Complete Guide to Card Counting

BLACKJACK Updated on: 8 November 2018

For the player who wants to win at blackjack, nothing can be left to chance – nothing at all. Not even the equally derided and adored card counting technique.

And yes, it works with online blackjack games as well.

You should never consider yourself an accomplished blackjack player if you cannot win on a consistent basis.

So, allow me to teach you a few things about card counting, and why it might be the key to your blackjack fortunes.

In fact, it could be the final step you need to become a professional blackjack player.

I’ll start by asking you to forget some negative things you might have heard about this blackjack strategy. Some people have been convinced that card counting is too demanding to be worth the effort, or too complex to apply effectively. You can’t be among them.

Allow me to introduce you to another school of thought. It says that card counting works. And its greatest adherents are professional blackjack players who win consistently with this game.

So, if you are willing to put in the effort required to make this strategy effective, there is no reason you cannot make money by counting cards.

And don’t be afraid either, learning the ins and outs of card counting is not as hard as it is made out to be.

With a few basic ideas you can get started right away and build on the skill over time until the technique becomes one of your strongest weapons as a professional blackjack player.

1. What's Card Counting in Blackjack?

Basically, card counting is just like it sounds, it involves keeping track of the cards being dealt so as to predict what cards are more likely to come up next.

Granted, only a few cards are dealt during a blackjack games, so this might seem like a waste of time, or a whole lot of effort for a negligible strategic advantage.

But a professional player who understands that winning is a longterm game would see it differently. The results of card counting might not b e evident in a single game, but over time, the effort is sure to pay off.

You can count cards when playing both online and physical blackjack games. Some people think that it works only in physical casinos, but that’s not the case.

But I’ll level with you – this strategy is harder to implement during online games since you cannot see the entire table. In land-based casinos, you can see the entire table, which makes the strategy easier to implement.

But that is not to say it will not work effective when playing blackjack online. It does. In fact, there are some benefits to using this strategy when playing online.

But first, here are two important card counting techniques you should learn to use.

Types of Card Counting

1. Hi-Lo Card Counting Technique

If you just started on card counting, I strongly suggest you begin with this technique. It is easy to learn and apply. More importantly, it is very effective at improving your winning edge.

Because of this efficiency, you should notice some improvements to your blackjack winning rate after giving it a try.

How it Works

To work this strategy, you should do the following:

  • Assign cards with values of between 2 and 6 a value of 1
  • Give cards with values of between 7 and 9 a value of 0
  • Assign cards with values of 10 and A’s a value of -1

Once you have mastered these points, add up the values of the cards as they are being dealt by the dealer.

How to Interpret the Hi-Lo Card Counting Method

If the value you get after adding the cards is positive by the time half the players have played, then more high value cards are left in the deck than low value cards. This means that the dealer will have a harder time winning. Therefore, a stand is more likely to work in your favor since since the dealer is more likely to bust, ensuring that you win with a higher hand value.

The converse is true: if the total is negative, more low value cards will be left, and that means that the dealer is more likely to win. In this case, a hit might be the best option to ensure you have as strong a hand as possible.

2. The Uston SS Card Counting Technique

This technique is a little complex, but it is more effective at helping you win than the Hi-Lo method. But the challenge with this strategy is that you have to memorize twice the card categories present in the Hi-Lo method. So, that is 6 instead of 3, and here they are.

  • Card 5 is given a value of 3
  • Cards 2, 4, 6 are valued at 2
  • Card 7 takes a value of 1
  • Card 8 is valued at 0
  • Card 9 is given a value of -1
  • Aces and cards with a value of 10 are valued at -2

Interpreting the results of this strategy is similar to that of Hi-Lo method. You simply add up the value of the cards as they are being dealt until half the players at the table has played.

If the final value is positive, you should be less inclined to hit, but if negative, you should be less inclined to stand in consideration of the respective winning chances the dealer has.

How to make Card Counting More effective

Memorizing is the name of the game as far as card counting goes. I think that part should be pretty obvious.

So, once you know what values to assign each card on the deck, you can go ahead and do some practice so that you learn to add up the cards quickly without making it obvious that you are counting cards.

However, this is something you will not have to worry about when playing at an online casino, where you can even have a notebook handy to keep track of the each card and the running total since nobody can even see you. The exception, of course, being live dealer blackjack games.

Other Card Counting Methods also Available

You should try out other card counting techniques as well. These two are just the most popular types of card counting in use. They are easy to master. And best of all, they work.

But all things considered, nothing takes the place of enough practice. You should test each method using demo or free play blackjack games before you try to win real money with them.

In Conclusion

Many people seriously look for ways to win at blackjack. Unfortunately, a good number of them also put limits on how far they are willing to go to secure these wins.

But if you are serious about your blackjack playing, you cannot have such limitations, which is why you should make a point of learning a thing or two about card counting.

Contrary to popular belief, card counting works even with online casinos. In fact when using it to play online blackjack, you have the added benefit of counting cards without anyone calling you out on it.

That’s right: card counting is not a very welcome playing strategy in land-based casinos.

But with these two techniques, I think card counting can significantly improve your blackjack winning rate. The methods may be simple to learn, but they are very effective. Applying them is also quite easy.

Just give these strategies a try and take your blackjack performance to the next level.