Counting Cards in Blackjack

Counting cards in Blackjack has been a controversial topic among punters for a long time. After all, Blackjack is just one of the few games which, if played smartly using a card counting method, can give a significant mathematical edge over the house.

Counting Cards in Blackjack

Actually, in land-based casinos, operators are very keen on spotting players who are incredibly good at counting cards.

The question asked by many players is – how do you count cards in blackjack? You will be happy to know that it’s a simple exercise, especially with practice.

Read on to see different ways of counting blackjack cards and becoming a better player. Plus special strategies and legal loopholes of counting cards.

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What is counting cards on blackjack? 

Can you count, add and subtract? If you can do either of these, you are halfway to becoming a better blackjack player. Learning how to observe, discern and track cards in blackjack can help you boost your gaming to the next level.

Card counting is the art of keeping track of the number of high and low cards. When you know how to count cards properly, you will be able to tell when the odds are stacked in your favour. Many players think that counting cards is a way of cheating or ensuring constant wins but that’s not it. You must be able to combine this strategy with others if you want to have a long-term

The whole idea of card counting is to get an idea of the types of cards left in the shoe.

How to count blackjack cards? 

Card Counting in Blackjack

There are different methods of counting cards. Many people have been led to believe that counting cards involve memorizing every card on the table. You will be happy to know that you don’t need a photographic memory to win a blackjack. What you require most is a keen eye.

In short, you just need to keep a tally depending on the face value of any cards.

Basic card counting strategy

Step 1: Assign the cards a value.

Cards Value
2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 +1
7, 8 and 9 0
A, K, Q, J and 10 -1

Step 2: Maintain a running count with each card that the dealer pulls from the deck, using the values we have mentioned above.

Step 3: As long as you ensure that you have an accurate count as the croupier is dealing the cards, you will be able to know the running value of the cards left in the shoe.

Step 4: At the end of every round, if you notice the count is negative, you can increase the size of your bet. This is because there are more low-value cards left. However, if the count is positive, go ahead and lower your bet.

Still, the main question remains – how does counting cards give you an edge over the casino? Well, the standard blackjack house edge is 0.5%. So, if you combine strategy and master your card counting game, you will have a 1% edge over the casino.

With blackjack, practice makes perfect.

Omega II Counting Cards strategy

This is a more advanced strategy of counting cards and is best practised by more experienced blackjack players. It stems from Bryce Carlson’s 1992 card counting book. Instead of the classic +1, 0 and 1 values, you use the following:

Cards Value
8 and Ace 0
10 and All face cards -2
9 -1
4, 5 and 6 2
2, 3 and 7 1

If you use the above values and see a positive count, it means there are more low cards in the shoe. Seeing a negative count indicates that the deck still contains a huge number of high cards.

The Wong halves strategy

This is another advanced system of counting blackjack cards. The assigned values are a bit complicated since they also have fractions. Still, with enough practise, you should be able to master it.

Card Value
3, 4 and 6 1
2 and 7 0.5
5 1.5
8 0
9 -0.5
10, Ace and face cards -1

Does deck penetration in live casino blackjack affect my odds to win?

The best online casinos with live blackjack come with a real card and human dealer. Live blackjack operates just like a brick-and-mortar casino. The biggest advantage is that you get to play from anywhere you like. Not forgetting the stunning graphics and chatting with other players and the dealer.

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In the ideal live blackjack game, counting cards would be easy. But online casinos are a bit different. Of course, operators know that their live blackjack games are prone to card counting, thus immense losses.

Therefore, it is not uncommon to find dealers shuffling cards before there is too much deck penetration. So expect them to deal with about 50% of the shoe in every shuffling round. Don’t underestimate this 50%. It can help you gain a good edge over the casino.

Don’t worry too much about deck penetration rules. At the end of the day, live casinos also try to avoid over-shuffling as it affects hands. In simple terms, shuffling too much robs the casino the chance of affecting their house edge.

How you can use card counting to increase your chances of winning

After learning how card counting works, most players are then ready for the next step. It is time to know how you can put card-counting into practice.

Adjust your bets

This doesn’t require you to memorize anything. It is a high-risk and high-reward method.

If the card counting score gets past a certain number, it might be a good decision to increase your bet. This way, you can notice and take advantage when the cards are in your favour.

If the edge swings in favour of the dealer, consider lowering your bets. You can continue to cut your losses until the score starts to even out and the house edge swings in your favour.

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Adjust your strategy

The whole point of card counting is doing it without getting caught. It might be tricky to know how to switch strategies but it is necessary. The last thing you want is to develop a pattern that will be noticeable by the casino.

When the source or tally is in your favour, it can significantly affect your strategy. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself doubling or frantically splitting on hands that otherwise, you wouldn’t touch.  

If you notice the score moving towards the dealer’s side, hold back on the splitting and doubling. A low tally could mean hitting on hands in scenarios where you usually stand since you are unlikely to bust.

One thing to remember is that changing your strategy while you are card counting is involving. This is something you should only try once you have perfected the move.

If you want to count card unnoticed, it is smart to switch your bets once in a while. Playing with different bets will reduce suspicion.

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Other blackjack strategies

Creating a strategy to boost your chances of winning blackjack shouldn’t be so difficult. All players look for the best strategy to win at blackjack at some point in their gaming journey.

Well, winning blackjack is possible as long as you are using a practical strategy. Less theory, more practice. Having the right blackjack strategy can help you become a better player in roulette and poker.

Online blackjack strategies

Know the table

There are many types of blackjack variants online. It is impossible to exhaust them all. So, before you can start counting cards, ensure you know all about the table and its rules. Take a close look at the table as it can display a lot of information there to help you make a wise decision. For instance, a variant that past 3:2 will give you more cash wins than a game that pays 6:5.

The fewer the deck of cards, the better it is

One of the easiest ways of winning blackjack is playing with as few decks as possible. Always take advantage of games that use as few decks. With fewer cards, you will learn how to play online blackjack real money games faster.

Beginners should go step by step

If you are a blackjack beginner, try using a more laid back or simple approach. It does not hurt to be extra conservative with your raising decisions. Always ensure that you understand the different variant’s blackjack rules.

You should only increase the stakes when you are already in the positive. This means, make higher stakes only when your existing wins are enough to cover potential losses. Seasoned blackjack players don’t raise stakes depending on the ‘wins they think they will get.’

In short, maintain the same amount of stake until you win

Best casinos to play blackjack

Blackjack is an interesting game, with the highest potential for player advantage. If you combine count cards and perfect strategy, you will enjoy a 0.5% house edge.

Winning in blackjack depends on strategy, experience and your casino of choice. Playing at the best casino comes with more advantages like bonuses and promotions. To help you play blackjack with the utmost fun, we have a list of the best blackjack casinos.

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Of course, the user interface is important whether you are playing online or live blackjack. If you are going to try counting cards, you need to see everything. That is why you need an easy-to-use and well-designed blackjack game. 


You keep a tally of the value of the cards to know when the remaining cards in the deck offer low or high value.
You don’t need any special memory to master this technique. However, practising will make you better at it.
If you are a beginner, the hi-low method is best. However, seasoned players can try the Omega II or Wong Halves method.
Of course, there are gambling laws that forbid you to use card counting apps for live casinos. However, using your wits and arithmetic skills is not illegal.
The period you will take is relative. Of course, you won’t be an expert overnight but constant practice will make you better at it. You can start perfecting your skill by playing free online blackjack games.
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There are many diverse blackjack games and Evolution Gaming gives the most thrilling options.


We hope that the above useful blackjack tips will help you become a better player.

While counting cards in online blackjack is somehow tricky, live casino blackjack can give you a certain amount of profits with 50% deck penetration. At first, the profits might be just a few dollars, depending on the size of your bets. Nevertheless, if you master this skill well, you can increase your bets and make significant wins.

The more you practice card counting, the more enjoyable it will become. It also prepares you for the day they will come across a land-based blackjack game. Just ensure you have a different pattern of betting i.e make different types of bets and use varying amounts.

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