Secrets of Blackjack Card Counting

What's all the fuss about blackjack card counting? Is it really such an advanced, mysterious technique that none but the most gifted or experienced blackjack players can do? This page looks at card counting and the secrets to its successful use.

One secret of card counting is that it is not really counting cards as you might think! In card counting, you do not count individual cards. Instead, a numerical value is given to each card and it may be the same value given to several other cards. It is these values that you keep track of and combine as you count. In other words, each card has a "code" and it is the code that you count.

The value of each card depends on the card counting system you use. There are many of them and the standard for beginners is the Hi/Lo Count.

Another secret is basic strategy. Unless you know basic strategy for blackjack like you know your own birth date, you should not try card counting at all. That's because while counting, you will be playing basic strategy! Without it, all the potential advantage you could get from counting would be lost.

Third secret: Speed. You must be able to play by basic strategy and count cards faster than you can think. We mean just that: you must be able to do them without even thinking about it. It must be second nature. You have to remember that card counting is frowned upon by casinos. If you get caught, you will be asked to either leave the casino or play another game or make flat bets.

Don't worry. Speed comes with practice. Just practice card counting and basic strategy as often as you can.

Fourth secret of card counting: Use the right strategy for the blackjack game you play. Before card counting came into the limelight, casinos used only single decks for blackjack. Now most use multiple deck or shoe games. Some card counting systems are best for single deck games, others are strong for shoe games. Know the rules for blackjack in your chosen casino and find the best counting system for it.

Also, you should choose a system that suits your playing style. If you are going to spend many hours each week playing blackjack, choose a simple counting system. A simpler card counting system has less room for error and is thus easier to use. Do not use a complex system as it would cause you to make more mistakes. A complex but more profitable system is better if you are going to play fewer hours of blackjack each week so you can make the most of your limited playing time.

As you can see, there is no magic to card counting. You just have to know a few secrets for better execution. Practice card counting in this way and it will pay off in the long run.