Advanced Strategy of Counting Cards

Experience Is A Must:

Experienced card counters will still use all the basic strategies for Blackjack the great majority of the time. Anyone who tells you that there are easier short cuts around learning the basic strategy of the game is misleading you. Those who attempt card counting, without a firm foundation in the basic strategies will not succeed.

Principles of Card Counting:

The underlying principle behind card counting is that a deck will either have lots of tens (Kings, Queens, Jacks or 10s) and aces, called “a rich deck” which is good for the player, or will have a deck rich in small cards, which is good for the dealer. The reason behind this principle is rather complicated, but I will try to offer two examples of why it is so important:

(1) Blackjacks are more common in ten and ace rich decks, (because 10 + 11 = 21!) which benefits the player more than the dealer.
(2) The probability of busting a stiff hand is greater. The dealer is forced to hit a stiff hand and the player is not.

Advanced Strategy of Counting CardsTo gauge the richness of the deck in good cards, the player needs to keep track of the cards that have already been played. “But how?” you may ask. “After all, there are often several decks being played and I don’t have the mind of an elephant!” There are several strategies, one of which is a Plus/Minus strategy, which deals in positive and negative integers that anyone with ninth grade math can use as far as the math itself is concerned. However, the trick is keeping up with all cards played, and adding/subtracting at that rate.

This system assigns a value of a positive number to 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and, and -1 to tens and aces. Everything else is considered a 0 (zero), or neutral. At the beginning and end of a deck or “shoe”, the count is 0. Imagine a line with a zero in the middle and all the plus numbers to the right and the minus numbers to the left, on either side; just as a number line is math would be. As cards are played, the counter constantly adds and subtracts from the count accordingly. This running total is called the “running count”.


A game begins at zero and the first card is a 6. The counter thinks “+1”. The second card is a Jack (10). The counter thinks +1-1 = 0 Third card is a duce, (+1) making the number remaining a +1. Fourth card is an Ace, making the equation +1 -1 = 0 and so on.
At any time, a positive count means that a disproportional number of small cards have been played which means the deck is rich in large cards. To determine the “true count” divide the running count by the number of decks left to be played, or in some strategies the number of half decks. This will tell you the relative richness of the deck in good cards.

Card Counting in Online Casino Blackjack

Because the deck(s) of cards used for online casino blackjack is shuffled between each hand card counting is not possible. Each hand is an independent event, just like every spin of the roulette wheel is an independent event in a land-based casino. However, if you find a game where the software does not simulate a shuffle between each hand card counting would theoretically be possible, and in the early days of online gambling there were people taking advantage of these kind of opportunities.