Card Counting Basics for Beginners

We all remember the first time we watched the film 21. Six MIT students were selected for their skills in math to play and beat casino games. By the end, they made enough to put themselves through school and more.

The way they master the game is through card counting, and they make it look simple. While proper card counting takes quick math skills, almost anyone can do it. You’ll need focus and practice, but it could give you a winner’s edge in your next match!

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Learn the Basics

Learn the BasicsThe way card counting works is by reading the cards and predicting the outcome. Blackjack is one of the easiest games to use this strategy on, so here’s how it works. Any card between 2 and 6 adds +1 to a player’s hand, the cards 7 through 9 equal +0, and cards 10 through Ace are -1.

Card counting keeps track of a player’s hand and suggests a higher or lower bet based on the number. But the game asks for a little more from players. Here are some terms to become familiar with:

Running count: This is the total number that the dealer and each player's cards add up to across the board.

More than one deck: To win back an edge, casinos have started adding more decks in a game. This means counters need to think ahead.

True count: Because of more than one deck, the true count refers to the amount of high to low cards remaining in the game.

A simple way to keep up with these is by knowing the running count and placing your bet based on the remaining decks. With the true count revealed, you can decide what to bet for the next deal. Many sites have created a simple walkthrough of card counting to help you on the road to pro! Take a look at the link for more information.

Make Your Bet

Make Your BetIt's complicated, to say the least. That’s why it’s crucial to practice these steps and become familiar with these terms. A champion counter can keep up with the true count while making smart choices with their hand. It may not come naturally to some, but practice makes perfect!

Once the format becomes comfortable, make it clear to yourself what your goals are. You can shoot for the moon, but there’s no fail-safe way to become a star card counter without being smart. The simple way to keep up is by placing bets when you’ve decided if the rest of the deck is high or low. High bets take place when a more considerable amount of 10 through Aces have played. When the cards dealt have left the true count high, a low stake is a safe way to keep your earnings in hand.

Places to Practice

Places to PracticeIf card counting is what you’re going for, find a way to practice that reduces the risk of losing. But that also helps boost your confidence. Whenever you learn a new card game, make sure you’re with a group of people you know and trust.

Games like euchre work on your quick decision-making skills. It may not include the risky bets of Blackjack, but it helped me stay focused. Don't make the mistake of knowing the basics and deciding your fit for the tables. Part of the skill in card counting is knowing how to read your opponents. Yes, it’s necessary to take risks to learn, but practice reading your friends and family while playing at home to start.

Find a crowd you can show off in while keeping your payroll intact. If you're looking for a place to practice your skills, try Blackjack Card Counting Trainer. This app is available for free on the App store with alternate options on the google play store.

Knowing Your Opponent

Knowing Your OpponentSome say the best defence is a better offence. It doesn’t quite work that way as a sports player, but with card counting in blackjack, it does. Once you’ve gotten a grasp of the basics and have played some serious games, you can begin to read your opponents.

This game is perfect for watching what your opponents’ choices are and then to play on their tendencies. If they play a risky bet and then another bet, your best play could be to play safe and smart against their bets.

You may also find no one playing a risk or earning more and decide it's your chance to get ahead. But good things come with time, so take the time to read the table first and then make moves against other players. Then a good offence might be the right play.

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Play Smart but Be Smarter

Regardless of how smart and strategic card counting may be, many casinos won’t tolerate players who do it. They may even kick you out if they see you're doing it. Thus the tips and tricks on this page are just that. Remember to gamble and if you plan on card counting, make sure you play smart and be smarter.

Lucas Goldberg
Lucas, a seasoned site editor at CasinoCanada, boasts a decade-long journey in the gambling industry with a focus on providing players with meticulous reviews and insights of online games and casinos.
Site Editor
University of Toronto
Bachelor of Arts in Communications, Digital Media, and Journalism, PlayTech Analytics career, communication with users through high-quality gambling content.
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Reviewed by Head of Content:
Dmitry Rogalchuk
Last updated on: 20.02.2024

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