Card Counting (BlackJack)

Card counting in blackjack is a method of counting cards to determine the probability of what cards will be dealt next.

When used with a  proper betting strategy, card counting is one of the only gambling strategies that can actually give the player an “edge” on the house.

Basics of Card Counting

There are a number of different types of counting methods. The depth of the method can yield different results, but we suggest starting with the most simple method.

The Most Simple Card Counting Method for BlackJack

The most simple card counting strategy is called Hi-Lo. It really is just as simple as counting high cards and low cards, as it’s name implies.

  • 2-6 get’s a “count” of plus one.
  • 7-9 get’s a “count” of zero.
  • 10, J, Q, K, A gets a count of minus one.

The counter starts at zero and simply ads or subtracts 1 or 0 depending upon what card is dealt. The number gives the player “the count”.

If the count is high, that means there are more “ten cards” in the deck. This favors the player winning and thus the player should bet more.

If the count is low, that means there are more 2-6’s in the deck. That favors the dealer and the thus the player should bet the minimum.

The True Count

The above version of Hi-Low is fairly simple, but it leaves out one important factor. The less card’s left in the deck, the more meaningful the count becomes.

The true count requires taking the count and comparing it to the amount of cards left in the shoe. This gives the player a “true count” of the ratio of high or low cards left.

Other Card Counting Strategies

The following table illustrates a few ranking systems for card counting. Many others exist.

Card Strategy 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10, J, Q, K A
Hi-Lo +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 0 0 0 −1 −1
Hi-Opt I 0 +1 +1 +1 +1 0 0 0 −1 0
Hi-Opt II +1 +1 +2 +2 +1 +1 0 0 −2 0
KO +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 0 0 −1 −1
Omega II +1 +1 +2 +2 +2 +1 0 −1 −2 0
Red 7 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 +0.5 0 0 −1 −1
Zen Count +1 +1 +2 +2 +2 +1 0 0 −2 −1



Blackjack is a table game, typically found at casinos, where the goal is to get 21 Blackjack without going over 21.

How to Play Blackjack

Blackjack Strategy

Top 10 Blackjack Tips

Here are our top 10 blackjack tips. These expert blackjack tips will ensure you get the best odds when playing blackjack.

  1. Count cards and bet based on the Count (optional)
  2. Know how many Aces are left in the deck. Aces increase your chances of getting blackjack. If you have access to a side-bet that favors blackjack. Take the side-bet when the deck is rich in aces and tens for a slightly risky, but high short term return.(optional)
  3. Never take side-bets (unless the count favors a side-bet)
  4. Assume the dealer has a 10
  5. Stand on 12 or higher if dealer is showing 6 or lower
  6. Hit on 12 or higher if dealer is showing 7 or higher
  7. Don’t split things that start with a “f” (fours, fives, faces) or 10s
  8. Always split Aces and 8s
  9. Always double down on 11
  10. Never double down on 8 or lower, or 13 or higher

Following the above rules you will increase your odds of winning substantially.

If haven’t learned at least basic card counting strategy and/or basic blackjack strategy, you should keep in mind the Casino will still have the edge and statistically you will lose money over time.

Simply following rules 3 – 10 to play better than the average BJ player and bring your edge pretty darn close to 50%.

You’ll break some of the rules when using perfect strategy and have mastered the count, but for now simply following the above will bring down a potential house edge of around 4% – 1% or less.