The Art of Card Counting: Strategies for Blackjack

Blackjack is one of the most popular table games. Basically, in this card game, players try to collect cards with a face value of 21. If you’re looking for a winning strategy, you’ll find various ones online. But have you ever thought about the card-counting method?

You can count cards in blackjack in order to gain an edge over the online casino dealer. However, many people believe that this requires some special skills or that it is illegal. Luckily, both of these claims are not true. 

Right now, we’ll walk you through the three best methods of counting cards that will help you earn big wins. So, let’s not waste more time and get down to business!

Method 1: Hi-Lo Counting Strategy

The Hi-Lo counting technique is one of the most popular and the most often discussed among players. Due to this, we decided to start off with it and provide you with a step-by-step guide about everything you need to do!

Understand the Basis of Hi-Lo

As we mentioned, Hi-Lo is the most popular card-counting strategy. The key to this strategy is to figure out the value of the cards. In other words, if you have more high cards, you will be able to make more significant bets and increase the amount you can win. What’s more, you should think of a number that will tell you when and how much to bet or fold.

Simply put, it is very good if you have a deck with a positive number. From here, if the number is higher, you would like to bet more. And the higher the number, the more high cards you have left to play. 

Learn the Values of Each Card in the Deck

The crucial thing with the Hi-Lo counting method is that you must memorise the values of the cards. In order to keep track of the ratio of high to low cards, as well as knowing if the deck is in your favour, we suggest assigning the cards a value. Here is the general blackjack rule:

  • Cards 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 have a value of +1.
  • Cards 7, 8, and 9 have no value at all.
  • Cards that are worth 10 have a value of -1.
  • Aces have a value of -1.

Increase Your Bets if the Count is Positive

We already mentioned having a positive number, but what exactly does positive mean in terms of blackjack? If you’re a newbie, then keep in mind that having a positive result means at least 2. That said, if the count is higher, you should bet more. However, try not to exaggerate this and draw a lot of attention. 

In other words, it’s best if you increase your bet by one unit for each point that your count goes up. If you increase them more than this, then other players may figure out your strategy, and you definitely wouldn’t want that. 

Test Yourself Before Doing This for the First Time

In order to hide your counting strategy from the other players, we suggest testing yourself. To do this, you need to get a deck of cards, go through them, and keep track. Try to get through the deck for less than 25 seconds. 

Keep in mind that you should always end up at 0 if you’ve counted the cards correctly. 

Practice to Add Pairs Fast

Speed is everything in the Hi-Lo counting method. Due to this, you need to practice viewing pairs as a single number rather than an equation. For instance, if you have an Ace and a 3, your thought shouldn’t be “-1 and +1 = 0.” It should directly be “0.” 

One trick to master this is to remember that when you see a card between 2-6 and a high card above 10, they cancel each other out. 

Divide Your Running Count By the Decks That Should be Dealt

Casinos previously worked with only one deck, but this is long gone. Nowadays, it’s way more common to enter a blackjack game that works with 5 or 6 decks, which is the shoe of the game. Based on this, your running count may not be accurate. 

Fortunately, we have a simple solution for this. Just divide the running count by the number of decks that the dealer will deal with. For example, if your running count is +4 and there are four decks left, the actual count is +1. But let’s see two more tips:

  • Take a secret look at the discard tray to see how many decks are left.
  • Invert and multiply if you are working with a single deck. For example, if you have 3/4 of the deck left and the count is +4, multiply 4 with 4 and divide it by 3. 

Method 2: Advanced Card-Counting Techniques

Besides the most popular method for counting cards in blackjack, there are some more advanced ones. So, let’s get a better understanding of them.

Enhance Your Insurance with Hi-Opt II

Hi-Opt II has the highest insurance correlation of all strategies, along with an additional Ace count. Everything you need to do is to remember the value of the cards and add them up while playing. The rule is the same – the higher the count, the more frequently you should bet. 

  • Cards numbered 4 and 5 have a value of +2
  • Cards 2, 3, 6, and 7 have a value of +1
  • Cards 8 and 9 have a value of 0
  • 10s and face cards have a value of -2
  • Aces have a value of 0

Use Omega II to Track Aces

When it comes to Omega II, card value plays a huge role again. Therefore, keep in mind that: 

  • Cards 4, 5, and 6 are worth +2
  • Cards 10, J, Q, and K are worth -2
  • Aces are worth 0
  • Cards 2 and 7 are worth +0.5
  • Card 5 is worth +1.5
  • Card 9 is worth -0.5
  • Card 7 is worth +1

If the count is positive, then you have more low cards in the deck, but if it’s negative, you have higher cards. 

Try Back-Counting or Wonging

Wonging in refers to waiting for the table to be hot enough to join, and when you wong out, it means that the table is cold. However, you should do this on much bigger decks, as you’ll need to constantly wong in and out. 

Method 3: Camouflage Your Strategy

Last but not least, you can try camouflaging your strategy. There are a few ways that you can use to achieve this. 

Act Like a Tourist

If you want to hide your card-counting strategy, don’t look like you’re doing it. Card counters are known for playing blackjack for hours. So, try not to seem so focused in order to avoid others being suspicious about you. 

Sometimes, Let Your Bet Ride

You may be disqualified from the game if other players find out that you’re counting. Although it’s not illegal, they don’t like such players and kick them out. So, even if you have a positive count, don’t increase your bet very often. 

Appear Interested in Other Things Aside from the Game

Card counters reveal their intention by being so focused they don’t pay attention to anything aside from the game. So, try making small talk in order to improve the tense atmosphere. 

However, this technique may not be suitable if you’re not proficient enough in counting. To master this, you can practice at home with a TV on or by chatting with your family about their day or any other random things.

Be Subtle

The key to covering that you’re counting is not to make sudden moves. Keep in mind that not everyone spends time learning how to count cards, so if you act very impulsively, you’re likely to be discovered. 

Final Thoughts

Counting your cards when playing blackjack can definitely come in handy if you want to earn big wins. All you have to do is find some of the best online casinos, which you can do if you click to learn more and start practising the best card-counting method. 

You can choose from the Hi-Lo method, some of the more advanced techniques, or go with camouflaging your actions. Regardless of which technique you pick, make sure to master it before implementing it. Counting cards in blackjack is indeed an art!