Learning how to count cards is one of the strategies that players use to win in casino games such as blackjack and poker. By counting the cards, you will be able to compute the possibility of a high or low card being dealt to you. The cards that have been dealt will give you a idea of what cards remain in the card dealering shoe.
The most common card counting system is the High-Low and it is used for blackjack. Card counting can only be done at a newly opened table as the cards have to be counted from the first card, including the first two discards if there are any. All the hands on the table has to be counted, the dealers, yours, and the other players.
There is an assigned value to every card:
2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 = +1
7, 8, and 9 = 0
Ace, 10, Jack, Queen, and King = -1
The system is simple, just add or minus the values of the card dealt.
Dealer’s hand: Ace, 8, 1 = -1 +0 +1 = 0
Other player’s hand: 7, 6, 2, 5 = 0 +1 +1 + 1 = +3
Your hand: King, 5, 5 = -1 +1 +1 = +1
Total for this game = +4
When you do a card count of 1, 4, 6, or 8 decks, the probability differs. To get the true count, divide the running count by the number of decks:
Running count is +12 divided by 4 decks = +3
Running count is +9 divided by 6 decks = +1.5 round off to +2
Running count is -5 divided by 8 decks = -0.62 round off to -1
Note: You cannot ask the dealer or any casino personnel how many decks there are in a shoe. Card counting is not allowed in many casinos and asking this question might cause you to be banned. Observe a table for a while to see how many decks there are by looking at the discarded cards, or play games from the beginning to the end of a shoe on one table. The usual blackjack dealing shoe in a casino holds 4 decks, but it can vary from table to table.
When and How to bet
When half the cards in the dealing shoe have been dealt, you can begin to apply the betting strategy. Deals when the true counts falls in between – 5 to +5 are not played. The higher the positive number, the higher the probability that the next card you will be deal is a high card. The larger the negative number, the higher the probability that the next card you will get is a low number. Based on the true count, you can decide whether you will ask for a hit or not.