What Is Card Counting?

James Smith
July 13, 2020
Modified: June 28, 2023

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Card counting is one of the important techniques that can be used in the game of blackjack online. The strategy of counting cards is very easy to understand. Blackjack card counting is a system or strategy that can be used to determine if the next hand will be of advantage to the dealer or the player. However, counting cards is not a way that you can use to win constantly in blackjack, rather, it as a normal technique that can give you a better clue on what is remaining in the deck.

Also, it has been proven that low-value cards give the dealer an advantage, whereas, high-value cards give the blackjack player more advantage. Card counting involves monitoring the ratio of high-value to low-value cards that are remaining in the deck of cards. Free blackjack is the best option to learn how counting cards works in blackjack.

At Betiton casino, we provide you with the necessary information to practice your blackjack card counting. For more information, you should consider checking out our detailed blackjack guide.

What’s the History of Card Counting?

To better understand card counting in blackjack, it is important that you know its origin. The history of counting cards can be traced back to the 19th-century. The strategy of card counting was first developed by U.S. Army dubbed the Four Horsemen. In 1957, they published a book titled “Playing Blackjack to Win”. 1962 saw an advancement in the book as it was further improved upon by a mathematician known as Ed Thorp in his book titled “Beat the Dealer”.

In Ed’s book, he used early computers to prove the earlier work of the Four Horsemen in the aspect of probability that card counting strategy can give blackjack players a little edge over the house. He also proved that it is possible to know the cards left based on the cards that have been played. However, many other books such as “Playing Blackjack as a Business” by Lawrence Revere and “Million Dollar Blackjack” by Ken Uston were also published on blackjack card counting. It is also important that you understand the rules of blackjack before you get started.

What Is Card Counting?

Card counting in blackjack is a system of strategy that can be used to determine if the player or the dealer is at an advantage. The concept of counting cards is that a deck that contains a high concentration of aces and 10s (high-value card) gives the player an advantage and a deck of cards that contain a high concentration of face or low-value card is good for the dealer.

Additionally, counting cards requires that a blackjack player keep track of the cards remaining in the deck. However, this should be done in the player’s mind without the casino’s knowledge. Counting cards does not give a player 100% chances of winning when playing the game of blackjack, rather it gives 44% chances over a certain period. Additionally, blackjack players should not depend solely on card counting as an effective way of winning while playing the game. Learn how to play blackjack card counting using free online blackjack before playing for real.

How Does Card Counting Work?

A player must understand how card counting works before trying it while playing a blackjack game. In the game of blackjack, after the dealer shuffles the card, there is usually an equal number of low and high cards in the deck. When the former occurs, blackjack players tend to stake high. To be a professional at counting cards, you need to first understand the basic blackjack strategy of card counting. Various strategies can be used to count cards when playing the game of blackjack.

These include the Hi-Lo strategy, basic card counting strategy, Omega II, and so many more. Blackjack players need to count cards with their mind to avoid being detected by casinos. However, counting cards at a land-based casino differs from an online casino. For card counters to be successful, you need to be very careful and cautious when counting cards so that the casino won’t detect you. Additionally, you should vary your bet stake slightly. This will help to keep your blackjack card counting secret.

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How to Count Cards in Blackjack?

Before you can start counting cards, you need to understand the principles and concept of blackjack card counting. We want you to know that blackjack counting cards is difficult when you are playing using multiple decks and most online casinos usually use between four to eight decks. However, there is a blackjack strategy that you can use to count cards when playing blackjack both at an online and land-based casino. Card counting in blackjack can be done by assigning a value or tag to every card. This will make it easy for you to monitor the card.

Additionally, you will keep counting the cards using the values that you have assigned. Also, before you start counting cards in a blackjack game, it is important that you first understand the blackjack basic strategy. This strategy explains how you can play every possible hand combinations in the game of blackjack. There are some free demo versions of online blackjack that you can use to get started with card counting in online blackjack.

Basic Card Counting strategy

Basic card counting strategy is recommended for blackjack game beginners. One of the most popular and common basic strategies is the Hi-Lo strategy. The rules of this card counting strategy are simple and straightforward to follow. Using this strategy might increase the blackjack odds of winning in the game of blackjack.

Blackjack players are required to attach a value to each card. In this strategy, 10, aces and face cards are assigned a value of -1, cards 7, 8, and 9 are assigned the value of zero, while low cards 2 – 6 irrespective of the suit or rank are assigned the value of +1. Card counters should monitor each card that is being played and attach the appropriate value to each card. For example, if a card is J, you count it as -1, and if anther card played is 2, you count it as +1. Here, the cumulative sum will be 0 (+1-1). The goal of this strategy is to continue attaching value as each card is played. However, after the dealer reshuffles, you start your count from zero.

Advanced Card Counting Strategy

After you have mastered the basic card counting strategy, you might want to move to a complex card counting techniques and become a professional. There are various advanced card counting strategies that a blackjack player can choose from. One of these is the Omega II card counting strategy. This kind of strategy is known as the balanced system, which has zero as its base. The Omega II was developed by Bryce Carlson in 1992.

In Omega II, 2, 3 and 7 are assigned the value of 1, while 4, 5, and 6 are assigned the value of 2. Also, all face card and 10 are assigned -2, 9 is assigned -1, and 8 and ace card are assigned 0. Blackjack players need to use the appropriate value for each card. Positive count means there is a high concentration of low-value cards in the deck, while negative count means there is a great concentration of high-value cards in the deck. Check our other Betiton guides for more blackjack tips on online casino games.

Can You Count Cards in Online Blackjack?

Blackjack card counting is possible but we don’t advise that you count card online with your real money. The reason is that it is difficult to keep track of the ratio of high-value to low-value cards remaining in the deck. This is because most online casinos make use of a software that shuffles the deck each time a new hand is dealt.

Even though there are certain programs or software that you can use to count cards online, these programs are forbidden. One important thing you need to understand when counting cards in online blackjack is deck penetration. This is the number of cards that are played before reshuffling the shoe. Most online software providers developed their blackjack game to reshuffle with a low deck penetration. Deck penetration is one of the reasons why its difficult to count cards in online blackjack. However, blackjack players can use online blackjack to train on how to count cards before joining a brick-and-mortar blackjack table to count cards. Players can also use a blackjack trainer to learn.


The aim of this article is to inform our Betiton players on how counting cards in blackjack games works. In this article, we have provided you with some of the information needed to get started with counting cards both at an online and offline casino. We mentioned that card counting is a system used in blackjack that let players determine when the game’s advantage is in their favour. When this occurs, blackjack players tend to raise their bet stake.

However, when the game’s advantage favours the dealer, blackjack players tend to lower their bet stake. The main reasons why counting cards works well in blackjack is because of its low house edge. Additionally, a blackjack simulator can teach you how to play the game of blackjack at an online or land-based casino. After everything that has been said, you might have some questions you want to ask about counting cards. As such, we have provided below some of the Frequently Asked Questions that most blackjack players usually ask. Read them to get more understanding of blackjack card counting.

Card Counting FAQ

Is it difficult to count cards?

Card counting is more difficult when playing using multiple card decks. But with constant practice, players can get good at it.

How do you get good at counting cards?

Blackjack players can get good at counting cards when they practice more often. We recommend that player should try card counting with free online blackjack or with your friends before playing with real money. Also, you can make use of our great blackjack simulator to get better at card counting.

What is the best card counting system?

We would like to base this on individual preference and we will advise that you choose the strategy that best works for you.

Is card counting illegal?

No, card counting is not illegal. In fact, you cannot be arrested for counting cards in an establishment. However, it’s frowned upon by casinos and generally not tolerated within their establishment. If a casino catches you counting cards, there is a chance that you will be asked to leave the premises and maybe even be banned from that casino.

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James Smith

At the age of 28, James, an expert in technology and video gaming with a passion for online casinos, pursued studies in Creative Writing and Media Studies at the University of London. As an active contributor to the Gizmodo Twitter account, his goal is to share his knowledge of video game culture and technological advancements with you, the readers.