Blackjack Strategy

Arguably my favorite game – I use a simplified method to count cards, make sure to have a notepad or something similar up while playing, also, ALWAYS choose the seat last to act. If that seat is not available, wait until it is. We want to MAXIMIZE our edge. You should also find a casino that offers good rakeback and bonuses, which Stake has far and beyond the most lucrative deals in both

Here is my method:

Step 1: Assign A Value To Every Card

Card Counting Values

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

  • 2-6 = +1
  • 7-9 = 0
  • 10-Ace= -1

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

Step 2: The Running Count

Keep A Running Count By Adding Or Subtracting Every Card That You See In Each Shoe.

As each card is dealt, we will update our “running count” with the new information we are given.

How To Count Cards Example

EXAMPLE #1: The running count for this round is 0 (zero).

Counting Cards Example

EXAMPLE #2: The running count for this round is +1

Blackjack Card Counting Example 3

EXAMPLE #3: 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 round after round until the dealer shuffles the cards again. Back in the days of single deck blackjack, this information would have been enough to start betting accordingly. If the running count increases, the advantage begins shifting to the player. If the running count goes negative, the casino’s advantage increases.

Step 3: Calculate A “True Count” Or Count Per Deck

In an attempt to thwart card counters, casinos began using multiple decks. Nice try, Casinos! To use our running count 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 step below.

Having a +5 running count with 6 decks remaining is a completely different scenario from having a +5 running count with only 1 deck remaining. In the first instance, there is less than 1 additional high card per deck remaining so the player doesn’t have the advantage yet. It’s not just the number of extra high cards that matters to a 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 remaining, we know that there are 5 extra 10’s and Aces in the remaining 52 cards, which puts the edge in the hands of the player! That’s why the “True Count” is so valuable.

True Count Conversion

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

Step 4: Change Your Bets As The True Count Rises And Falls

Keeping a running count and a true count are essential to knowing when the house edge flips in favor of the player, but if you don’t use that information to change how you play, you’ll just be playing a mentally exhausting game of blackjack. In order to capitalize on the information you get from counting, you have to raise your bets as the true count rises. You want to bet really big when the cards favor the player and really small when the count is negative or neutral and doesn’t favor the player. Bankroll management and proper betting strategy can get complicated, and it’s easy to cause a lot of damage to your bankroll if you don’t properly understand how to bet. This article gives a good overview of the things involved: