Card Counting


Blackjack has one important difference when compared to most other games in the casino.

It is beatable.

Since multiple hands of the game are dealt to players between shuffles, a smart player can use information about the cards that have already been dealt to predict something about the cards to come.

Unlike games like roulette or craps where the previous spins or rolls have no impact on future decisions, each hand in blackjack depletes the remaining deck of the cards that were used. From that simple fact arises the idea of card counting, a legal advantage play method that can provide the player a real mathematical advantage over the casino.

If the remaining cards to be dealt have a higher than normal ratio of tens and aces compared to the smaller cards, the player’s advantage is increased. Thus, card counting is simply a method of determining when the remaining deck is player-favorable. When the deck is “rich” in tens and aces, the card counter places correspondingly larger wagers. When the deck instead has more small cards such as twos through sixes, the card counter will bet as little as possible or leave the table.

With the help of the articles and discussions listed below, you’ll find that card counting is not just for math geniuses, despite misleading media portrayals like the movies Rain Man or “21”. Instead, most players who are willing to put forth some time and effort can learn to beat the game of blackjack.

Articles About Card Counting

Card Counting Resources

7 comments on “Card Counting

  • Ken Wu said:

    Hello there, firstly, I apologise if this has been asked and answered already, but could you go to a casino and watch a game from the sidelines whilst counting the table then when the edge is in the player’s favour, makes bets within basic strategy then? Not do this over and over but say for one or two rounds. Be in and out, make your profit (or loss) and leave?

    • Yes. Backcounting a table and dropping in when the count is good can be a very effective approach. It’s also known as “Wonging”, named for Stanford Wong.
      Although many casinos now restrict mid-shoe entry to prevent this and similar strategies, it’s quite common still. For low bankrolls especially, this is a great way to play against the shoe games.

      • Ken Wu replied:

        Great! Thank you for your reply. I’ve been doing my homework and I’m excited to invest at the table as per the brilliant guidelines laid out in the lessons on here. I live in England and the casinos that I’ve been to seem to allow you to watch from the sidelines and join in at anytime.

        • Bob replied:

          Yeah but it then becomes really obvious that your card counting had the casino will kick you out. I wouldn’t bother, if it were really that easy, everyone would be doing it and the casinos will lose money.

  • John ( a very wealthy gambler willing to bet a lot of money .) said:

    i called up the Mirage casino in Las Vegas five years ago I did not bother to call again on this date September 24 , 2015
    asked is card counting legal they said no and i said even if i bet 5000 thousand dollars on seven hands at a table and they still said no

    if i am standing on hard 13 , 14 , 15 they know i am studying the cards very well and if i bet much more money when the deck is rich in high cards they will no doubt know what i am deciding to do
    if i leave the table when there are a lot of low cards in the deck they know what i am doing what do you think about my comments ?

    • I don’t know why anyone would call the casino and ask that question. Still, no matter what the Mirage chose to tell you, card counting is of course perfectly legal. And yet the casino is also within their legal rights to tell you that you can’t play if they think you have an advantage. Welcome to the cat and mouse game of card counting.

      Counting cards is the easy part. Staying welcome to play is the difficult part. You are certainly not going to be able to just camp out at tables for hours on end varying your bets directly with the count. At low stakes to mid black chip action, you can survive by keeping sessions short and moving around a lot between casinos.
      At the very highest stakes, this tactic is less useful. For bets in the thousands, there are better ways to beat them than card counting. At that level, you should be able to demand a percentage rebate if you lose on a trip. If you handle that well, it can be worth much more than counting.

    • observer replied:

      Wow. While you were at it, did you contact the united chess federation while and ask if it’s against the law to think about your moves before you make them or if you’re legally required to move randomly when playing chess (not just by the rules of the game, but under penalty of law)? Maybe ask if it’s a misdemeanor or a felony to not move at random? You obviously either think we live in Orwell’s 1984 subject to enforcement by thought police (what, it’s illegal to try to REMEMBER something now? And we’re not even talking about a GOOD memory, a FISH could remember that much, it’s laughable how much an intellectual thing counting cards ISN’T) or don’t even know what counting cards is. All it is, is remembering a stupid number that starts at 0 at the beginning of the shoe, adding 1 to the total whenever you see a low card dealt out, subtracting 1 when you see a high card dealt out! Remembering a number. That’s IT! That’s all it is! That’s all it’s ever been! “Card counter” shouldn’t even be a NOUN! It’d be like “move thinker” in chess. If you’re not counting cards, it’s not that you’re avoiding cheating, you’re simply playing badly. Just like the chess player who refuses to do anything but move at random isn’t somehow doing something ETHICAL by refusing to form any sort of plan in his moves and play the game well, he’s just not playing the game well, he’s playing it like a 4 year old is all! You’re either counting cards or you’re playing badly. Those are your choices. And if you call the casino and announce your intention to count cards, you are an even bigger idiot than the people who go to the casino and play blackjack and DON’T count cards (i.e. play the game BADLY). Because the casinos make their money from stupid people. They don’t want people who play it well, they want imbeciles. And being a BUSINESS, they have a right to refuse to do business with anyone they want to, you’re just telling them you’re one of those people who they want to not do business with. Whatever. At best you’re a shill for a casino to ask a question like that on a website like this, but probably just someone who intellectually reaffirms my cynicism and disgust for the human race.

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