How Card Counting Works when Playing Blackjack

Blackjack is one of the most popular casino games, played all around the world. It’s a game of chance, but it’s also a game of skill, and one of the skills you can learn to master is card counting. Card counting is a technique used to keep track of the cards that have been dealt, giving you an idea of which cards are still in the deck. In this article, we’ll explore how card counting works in playing live blackjack, some basic and advanced card counting techniques, and how you can improve your skills to play like a pro.

Blackjack card counting

Card counting in blackjack aims to know when the deck is favorable to the player, giving them an advantage over the dealer. When a deck is rich in high cards, it’s favorable to the player, as they increase the chances of getting a natural blackjack, which pays 3:2. Conversely, when the deck is rich in low cards, it’s favorable to the dealer, as it makes it harder for the player to get a winning hand.

Card counting systems work by assigning values to each card. High cards, like tens, face cards, and aces, are given a value of -1, while low cards, like twos, threes, and fours, are given a value of +1. The remaining cards are given a value of 0. The player maintains a running tally of the cards as they are dealt by adding or subtracting their values to determine the running tally.

Basic Blackjack Card Counting System

The most basic card counting system is the Hi-Lo system. It’s simple to learn and is the most widely used system in the world. The Hi-Lo system assigns a value of +1 to cards 2 through 6, a value of 0 to cards 7 through 9, and a value of -1 to cards 10 through ace. While the cards are dealt, the player maintains a mental tally by adding or removing the card values. The higher the running count, the more favorable the deck is to the player.

Basic card counting system

Hi-Lo Card Counting System

The Hi-Lo system is effective, but it has its limitations. It doesn’t take into account the number of decks being used, and it doesn’t adjust for the cards that have already been played. To overcome these limitations, players use the True Count system.

What is the Running Count in Blackjack?

The running count is the cumulative value of all cards dealt. As the cards are given out, the player keeps track of the total in their head, adding or taking away the values of each card as needed. The deck is best for the player if the running count is higher.

Blackjack running count

What is the ‘True Count’ in Blackjack?

The true count is the running count divided by a factor that takes into account how many decks have been played. The player divides the running count by the number of decks remaining in the shoe to get the true count. This gives the player a more accurate idea of how favorable the deck is to them.

Blackjack true count

Improving Blackjack Card Counting Skills

To become a professional blackjack card counter, you need to practice. Start by practicing with a single deck of cards, then move up to multiple decks. Practice keeping the running count, and the true count, and adjusting your bets accordingly. You should also learn more advanced card-counting techniques to improve your skills.

Improve blackjack card counting skills

Advanced Card Counting Systems

There are many advanced card counting systems that you can learn to take your skills to the next level. Here are some of the most popular ones:

Advanced card counting systems in blackjack

Omega II

The Omega II system is a balanced approach to card counting, like the Hi-Lo and Dalton systems. Bryce Carlson created this method in 1992 and published it in his book on card counting practices.


The Ace/Five count is another advanced technique that gives players an advantage by tracking only the Aces and Fives in the deck.

Wong Halves

The Wong Halves system assigns fractions to some cards, giving the player a more accurate count. This system, designed by Stanford Wong, has given values that make it more sophisticated than other systems. To simplify the system, counters may assign values differently.

Silver Fox

The Silver Fox system is a more complex card-counting technique that assigns different values to each card in the deck, based on its rank and the number of decks in the shoe. The Silver Fox system requires more concentration and practice than some of the simpler card counting techniques, but it can give players a significant advantage over the house.


The easiest way to count cards in blackjack is to use a simple card counting system such as the Hi-Lo method. This method assigns a value of +1 to cards 2 through 6 and a value of -1 to cards 10 through Ace. Cards 7, 8, and 9 have a value of 0.

Yes, professional blackjack players often count cards as part of their strategy. Counting cards can give a player an edge over the house, which is why casinos frown upon the practice and may ban players who are caught doing it.

The true count is a more accurate way to track the ratio of high to low cards in the deck, taking into account the number of decks in play.

Counting cards can help you win at blackjack by giving you a better idea of when to make certain plays, such as hitting or standing. 

No. Card counting in blackjack is not illegal, but casinos have the right to ask blackjack card counters to stop playing. Some land-based casinos even outright ban gamblers from playing table games or from the casino itself.


In conclusion, counting cards can be a powerful strategy for improving your odds of winning at blackjack. By keeping track of the cards that have been played, you can estimate the likelihood of certain cards appearing in future hands and adjust your playing strategy accordingly.

Register at Go Perya today and start playing live blackjack games and try some of the blackjack card counting systems above. Also, review our blackjack basic strategy guide first to know how to make the right moves while playing live blackjack.

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