How to Count Cards in Blackjack

Blackjack is probably the only game in which you can get a real mathematical advantage over the casino. People who clearly calculate the whole game are called card counters. Below are clear recommendations to help you learn how to count cards in blackjack.

How to count blackjack cards correctly and beat casinos? Shoe in online blackjack is just a picture and a simulation; the distribution of cards in the game is controlled by a random number generator (RNG). After each hand, the deck is shuffled.

Live Casino Card Counting

In many live online casinos, the cards are distributed by a live dealer in real time. Such games, as a rule, are in Live casinos. In this case, you can count the cards and beat the casino. In order to see more cards coming out of the game and keep a better card count, it’s best for you to sit at a table with a large number of players.

Blank Free Card Count in Live Blackjack

You can use the option "Blank card count." You need:

  1. Connect to the live blackjack table and start counting cards. And do not start playing for real money;
  2. Start making bets only when the deck becomes "hot";
  3. Start the game with a hot deck without spending money from the account.

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Count Cards Like the MIT Blackjack Team

Count Cards Like the MIT Blackjack Team — “21” movie

In the popular “21” movie, players used the Plus/Minus counting system, which we will discuss in more detail below. They even developed their own language of special words and gestures in order to transmit the necessary information to their partner. It's simple: the more cards came out of the deck, the easier it is for us to predict the likelihood of receiving the next card you need. It all depends, of course, on memory, logic, and luck.

A positive expectation can be obtained by adjusting your game strategy after, for example, the probability of a certain group of cards being dealt is higher than the others. This small percentage difference helps players to beat the casino.

Can I Count Cards When Playing Online?

When does the player need to skip a bet or go down? What is the ratio of non-face and face cards we are trying to achieve? In a word, we are mostly interested in a greater number of high-value cards — tens and Aces. Why is that?

  • First and foremost: a player receives a payout of one and a half bets for blackjack. If the dealer gets an Ace and a Paint — we lose one bet, if we get these cards in hand, we win one and a half bets;
  • Until the dealer gets seventeen points, he must take the cards. If there are more high-value cards in the deck, it is much easier for us to predict his bust;
  • When you double your bet with a good first card, you significantly increase the chance for a high-value card to enter.

So, How to Count Cards in Blackjack? The Absolute Card Counting System was founded by Edward Thorpe back in 1962. But this system was very difficult for counting cards, not everyone could use it. Therefore, the system simply needed to be simplified, which was done a little later.

The Plus/Minus System

A more simple and understandable for the average person the Plus/Minus card counting system appeared in 1963. Many experienced players are still actively using this system.

All cards are divided into three groups, each of them has its own meaning:

  • -1 for high-value cards: tens, paints and Aces;
  • 0 for average cards like 7-9;
  • +1 for low value cards (2-6).

The sum of all the cards in the deck is 0. During the game, we summarize or subtract the values.

  • Low value cards add +1 (2-6);
  • Average cards are not counted at all (7, 8, 9);
  • High cards decrease the score by -1 (tens, paints, and Aces).

The point of the system is that if your calculation is negative, it means that the probability of getting higher cards decreases, if positive, it increases.

What is the Actual Counting and How to Get It?

When do I need to raise my bid? How does the count affect the chance of winning in blackjack? In order to obtain complete information on this issue — you need to refer to the actual counting. How to do it? Divide the value of the current count by the number of decks remaining in the game.

Expected Value

With an actual counting, you get these values of the expectation. If the result of card counting is negative — you need to skip some hands or reduce the bets. If the score is positive, we are going to raise the bets. With different deviations of the score from zero, the further strategy of the game requires adjustment.

Plus/Minus System Weak Points

Inaccuracy is the main drawback and problem of this system. The Plus/Minus system strictly divides the deck into three categories. It does not distinguish between different cards, as in the Thorpe system. The probability of getting two and five is the same, and you can get paints four times as often as an Ace. This, we believe, is regardless of the actual counting. On this, all our knowledge of low and high cards ended. We didn’t pay attention to the other cards (seven, eight, nine). Despite all these flaws, the Plus or Minus card counting system is one of the most popular and used among blackjack players. The disadvantages of the system are compensated by the speed of learning this system and the ease of use.

More Blackjack Strategies

  • Blackjack Basic Strategy
  • Martingale Strategy
  • See Also

    Online Blackjack Variations