Card Counting Systems in Blackjack Casinos


Any strategy player uses to track the cards which are played in blackjack is called "counting cards". This ability can be very useful to a player. He/she conventionally gives some value to the cards to determine favorable and unfavorable ones. It was proven that it is more beneficial for a gambler high running count (remaining of more high cards) and for dealer - low running count, because:

  • 1. Players receive blackjack more often.
  • 2. Double Down is more successful for a player.
  • 3. Dealer busts more "Stiff Hands".
  • 4. The "Insurance" becomes more convenient.

Card Counting History

Edward Thorp - a famous American mathematics professor, in his book "Beat the Dealer" proved that some cards are favorable for players, and another - for dealers. And he explained that a gambler can determine which cards are left in the deck. He proved that a casino dealer can be beat.

There are also a lot of other blackjack gurus can be found who made a lot for this game's development.

Well-known Blackjack Counters

  • Ken Uston - perfects counting technique, popularize "team blackjack", was banned from casino all around the world.
  • Al Francesco - invents blackjack team play.
  • Jess Marcum - develops 1-st full-fledged point-count system.
  • Tommy Hyland - ruled longest running team in history.
  • Stanford Wong - strategy of "wonging - back-counting".\
  • MIT Card Counters - perfected "group counting" system.

Is it Lawful?

It is not illegal to count cards as you use your brain to do it, but not a computer. But casino staff doesn't like counters and can administer some of these actions to intervene gamblers to count:

  • 1. Add more decks to a shoe.
  • 2. Waste counters to break their concentration.
  • 3. Change dealers during a game.
  • 4. Change bets and table limits.
  • 5. Changing some rules.
  • 6. Placing special shuffling machines.

Card Counting Systems

  • Hi/Lo" or "plus-minus" or "single-level" or "level-one" method. Each card has special value which increases or decreases count or it remains the same. Positive cads 2-6 assign +1 value, neutral cards 7-9 have a value of 0, negative cards 10-Ace assign - 1 value. The count begins from 0. Every positive card adds 1 to the count and negative subtracts from the count 1 point. If there is positive count a player may raise his/her bets.
  • Multilevel System". Card values are assigned there as +2 and - 2 for better distinction and accuracy. The system results are more profitable in comparison with previous one.
  • Cluster Counting" or "Shuffle Tracking". Players mentally memorize the cards from previous games and try to remember how they were grouped. In the next game when appear such clusters they raise their bets.
  • Running Count and True Count. "Running" is a count from the beginning of a deck and the "true count" is count of remaining decks.

Advices for Better Card Counting

  • 1. First of all learn basic strategy - it must become your second nature.
  • 2. Be able to ignore all casino distractions.
  • 3. Pretend yourself a novice in blackjack playing.
  • 4. You must have a large bankroll to survive.

After making a decision how to count cards you must choose a counting system. There more than a hundred of them and it is you right to choose and practice.