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When the beginners hear about Blackjack Strategies, a thought of Card Counting generally crosses their mind. One of the most asked questions about this strategy is – does card counting work in Blackjack? To be very honest, card counting is not practically impossible when playing blackjack in online casinos, the strategy is simple but mastering can take time. Most online casinos use random number generator software, where the cards are dealt after shuffling each time. Moreover, the programs that can count the cards for the players are forbidden by the casino. So, how do you count cards, without the risk of being caught by the casino operators? Well, we have strategies for that too.

Basic Card Counting Strategy for Beginners 

Hi-Lo Strategy

Hi-Lo is the most basic strategy for beginners in the card counting technique. In this strategy, Low Card, 2-6 (in any suit) are valued as +1, while high cards, 10 to Ace, and face cards have assigned a value of -1. The remaining cards which are 7 to 9 are assigned the value of 0. This is one of the easiest to follow strategy for the beginners to card counting, whether playing at online casinos or real casinos.

While the cards are being dealt by the dealer, the player can make a note of the assigned card values. For instance, if a card is an ace, its value will be counted as -1, and if the next card is 4, then that will be counted as +1. This means the total hand value will be 0.

The player is supposed to keep adding the values for every new card dealt, keep adding to the sum until the deck of the card shuffled again. The total value is considered as ‘running count’.

All the players have to do is keep the calculations simple, not to end up with their minds overdriving.

Basic Card Counting Strategy Summarized in 4 Steps 

Step 1:Give value to each card based on their numeric values

Step 2: Keep track of all the assigned of the cards.

Step 3: Keep adding the card values to know the values of cards in the deck (Running Count).

Step 4: Wager according to the count of cards (reduce if the value is positive, and increase in case the value is negative)

The table seats of Blackjack are known as ‘bases’ in land-based casinos. The seats which are closest to the dealer are first base, while the seat which is farther away, considered as third base. The player at the third seat can take most of the advantage, due to the order of the play.

Hence, if a player is planning to count cards, the preferable seat for him/her is the third base seat, from where they can easily keep an eye on the table, for the counting, and will be the last one to take any action or place a bet.

Advanced Strategies for Card Counting 

Once the player has practiced well for the basic card counting strategy, then he can probably count the cards on fingers. When the players are finally done with Hi-Lo strategy and ready to practice advanced/complex strategies, they can choose from various options.

Omega II

Omega II technique is also known as the ‘Balanced system’, where 0 is considered as base. The technique was invented by Bryce Carlson. He even wrote a book about card counting in 1992. This technique is more advanced than the classic values of -1,0, and +1.

  • Cards number 2,3 and 7 are valued as 1
  • Cards number 4,5 and 6 are valued as 2
  • Card number 9 is valued as -1
  • Card number 10 and face cards are valued -2
  • Card number 8 and aces are valued 0

A positive count represents the presence of more low cards in the deck, while a negative count demonstrates that more high cards are present in the deck which is being dealt.

Wong Halves 

This technique is named after its developer, Stanford Wong. This is another advanced strategy based on its assigned values, it also involves fractions.

  • Card number 3,4, and 6 are valued as 1
  • Card number 2 and 7 are valued as 0.5
  • Card number 5 is valued 1.5
  • Card number 9 is valued as -0.5
  • Card number 8 is valued as 0
  • Card number 10, face cards and Aces are valued -1.

This technique is also a balanced system, which means when a card deck is completely dealt with, the count would be 0. This strategy can be simplified by doubling up all the card values to avoid using the fraction in the count.

Group Play 

Group play is a team effort for some card counters. In this strategy, multiple card decks are counted on multiple tables, which are counted simultaneously. Here the groups or teams communicate through signal, to avoid being caught. They use signals to tell the players whether stake big amount or not, and when to join in a hand.

Multiple Deck 

This is another high-end strategy in card counting, employed by a team of students to win millions of dollars from various casinos for years. When this technique was revealed, it became a best-selling book. Moreover, their story was also picturized as a Hollywood movie, 21.

Counting Multiple Decks

Casinos also apply techniques to impede card counting, and one such technique is using multiple decks. This technique is implied to confuse the card counters and making it harder for them to keep a track of running count. In the case of a player, come across multiple deck techniques used by the casino, he or she can stick to the Hi-Lo strategy. They only have to divide the running count by the number of left card decks. This way you can get a ‘true count’.

The true count figure demonstrates the player’s advantage when multiple decks are used in the game. The player must keep track of the exact running total to be able to access the value of true count. For instance, if the running total is 4 and the number of remaining decks is 2, then the true count of the player will be 2 (running total is divided by remaining card decks).

So, which strategy is the best for counting the cards?

When you ask experts about which card counting strategy should be used, they always advise the beginners to go for the Hi-Lo approach. This is because Hi-Lo is the easiest strategy to have a grip upon. First-time card counter must stick to the technique initially, and once they have mastered it, they can explore ways to the next strategy. With the improvement in the skill, the players can opt for an advanced strategy, when they feel it as necessary for their game. Although the players should be 100% confident before trying card counting at real casinos. If you feel that you ready to try implement this technique in your next gameplay, make sure to choose cutting-edge and reputed casinos where the standard rules are religiously followed, and in case you manage to bag a big amount, these casinos won’t really have a problem handing you the winnings.

Sean Byrne
Sean Byrne

Sean is a talented sports and casino content editor who was born and raised in England. He has always had a love for sports, particularly football (soccer) and cricket, and has been an avid sports bettor for many years. Sean's passion for sports and gambling led him to pursue a career as a writer, and he has since become an expert in creating engaging and informative content for sports and casino websites.