Counting Cards & Card Counting Tutor
You've probably heard about counting cards, but you may not know
the degree to which it is a source of ongoing conflict between casinos
and professional gamblers. Card counting is perfectly legal, but
it's very unpopular in the gaming business. Players who exhibit
counting behavior for any reason will invariably find casino hospitality
cut short. Many of these behaviors would seem quite innocent to
the average player.
That's why you should understand how counting works even if you
don't count cards. I'm not encouraging you to do it, nor discouraging
you, but you're likely to find this information helpful either way.
you're interested in training yourself on counting cards regardless
of whether you're a novice card counter or advanced here at BlackjackProfessor.com
we provide a blackjack tutor to help you with your counting. For
some people it comes naturally and others need to work at it more.
The program runs directly in your browser, however you have to be
able to run Java Applets so if you can't for some reason view the
program after the pop up window opens you'll have to download the
Java Virtual Machine located here.
Otherwise to open the blackjack counting tutor click
here and start practicing.
The Origin of Card Counting
Blackjack was once like roulette, craps, and all the other casino
games. It looked easy to beat, but it actually gave the house a
nice edge. Then someone did the unthinkable. In 1962 Edward O. Thorp
published Beat the Dealer, a Best-selling book that described a
system for beating blackjack. For once it was true; the gambling
At first it was only a handful of professionals, who earned a tidy
living playing blackjack, but numbers grew and the casinos realized
they were losing money. Multiple decks, frequent shuffling, and
other measures were put into place to discourage card counting.
That helped, but the basic mathematics of blackjack couldn't be
changed. Every measure brought a countermeasure. Every casino response
was studied and new counting systems were invented.
How Counting Works
There are many methods to counting cards. Contrary to popular belief,
none of them involves memorizing all the cards in the deck. I'm
going to explain one of the simplest counting systems, called Hi-Lo.
When a card leaves the deck it changes the probability of receiving
any one of the remaining cards. You've probably noticed that tens
favor players because they make nice pat hands and usually cause
the dealer to bust when he hits. Small cards have the opposite effect.
A player using Hi-Lo simply scans the cards as they are revealed
during play and assigns a number to each one. Cards with a value
of two, three, four, five, and six become +1. Seven eight, and nine
are zero. Tens, face cards, and aces are -1. The numbers are added
and the result is a measure of how many tens and aces are left in
the deck compared to smaller cards.
Let's say it's only you and the dealer playing with a freshly shuffled
deck. At the end of the first hand you have two tens and the dealer
busted with a ten, a three, and another ten. Great for you, but
on a single deck the count is now -3. The cards remaining in the
deck favor the dealer. You might win the next hand and the next
one after that but those little cards will come back to haunt you.
Conversely, if the count is positive, you can expect big fat tens
to come out of the deck at some point, even if you're losing.
Card counters divide the running count by the number of decks remaining
in the shoe to get the "true count," so -4 is only -1
when playing a six-deck game with four decks left in the shoe. All
this information is used to make decisions, including, when to deviate
from basic strategy, when to take insurance, and how much to bet.
Bets are raised when the count is up and lowered when the count
That's how counting works. Casinos really hate it. A good card
counter can turn a slim house edge into a plump 1.5 percent player
advantage and (with luck) win thousands in a matter of minutes.