Blackjack Tips – Card Counting

When one gets deeper into blackjack (and most casino card games as well), you will find that a good strategy is to know what cards have been dealt and make a good guess at the cards that are more likely to come your way. This is sometimes called “just good sense” and sometimes “card counting”.

Card counting has been given something of a bad name by association with cheating, as well as the mistake of thinking that only mathematical geniuses can do it. Both ideas are wrong.

Cheating is illegal, and card counting is only illegal when you depend on something other than your brain to do the counting. This may be notes, an electronic device, or a companion giving you signals. All “real” or brick-and-mortar casinos watch closely for this sort of thing, and they will do everything they can to make you regret it. Don’t do it.

You can certainly use these sorts of aids when playing at an online casino, because they cannot know what you are doing. However, the usefulness of such gimmicks is limited and it is always better to know how to play well. If you ever plan on playing blackjack in the “real world”, you will certainly regret using such crutches. You may as well play online slots for fun.

After all, you do not need to be a prodigy at math to do card counting; most times, you only need to know how to add or subtract from a running total. If you keep one number in your head and either add or subtract once per card as it is dealt, how hard can it really be? The only rules you need to know to do this sort of card counting is the value of each card as it is dealt.

For the simplest card counting, only two cards are worth anything: Ace and 5. If you see an Ace in the dealer’s hand, that is bad for you so you subtract one from your total and you are less likely to raise your bet. If you see a 5 in the dealer’s hand, that is good so you will add one to your total and you may bet more because you are more likely to win.

For more complex card counting, there are more cards which are worth +1 and -1 but the basic idea is still the same. For instance, the Hi/ Lo system has everything below 7 worth +1, and everything above 9 worth -1. Not hard to remember! Practice using this system with one of the free online blackjack games and you will see your results improve greatly.

Some blackjack card counting strategies use two levels of numbers instead of one and are therefore more difficult to master. For example, the Omega II strategy has cards 2, 3, and 7 worth +1, cards 4,5, and 6 worth +2, card 9 worth -1, and cards 10, J, Q, and K worth -2 (both 8 and Ace do not add or subtract from your running total). This is harder to remember but a little practice with the free online blackjack games will do the trick — you do not need to be Einstein or Rain Man!

There are several other blackjack card counting strategies; which one works best is a matter for hot debate. You can find them in a book or on the internet, explained in much more detail then we have space here.

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