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The general principle of card counting in Black jack

The general principle of card counting in Blackjack is to remember the cards dealt in order to adapt your betting to the current shoe. The more high value cards it holds, the more the shoe is to your advantage, and, therefore, the more chips you should bet. There are several systems for counting cards.

Counting the cards

Generally, when using a card counting system, you start with zero before the first card is dealt from the shoe. Afterwards, this number will evolve, according to the system you are using and the cards that have been dealt. All the cards are taken into account, your own, of course, but also those of other players and those belonging to the dealer. Often, the systems are positive. This means that the further the count is from zero, the more weak cards have been dealt, therefore, the more strong cards the shoe contains. In this case, you have several advantages:

  • The dealer often risks busting – passing 21 and losing the game.
  • You will form Blackjacks more frequently.
  • Your first two cards will allow you to have strong initial hands.

It’s at this time that you are advised to raise your bets since you have a mathematical advantage over the house. Despite all this, you should not allow your vigilance to slacken since the count could lower at any moment.

The different systems

As we have already mentioned, there are many card counting systems. If you are just beginning, you might ask yourself which one to choose. The majority of the time, for novices, it is preferable to begin with the simplest method. With this in mind, we advise you to try HI-LO count or other plus/minus system, or KO count. If you master these systems well, you can move on to Hi-Opt I and II, which are more complex, but also more effective when the shoe contains one or two decks of cards.

Follow the count

There are several ways to follow the card count. No one method is more effective than another. It all depends on you. Some players use their chips, which they lay out in a certain way. Others use their fingers or their toes. In the film, Las Vegas 21 with Kevin Spacey, we follow the true story of the famous MIT Blackjack team that landed high-stakes winnings amounting to several million dollars. Their method consisted of counting cards as a team.