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Many people often ask whether blackjack card counting is a legal strategy. That’s why I have dedicated this guide to help you to understand what it is and how it works. You will find the steps you must follow to count cards. It is essential to understand that counting cards in blackjack is simple, but it can take some time to master the art. 

Before we begin, know that card counting in blackjack has nothing to do with memorizing, as many people tend to believe. It is about determining the value of dealt cards and the ones remaining in the shoe.

Below is a step-by-step guide to how blackjack card counting is done:


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5 Steps to Counting Cards in Blackjack for Beginners

Follow the simple steps to learn how to count cards in blackjack games:

Step 1: Assigning Value to Cards

If you play Hi-Lo games, the most common card-counting system, you should know that each card has a value. Cards 2 to 6 have a +1 count; cards 7 to 9 have a 0 or neutral count; and cards 10 to Ace have a -1 count. So, you must add or subtract as each card is dealt. Alternatively, you can do nothing depending on the card values.

Step 2: The Running Count

A running count starts from zero. So, you must add or subtract each card’s value from the count as each card is dealt. As a card counter, you must repeat this process until the dealer reshuffles the cards. 

Step 3: Calculating True Count

You determine the ‘True Count’ by dividing the running count by the number of decks remaining. Most online casinos offer multi-deck blackjack games to prevent card counters from gaining an advantage over the house edge. Calculating ‘True Count’ in games with multiple decks means considering the concentration of high cards compared to low cards.

Step 4: Adjust Your Bets with the Rise and Fall of the True Count

The reason for keeping a True Count and a running count is to know when the house edge shifts in favor of players. This information should help you to play effectively. To benefit from the information gotten from card counting, you must be able to raise your bets when the True Count rises. Having good bankroll management skills is essential as it will help you to distribute your bet accordingly.

Find more tips to win online blackjack in my previous post. I have shared the best tips from professional blackjack players.

Step 5: Be Very Discreet

Although card counting is not illegal, many casinos prevent players from using it because it lowers the house edge. In fact, you can be ejected from a casino for counting cards in blackjack. Dont make yourself too noticeable to avoid problems.

How to Use Advanced Card Counting Strategies

The good thing about playing blackjack online is that you can employ advanced card-counting strategies to maximize your winning opportunities. 

Here are the steps to follow:

Card Counting Using Omega II System

In the Omega II system, all cards numbered 2, 3, & 7 have a value of +1, and cards 4, 5, & 6 have a value of +2. Also, card 9 has a -1 value, while face cards and Tens have a -2 value, and 8 & Aces are 0. When you see a positive count, it means more low cards are remaining in the deck, and negative shows more high-value cards in the deck. 

Utilize the Wong Halves Card Counting Strategy

With the Wong halves strategy, cards 3, 4, and 6 are valued at +1. Cards 2 and 7 are valued at +0.5, and card 5 is worth +1.5. Cards 8 are 0, 9 is -0.5, while the Ace and face cards have a -1 value.

Use the Victor Advanced Point Count

When you use the Victor Advanced Point count, Ace & 8 are valued as 0. Blackjack cards 2, 3, 4, and 6 are valued as +2. Ten has a value of -3, 5 as +3, and 9 is -1. 

How Casinos Prevent Card Counting in Blackjack

Card counting cards in online live blackjack can be challenging, especially if you are a beginner. As I mentioned, casinos invest in the latest technology to detect and prevent counting cards. Here are 5 things casinos do to prevent card counting:

  1. Using Continuous Shuffling Machines (CSM) to continually shuffle decks.
  2. Replacing 8-deck shoe after 50% of cards are played.
  3. Reducing the number of rounds per hour.
  4. Using card scanners to identify duplicates and other frauds.
  5. Adjusting blackjack rules to favor the house.

If you want to count cards online, look for live casinos that payout 3:2 for blackjack. Also, you should choose tables where dealers shuffle cards manually or use batch shufflers.

Is Blackjack Card Counting Legal in the US?

Card counting is legal in online and land-based casinos in the US. However, the act is deemed illegal if a player uses software or a remote device to aid in counting cards. Also, many casino operators reserve the right to ban card counters as they believe it gives players an upper hand in winning.

You can find out more about the legality of online casino gambling in the US in my previous posts on this site. Please find some time to read through.

Common Blackjack Card Counting Myths

Several myths have been associated with card counting in blackjack games. These are the most common theories spread by players over the past years:

  • One must be able to memorize cards to succeed in card counting.
  • One is always due a win.
  • Counting cards can generate big wins in a short time.
  • One player’s mistake affects other players’ chances of winning.
  • Card counters never lose a hand.

Blackjack Card Counting FAQs

Can you make a living counting cards in blackjack?

Like other blackjack strategies, card counting does not guarantee that you will win. This is a system to lower the house edge and increase your winning odds. Given time and practice, you can land good wins from card-counting blackjack.

When should I increase my when counting cards in blackjack?

Blackjack card counters follow a specific system to establish the ratio of low and high-value cards in the shoe. It is recommended to increase your stake when the running count of cards is high.

Can I win blackjack without using card counting strategy?

Yes, you can employ other optimal betting systems to reduce the house edge in blackjack. Alternatively, you can follow these expert online blackjack tips to maximize your chances of winning. 

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