Card counting systems


What is behind all these systems?

There are several card counting systems in blackjack. The basic concept in card counting systems is that the decks with more tens, face, and ace cards are better for the players. This allows more chances for players to get closer to twenty one and hitting twenty one on the spot.

During the 70's and 80's Ken Uston (a famous blackjack player, strategist, and author) and a team of blackjack card counters visited casinos in Atlantic City and Las Vegas. They made hundreds of thousands of dollars from playing professional blackjack with innovational card counting systems. They were not the first to use such methods in blackjack tables, but they were the ones that used teamwork professionally, thus making money out of blackjack tables.

ken uston - card counting
Ken Uston

The decks with more low cards are more biased for the dealer. With this basic tenet in mind, several card counting systems in blackjack have come about. In fact, there are actually hundreds of card counting systems out there. Since it would be impossible to tackle all the card counting systems, you should focus on the most basic and the most comprehensible card counting systems first. You do not want to start reading on summations and hearing words like delta when all you want to do is play cards and have fun.




Over the years, many strategies and methods have been tried. The most famous one is the MIT card counting method that was used by a group of MIT students in the mid 1990s. They won hundreds of thousands of dollars in casinos across the US before they were busted. However, that method would be hard to replicate again. Since casinos employ highly sophisticated surveillance technologies that watch every move you make, repeating a method that was successful in the past is almost impossible. At the slightest hint of you using any kind of mathematical system or computing gadget, casino security will ask you to leave and you will be accused of trespassing if you return.

The plus minus hi lo card counting system

The plus minus hi lo card counting system is a system that assigns values to cards. Cards seven to nine are assigned a value of zero. Cards two to six are assigned a value of positive one. Face cards and the ace are assigned a value of negative one. In order to have a balanced deck, the total of all the cards must equal to zero. Think of it. If you add the numbers assigned to the cards in a standard fifty two deck, you will end up with a value of zero.


The standard fifty-two-deck according to this system is a non biased deck. The only advantage the dealer has is an eight percent chance because he or she acts after all the other players have made their move. Aside from that, the standard fifty-two-deck is a non biased deck. If you would like to make the deck dealer-biased then you should simply make the deck positive. The higher the positive number of the deck, the more biased it is towards the dealer. On the other hand, if you would like to make the deck more biased for the players then make the deck more and more negative.


Multilevel card counting systems

If you want to complicate matters a little bit more, you can assign different values to the cards themselves. Instead of using ones and zeroes in the plus minus card counting systems, you can assign other numerical values to the cards like twos and negative twos. This makes the distinction between cards more accurate.


Card counting for the mathematicians and the numerically inclined

There are so many more card counting systems out there. If you would like to study all these card counting systems then you should probably purchase a book on it. If you are into numbers then you will certainly find odds calculation very interesting. If you think that you are good in numbers and if you think that you can become better in blackjack by understanding card counting systems then go ahead and take the plunge. There are certainly a lot of ways to appreciate the game of blackjack and the numerical side would certainly be of a lot of interest to the mathematicians at heart.




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