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Strategy of blackjack card counting

Blackjack card counting is basically a special strategy for card games. It is used to define situations of possible player's advantage over the casino. In fact it is a mathematical strategy of tracking high and low cards removal from the deck in a game of blackjack to make use of this advantage.

Applying card counting system

What makes Blackjack different from other games of chance, like roulette or craps, is that blackjack is seen as a dependent trial - the previous game rounds here actually have effect on the future game process. For instance, if in a single-deck blackjack all four Aces were dealt in the beginning of the game, there is no chance that the player gets another Ace in the second round and the player's winning odds get worse.

According to blackjack card counting basics, high cards (especially 10-valued cards and Aces) are to the player's advantage, while low cards mainly work for the dealer.

High cards:

  • More Aces and 10-valued cards offer better chances to get "natural blackjack" that pays 3 to 2.
  • Insurance bets are more profitable as the 10-valued card of the dealer is very likely to combine with an Ace and make "Blackjack".

Low cards:

  • As the dealer is forced to hit "stiff hands" (card hands from 12 to 16), low cards are more favorable for the dealer, while 10-valued cards will bust "stiff hands".

In fact, to apply card counting strategy the player doesn't need to have some supernatural mental abilities. The player is supposed to memorize not specific cards in play, but rather certain values of the cards throughout the game (keep a "running count").

Most card counters begin count with a zero. The count changes with each card dealt in a game depending on a particular blackjack counting systems used by the player. When applying blackjack card counting, the players look for a positive count meaning that more low cards have already been dealt out in the game and the player's odds of receiving high cards increase. In such case the player gets a set of advantages:

  • The dealer busts more often.
  • The player is more likely to have "blackjack".
  • Stronger initial hands are dealt to the player.

With positive card count the amount of player's bets increases as high cards increase the advantage. When the count turns into neutral or negative, it is recommended to reduce amounts of bets.

To be successful with blackjack card counting it is extremely important to use a perfect basic strategy and to practice it for as long as possible. As different games are played with different number of decks and with specific rule variations, the player is also supposed to make sure he or she chooses correct basic strategy for each game.

Status of blackjack card counting

Even though some casinos make use of the delusion claiming that card counting is illegal, it is in fact not. Blackjack card counting applied with no technical devices is seen as perfectly legal blackjack strategy and is by no means cheating. Nevertheless, most casinos will try to detect card counters and apply certain variations to the rules to prevent using blackjack counting systems.