Card Counting in Blackjack: Beat the Odds in (2024)

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Blackjack Card Counting

Whether you have played Blackjack for real money online or at a land-based casino or not, the likelihood is that you’ll have heard the term Blackjack card counting. As far as famous casino stories go, the legend of a casino blackjack player getting the edge in a casino by counting cards has been a well-known casino story. Especially since the modern myth of the MIT team that systematically took down the might of Vegas casinos with their crack team of blackjack card counters, made famous in the book and film 21. This common practice has become casino lore and cracked down on at casinos by using various techniques like multiple blackjack card decks and shuffling methods.

Online Blackjack rules out the card-counting edge.

Playing Blackjack online essentially rules out finding an angle at Blackjack by Card counting since the virtual blackjack deck excludes single decks and uses a sophisticated RNG, making this method of winning at Blackjack impossible. However, it’s still worth looking at this widespread practice and how it came about.

What Is Blackjack Card Counting?

Card counting is a method used by casino blackjack players to increase their edge over the casino and gives the player an advantage when playing Blackjack. Card counters increase the size of their bets when they have the advantage, so they win overall. Players make no or minimal bets when they calculate the betting round not to be to their advantage. High cards like 10s, face or picture cards, and aces benefit the player more than the casino dealer, while lower cards are an advantage to the casino. Cards 7-9s are in the middle and count as neutral.

Blackjack Card Counting guide | Blackjack Card Counting | High-Low Strategy | Guide
Learn the revolutionary approach of counting cards in blackjack to increase your chances of beating the odds and winning big. Stay ahead with this comprehensive guide.

Counting Card in Blackjack: How does it work?

Here’s a quick and easy rundown of how the blackjack card counting system works:

  • Allocate a mark or tag of +1 to all cards 2-6 in the deck
  •  Tag every Card 10-Ace in deck -1
  •  Keep a running count of cards after the shuffle and add the tags as each Card is dealt
  •  If the count after a round of Blackjack is positive, undealt cards will consist of larger cards – so increase your bet
  •  If the count after a round of betting is negative, undealt cards will consist of lower cards – so decrease the size of your bet
  •  Bet more on positive counts, less on opposing, and overall, you’ll be coming out on top and get an edge on the casino
  •  Any method to increase your chances over the house edge is a massive win for a casino player.

Card Tags

  • +1 (Low Cards): 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
  •  0 (Neutral Cards): 7, 8, 9
  •  -1 (High Cards): 10, J, Q, K, A
Discover a groundbreaking system for Card Counting in Blackjack.
Discover a groundbreaking system for Card Counting in Blackjack.

What To Look For In Card Counting

Blackjack Card Counters must keep an eye on every Card that’s dealt. If most cards left in the deck are high, the card counter increases their bet. If, after a betting round, the remaining deck has lower cards, then the card counter lowers its stake or passes that betting round. The card count always begins at 0. So, as cards are dealt, the tally is made by adding or subtracting – i.e., +1 3, -1 J, = 0 Neutral. The card counter continues the count from every blackjack player’s and dealer’s hands until they reach a positive or negative count and decide whether to increase or decrease their bet size.

Practise makes perfect

Try practicing this card-counting technique using 1-6 decks of cards and keeping a tally of the results overall. You can hone your skills by using the tool or practicing blackjack card counting manually. If you ever find yourself in the casino with this skill under your belt, you could be the winning blackjack player at the table.

Pros and Cons of Blackjack Card Counting


Although no federal U.S. law prohibits Card counting as a method of winning at Blackjack, casinos consider the technique cheating. So, suppose you attempt to practice Card counting in a U.S. or European casino. In that case, the casino is within its rights to ban you and take away any winnings if it determines that you have been using Card counting to beat the casino.


Winnings are, of course, the most significant advantage of card counting. Blackjack is a strategic game; card counting isn’t cheating or manipulating the game unlawfully. It’s simply the most skilled mathematical way to win at Blackjack in the long run. Blackjack casinos are not big fans of players winning, so the stigma for card counting is conflated with cheating.

Blackjack Card Counting Teams

The MIT players were the most well-known blackjack card-counting team and famously won big against the casino. We only know about this card-counting team because of the ensuing drama. It’s safe to say that the best professional blackjack card-counting teams will not be heard of, as they’ll stay under the radar of the casino monitoring systems and won’t become headline news. A blackjack team working together efficiently gains 2-4% over the casino.

Is Card Counting possible with Online Blackjack?

It’s tricky to card count online, and our answer to whether card counting is possible on virtual blackjack tables is no. However, if you find an online blackjack casino game that doesn’t use the software that shuffles a deck of cards on every deal, you can use the same blackjack card counting technique described above. The advantage of Card counting with online Blackjack from your home is that you won’t be monitored as you would in offline casinos.

Can I use Card Counting on Live Dealer Casinos online?

Most Live Dealer Blackjack casino games, such as those run by Evolution Gamine, are extraordinarily savvy to the popular Card counting techniques, and they take lots of precautions and ways to ensure players are not getting an advantage over the casino by employing Card counting methods to win. It is possible to find a less established online live dealer platform to take advantage of if they need to use preventative measures against card counting. It’s worth taking a look at lots of different online blackjack games at Live Casinos to see if there is anywhere you might find an edge.

Experience the revolution in card counting with our Live Blackjack game online!
Experience the revolution in card counting with our Live Blackjack game online!

Recap of the Basics:

Here are the essential points to remember when practicing card-counting strategies at a casino:

Hi-Lo Strategy

  • Using the -1 and +1 methods when counting cards, you must keep a constant count of all cards dealt in a betting round.
  •  Give a +1, 0, or -1 value to every Card dealt.
  •  Count and keep track
  •  Tally up and calculate whether you have a Positive or Negative Count
  •  Increase or Reduce your bet according to your calculation

Advanced Card Counting Strategy

After the basic blackjack card counting strategy, it’s time to level up and discover the more advanced techniques of counting cards. Here are some of the most popular systems that well-known card counters and card counting teams have used in the past to gain an edge over the casino:

Wong Halves

Stanford Wong invented this technique—thus the name. It progresses from the basic Card counting strategy by assigning values, some fractions, to every Card: 1 = 3, 4, and 6. 0.5 = 2 and 7. 1.5 = 5. 0 = 8. -0.5 = 9. -1 – 10, J, Q, K, and Ace. This is called a “balanced system.”

Omega II

Omega II is another ‘balanced’ system of advanced Blackjack Card Counting. Bryce Carlson is the mastermind behind this well-known strategy. He wrote a book 1992 popularizing this strategy (much to the annoyance of both casinos and Card-counting pros). In this system, 1 = 2, 3, and 7. 2 = 4, 5, and 6. -1 = 9. -2 = 10, J, Q, K. 0 = 8, and Ace.

Team Blackjack Card Counting

The team effort has had a significant impact on Blackjack. Playing multiple decks over multiple tables, all being counted simultaneously, gives teams of blackjack card-counting experts a considerable edge over the casino. The art of the Team Card Counting effort is finding subtle, though effective, ways of communicating with each other across the casino floor without being detected.

Multiple Deck Strategy

Made famous by the alums of MIT, the now Hollywood story of this team of blackjack card counters focussed on the multiple deck methods. If a dealer uses various decks of cards in Blackjack, the hi-lo strategy can still work by dividing the running count by the remaining number of the deck – giving you the “true count.”

What’s the Winning Strategy?

Keeping it simple, the Hi-Lo card counting strategy has proven very effective for many years. To begin with, try out this primary method by playing at the lower stakes you’re comfortable with. When you’re more confident, try the other blackjack card counting techniques and see which is more profitable.

Isn’t Counting Cards Illegal In The U.S.?

The rules and laws around card counting vary depending on the state you’re playing Blackjack in. In Nevada, laws are put in place to stop card counting, but only if you’re caught using electronic aids or apps. Relying on your ability to keep score and judge the advantage of your betting, all in your head is not deemed unlawful. Blackjack card counting is not illegal but very unwelcome at casinos that depend on their house edge to make money.

Our Top Card Counting Tips

You’re ready to head to your casino and start your card-counting career. Here are a few words of wisdom to keep in mind:

Don’t go overboard

Always keep a close eye on your bankroll. Even if you have an edge, you might have little money left to play to your advantage if you bet too much.

Keep a low profile

It’s an age-old story, the casino blackjack player who gets too overconfident and blows his cover by being cocky. If you’re winning and want to keep winning, don’t show off or start strutting your stuff. Remember, the real winners at casinos are never heard about because they are discreet about winning.

Choose an excellent land-based casino.

Be careful about where you choose to play. A land-based casino that is legitimate but not so big that it’s overvigilant is the Goldilocks of blackjack casinos for card counters. A casino where you can be discreet is ideal.

Stick to your card-counting strategy.

Refrain from wavering your card-counting method. Consistency is essential to being a long-term winner when using any blackjack strategy.

FAQs for blackjack card counting

Ron Miller Avatar


Author Bio
Jill Bryant Avatar
Jill Bryant


Editor Bio
Jill is a leading author and table games expert. She writes extensively about game strategy and is passionate about helping players make the most of their casino experience.