Blackjack Card Counting Methods


The blackjack group of casino games typically involve card counting, which is a strategy that helps determine if the next hand may give a possible advantage to the dealer or to the player. Card counting techniques enable players to bet more with reduced risk when the count offers an advantage and also minimize losses in the event of an unfavorable count. Card counting methods also give the ability to modify playing decisions based on the configuration of the remaining cards.

Ideal Methods

The basic objective of a card counting method is to attach point values to each card that essentially correlate to the card’s EOR or “Effect of Removal.” This allows the player to assess the house advantage based on the configuration of the cards that are yet to be dealt. Counting methods can be differentiated according to the number of different point values that a particular method calls for.

The ideal card counting method is one that is usable by the player and gives the maximum average dollar return for each period of time when dealt at a particular rate. Keeping this ideal goal in view, different methods are designed to attain a balance of efficiency in the following categories:

Playing Efficiency

A part of the estimated profit comes from altering the playing strategy on the basis of the known modified composition of cards.

Betting Correlation

When the total of various permutations and combinations of the undealt cards provide a positive expectation to a player with an optimal playing strategy, the expectation for the player placing a bet is positive.

Insurance Correlation

A part of the expected profit from counting cards arises from taking the insurance bet, which achieves profitability at high counts.

Silveroak Casino Blackjack

Silveroak Casino Blackjack

Ease of Use

While choosing a particular card counting method, one of the important criteria should be the ease of use. Highly complex methods may overtax the human mind, which should be avoided in a game. Higher level methods and methods with side counts tend to become more complex. While trying to make such methods simpler, unbalanced methods remove the need for a player to keep a track of the number of cards that have already come into play, typically at the cost of lowering Playing Efficiency (PE).

Balanced Counting Methods

Balanced counting methods may involve running counts and true counts. The running count refers to the running total of a card’s assigned value. When following a balanced counting method, such as the Hi-Lo method, the running count is changed into a true count, which takes into account the number of decks used. In this method, the true count basically refers to the running count divided by the number of decks that have not been dealt as yet. This may be computed precisely or approximated with an average card count per round times the total number of rounds dealt. Several variations of the true count computation are available.

Back Counting or Wonging

“Wonging” or “back counting” involves standing behind a blackjack table where other players are playing, and counting the cards they are dealt. The player who is back counting will enter the game when the count has reached a point where the player has an advantage. As the advantage rises or declines, the player may increase or decrease the bets proportionately.