Card counting is a trick used by seasoned players to get an edge over the casino. While some believe this to be a near impossible feat, counting cards can be mastered and used to increase the chances of winning a game of blackjack. In this guide we will provide you with 10 easy tips on card counting but do remember that this practice is generally frowned upon by casinos so you will also have to learn how to be subtle with your card counting.
Here are 9 Tips on How to Count Cards
1. Choosing the right card counting system
As is the case with anything in life, always start at the shallow end of the pool. In card counting terms this means choosing the right card counting system. Beginners should opt for the KO and Hi-Lo systems as they are less complex. As you start to become familiar with these, you can then move onto the more advanced systems for better returns.
2. Starting with small stakes
Like the first tip, it is always best to start off with small stakes when getting familiar to the practice of card counting. Start off with NZ $5 games or even lower if they are available at the casino. Losing with small stakes means you will have more leftover once the art of card counting has been mastered. Once you are confident in your skills then up the stakes and watch the money roll in.
3. Keeping an eye on the bankroll
You want to make sure that you have enough money in the bank when mastering the art of card counting. You are likely to go through a fair amount as you are learning how to master this skill, so it is always advisable to bet small and to keep an eye on how much money is leftover so that you can play more games in the future.
4. Using the Hi-Lo Strategy
With this approach, a value is assigned to a group of cards. Cards between 2 and 6 have a value of 1 while between 7 to 9 have the value 0. Both tens and aces have a value of -1. The trick here is to start with 0 and count the values to determine the possibility of next card being high or low.
5. Increasing bets with the Hi-Lo strategy
Once you are comfortable with Hi-lo strategy, you should start increasing the bets when the count is positive, +2 or better. The higher the count, the more you should bet on the game being player as it means that more high valued cards are left in the deck.
6. Considering all the cards in the hand
If one is holding the card number 3 and the other a Jack the cards will cancel each other out as they have values 1 and -1 respectively. This is important as card counting is all about keeping track of the tally and having the ability to do with speed and accuracy.
7. Keeping card counting very discreet
Do not approach the table like a pro and make it obvious that you have learnt the art of card counting. Remember what we mentioned earlier, card counting is frowned up so best to take it slow before you start winning big. It is best to blend in even act as a tourist or a beginner when you first approach the table. Once you feel enough time has passed, then unleash what you have learnt here and enjoy!
8. Increasing the bets at random
Live dealers are trained to spot any anomalies at the casino table. They will jump on the opportunity to shuffle the deck if they suspect suspicious activity at the table. This can be in the form on increased betting at specific intervals of the game so it is always best to bet in small increments and at random to avoid suspicion.
9. Having realistic expectations
The tips we have mentioned are here to help you increase your chances of winning. Do not take these as a definitive guide for winning at blackjack. Always play the game within your means and keep it fun. Card counting is not your ticket to winning, if it were then every other player would be winning big at blackjack but as mentioned before, if done right it can certainly improve your game.
The tips provided here are not enough to make you into a professional blackjack player, that feat alone requires hours and hours of dedication towards the game. However, they can help to elevate your existing game provided they are followed correctly. With a bit of skill and practice, players can start counting cards and improve their chances of winning.
A name closely associated with card counting is John Ferguson or better known to the blackjack world as Stanford Wong. Wong has been instrumental in elevating the game of blackjack having published several blackjack books. He has also created complex computer simulations that have elevated the blackjack to a great degree.
To give a bit of background on his genius, Wong has a Ph.D from Stanford University and was also a professor there. While in between these two activities, he also played casino blackjack and got good enough to be a professional player via his card counting techniques. It was during this time as a pro player that he decided to share his secrets and wrote the now legendary book entitled ‘Professional Blackjack’.
The book saw the light of day in 1975 and quickly became a hit with the blackjack community. Fueled by the success of his book, he also started a monthly newsletter called the ‘Current Blackjack News’ which shed light on rules of the game and the current events taking place at various casinos around the world. The newsletter gained even more popularity than the book and is still being published via his website BJ21.
Wong was a prolific writer and wrote many other books such as ‘Blackjack Secrets’, ‘Basic Blackjack’, ‘Tournament Blackjack’, ‘Winning Without Counting’, ‘Downtown Vegas Blackjack’, ‘Professional Video Poker’, ‘Wong on Dice’, ‘Sharp Sports Betting’ and ‘Optimal Strategy for Pai Gow Poker’. This shows the intellect of a man who developed strategies for many casino games.
He also used his knowledge to develop a computer program called the ‘Blackjack Analyzer’ that was helpful to players who were unsure on how the math behind the game worked. Such is his notoriety amongst the blackjack community that a technique called ‘Wonging’ has been named after him. This involves counting cards at a game that you are not actually playing and only participating once the cards become favourable. It is because of this that many casinos will not only you to join the game in the middle.