bar players they suspect of card counting.

Basic Strategy Foundation

The basic strategy is a strategy all players should know – as it will help them to optimize the decisions they make to give them the best chance of winning.

Based on statistical analysis, it essentially guides players on the best actions based on the cards in their hand and the dealer’s upcard.

The strategy involves knowing the best time to hit, stand, double down, split pairs, etc.

By playing with the basic strategy, players minimize the house edge – and thus improve their chances of winning.

First and foremost, mastering the basic strategy is important for anyone wanting to play Blackjack – before even considering card counting.

The Hi-Lo Card Counting System

Moving on to Card Counting, the Hi-Lo card counting system is a popular strategy used in Blackjack to gain an extra edge over the casino. It essentially assigns values to cards – classifying them as high, low, or neutral.

  • High cards (10s, face cards, and aces) are given a value of -1
  • Low cards (2-6) receive +1,
  • Neutral cards (7-9) carry a value of 0.

As cards are dealt, players need to keep a running count so they can have an idea of the remaining high or low cards in the deck.

A positive count means the advantage is with the player. While reasonably effective, mastering the Hi-Lo system does require practice.

True Count Calculation

In Blackjack, the True Count is an incredibly important concept when using card counting systems such as Hi-Lo.

It basically involves adjusting the running count to account for the remaining number of decks in the shoe.

To calculate the True Count, you will need to divide the running count by the estimated remaining decks.

So, for example, if the running count is +6 in your Hi-Lo system, and there are approximately three decks left, the True Count is +2.

This adjustment gives you a more accurate indication of the player’s advantage. The more practiced card counters use the True Count to optimize their bets.


Success in card counting requires practice. It’s a good idea to practice games on an online platform, such as casino simulators, or even play at home with others – so you can get faster and more accurate.

Discretion is Key

Keeping a low profile is essential for success. Casinos are always on the lookout and have numerous security measures to look for card counters.

Avoiding making suspicious betting patterns, playing as a team – or winning too much, or too fast is important if you want to go undetected.

Managing Your Bankroll

Card counting is never a guaranteed winning strategy – and fluctuations in outcomes are inevitable. Just because the deck favors the player, it’s no guarantee you’ll win.

Make sure you are disciplined with your bankroll management so you can mitigate any losses during a losing streak – and capitalize on those wins when they come.

Set your betting limits and stick to them.

Legal and Moral Considerations

While card counting is a skill, casinos will generally refuse to allow players using these techniques to continue playing at their establishment.

While it isn’t illegal, you may find yourself barred or blacklisted if you are suspected of card counting.


So, hopefully, you know everything you need to know about card counting – and how it works. Card counting is a skill that combines strategy, mathematics, and discipline.

Before you even get started, you will need a solid grasp of basic blackjack strategy – understand the basics, then move into card counting.

While it’s certainly no guaranteed path to riches, it can give you a bit of an advantage – and add an extra layer of excitement to your blackjack experience.

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