How to Count Cards

How to Count Cards

How to Do Good Cards Count


First, counting cards can be broken down into 4 simple steps:

  • Step 1: Assign a value to every single card
  • Step 2: Keep a “Running count” based on the values of the card shown
  • Step 3: Use this tip to calculate the count per deck or “true count”
  • Step 4: Change your wagers as the true count changes


Counting cards can be fairly simple but takes time to master.

We’ve all won millions from casinos through the art of card counting. We can walk you through on how to count cards in blackjack in just a few steps. Moreover, most people think that card counting has to do with memorization.


Luckily for those of us with terrible memories, it has got nothing to do with memorizing how many queens or 3’s are dealt out of the shoe. In blackjack, it is advantageous to the player when there are more Aces and value 10 cards (10’s, Jacks, Queens, and Kings) remaining in the shoe. So card counting is simply using a technique to keep track of the ratio of low cards to high cards.


Step 1: Assign a value to every single card

With Hi-Lo, the most familiar card counting system, the card values are as follows:

2-6 = +1

7-9 = 0

10-Ace = -1


As each card is shown, you will either need to add 1, subtract 1, or do nothing based on each card’s value.


Step 2: The Running Count

Remember to keep a running count by adding or subtracting every card that you see in each shoe. As each card is dealt with, we will then update our “running count” with the new information we are given.


Example #1: 

Player 1 : 3-7 = +1

Player 2 : 10-Jack = -2

Player 3 : Ace-2 = 0

Dealer : 6 = +1

So the running count for this round is 0 (zero)

Example #2:

Player 1: 2-7 = +1

Player 2: King-5 = 0

Player 3: Ace-3 = 0
Dealer: 8 = 0

So, the running count for this round is +1


Example #3

Player 1: 7-2-10 = 0

Player 2: King-5-6 = +1

Player 3: Ace-3-9 = 0

Dealer: Jack-8-6 = 0

The running count for this round is +1


A card counter does this for each card that comes out of the shoe: card after card and after rounds and rounds until the dealer shuffles the cards again. Back in the days of single deck blackjack, this tip would’ve been quite enough to start betting accordingly. If the running count increases, the favor begins shifting to the player. If the running count goes negative, the casino gets the advantage favor.


Step 3: Calculating A “True Count” or Count per deck

In a pursuit to thwart card counters, casinos began using multiple decks. To use our running count technique in a multiple deck game, we simply have to translate our information into a “true count” or count per deck. We’ll break down each following step below.


Firstly, having a +5 running count with 6 decks remaining is a completely different scenario from having a +5 running with only 1 deck remaining. There is less than 1 additional high card per deck remaining so the player doesn’t have the benefit but on the other hand, it’s not just the of high extra cards that matter to card counter; it’s the concentration of high cards compared to the concentration of low cards.


So if you had that running count of 5 with only 1 deck left, we will know that there are 5 extra 10’s and Aces left in the 52 cards, which puts the house edge in the hands of the player. That’s why the “True count” is so important.


True count = Running count / Decks Remaining


Example #1: If our running count is 10 and we have 5 decks remaining, our true count is 2 (10 ÷ 5 )


Example #2: If our running count is -7 and we have 2 decks remaining, our true count is -3 (-7 ÷ 2 )


When using the perfect basic strategy and also card counting, we can use this piece of information to bet according to our advantage. That’s how we card counters make our money! The true count will also warn us of when to change our playing strategy. We call these “playing deviations”. 


Step 4: Change your bettings as the true count rises and falls 

Besides, keeping a running count and a true count is essential to know when the house edge flips in favor of the player, but if you don’t use that piece of information to change how you play, you’ll just be playing a mentally exhausting game of blackjack. To capitalize on the clue you got from counting, you have to raise your bets as the true count rises. You want to bet big when the cards favor the player and small when the count is negative or neutral and doesn’t favor the player. Bankroll management and proper betting strategy can get pretty difficult some times, and it’s easy to cause a lot of damage to your bankroll if you don’t properly understand how to bet.


Should I become a card counter?

Beyond the weeks of training, card counters must master proper money management, and how to avoid detection from casino surveillance, knowing which rules to avoid, how to control the financial & emotional swings. So the main question is whether it’s worth it or not? There are various ways to make money. Furthermore, we are the first to admit that card counting just isn’t for everyone. We’ve earned millions at playing blackjack and training many people to beat casinos for millions. However, it’s all up to you to master the craft and take down the house. If you would like to find out whether card counting is a good fit for you, you can try playing on various online casino in Malaysia.


Learn more about blackjack by clicking links below:

  1. 5 Tips Your Blackjack Dealer Won’t Tell You
  2. 21 Stunning facts regarding Blackjack
  3. Blackjack Rules – The Ultimate Guide For you


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