Card counting is a strategy in blackjack that will track the ratio of high cards (cards that are worth 10 or 11) to the low cards that are still in the dealer’s shoe. A deck with a lot of high cards is good for the player because you are more likely to score a blackjack. A blackjack pays out at three to two. So, when you up your bet when your chances of a blackjack are higher will give you a slight statistical advantage over hundreds of hands.
This mathematical advantage can increase because the dealer has a slightly higher chance of busting when the deck has a lot of high cards. Also, doubling down becomes more profitable for you when the shoe has a lot of high cards.
There actually are many card counting systems. This article focuses on the easiest card counting (estimation) system for beginners.
Card counting tips are below. Enjoy!
1. Counting Cards Doesn’t Require Rain Man-Like Genius
You don’t need to be able to count how many toothpicks are on the floor, like in the movie, to be able to count cards well. It is important to be able to really focus your mind in a distracting situation (loud casino). Also, you will need to have the self-discipline that is needed to master the essential skills at home before you ever try it with money at stake.
Most casinos do not look kindly on card counting, so you need to be able to do your counting without looking like you’re doing it. This can be the hardest skill to master of all.
2. Counting Cards Does Not Mean You Count Every Card Played
A typical card counting system is going to assign a value to certain important cards. This usually is +1 or -1. You will keep a running total in your mind. Based upon the total at a given moment, you will increase or decrease your blackjack bets. How hard a particular card counting system is will affect its accuracy. That is, the harder the system, the more statistical advantage you will gain.
3. The Easiest Card Counting System For Beginners
Card counters generally agree that the easiest system is Wizard’s Ace Five Count. You start your count at zero. And every ace you see played counts as -1, and ever five you see played counts as +1. The idea is to bet one unit when the count is zero or less. When the count is above zero, you bet two units times the number of the count. So, you would bet two units at +1, four units at +2, and so forth.
We find that the Wizard’s Ace Five Count will work the best with a six deck shoe and the dealer must stand on a soft 17, late surrender is OK, and the player can resplit the aces. This strategy only nets you a competitive advantage of .22%. However, with free drinks you get and any added perks the casino offers, you may be able to make some money. This counting system is simple to learn and quite easy to implement.