Card Counting Basics Study

A lot of people heard about card counting in blackjack game and probably have some idea that there were folks who contrived to make money in casinos while playing blackjack. But you can hardly find a person who can adequately explain the principles of card counting so that one can understand it in a right way.

So what is card counting?

The main idea

In the process of gambling due to blackjack rules dealer usually stands on 17 points and higher (for those who don't know the terms it's advisable to read basic blackjack rules). One of his cards is shown to players and they make decisions according to that card. Also for splitting and doubling, which is allowed only to players, sometimes definite cards are needed.


All this leads to an idea which is rather simple in its formula but also difficult in practice: there are definite cards which are profitable for the player and also there are cards which are profitable for the dealer. A lot of famous card counters worked over this topic to find out most accurate calculations and card values, but in general the idea appears to be as following:

  • Small value cards like 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 are more profitable to the DEALER.

This is explained rather simply. As far as dealer has to stand on all 17s and higher, the more smaller cards remain in the deck, the higher is dealer's chance to get more closely to 21 and stand automatically without busting. So when a lot of small cards left in the game, it's no good to the player.

  • On the contrary, big value cards like 10, J, Q, K and Ace are profitable to the PLAYER.

They increase the dealer's chance of busting, and make splitting and doubling more confident, as when the player doubles he always expects to result a high score with the following card, and the highest scores are given by 10-value cards.

  • CONCLUSION: The more small value cards remain in the deck, the less chances of winning are left to the player. The more 10-valued cards remain in the deck, the bigger player's chances are.

It ends in a logical decision: you should count the amount of these or that cards which left the game, and basing on those calculations pre-determine your chances of winning using the remaining deck.

And out of the abovementioned conclusion there follows a next one: let's suppose that the game just began, but the chances don't favor you. What should you do? Leave the game? But maybe chances are going to change after the next few hands?

And let's suppose that chances are really high, and the next few hands are going to be yours mostly for sure, but you don't have enough money to bet to win more, and the only thing you win is a 10 dollar chip. Do you feel that something is wrong here?


The answer is simple. Counting itself is just a half of the process, and maybe not even that important.

  • Remember: your bets should always be varied according to your chances, which have already been determined by card counting. Bet HIGH when chances are yours and bet LOW when they don't favor you.

Only this kind of approach will enable you to become really successful. As a result you should always have enough bankroll to bet in case you occasionally lose a considerable sum (read more about bankroll management in Earnings and bankroll section).