How To Count Cards In Blackjack

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April 6, 2022
5 minutes

Blackjack is one of the few games in the casino, in which after each distribution of the cards are not returned to the deck and do not mix. As a rule, the dealer drops several times from a shower or even one deck. This gives players an advantage – the ability to calculate the released cards and evaluate the chance of winning.

Counting techniques

There are dozens of author’s accounts in blackjack. But the basic principles on which they are built, just a few. Place them from simple to complex.

Distribution in blackjack


Ace-Five – ​​the easiest technique of counting cards in blackjack. It takes into account only the aces and five.

The essence of the system:

  • The countdown begins with scratch.
  • Each five in hand +1, ace -1.
  • The more digit, the higher the chances of winning.

Map contention



  • Does not require changes to the game.
  • Easy to master even for a novice.


  • Does not give a big advantage in the game.

There are two modifications to the ACE-FIVE system. They use the same principle of counting, but differ in the method of resizing the rate:

  1. It doubles upon reaching a certain border, for example, +5.
  2. The amount complies with specific account values.


Reading on the system “plus-minus” is also easy. This will require a calculator – only attentiveness and fast response.

By the way, this technique was used in the film “Twenty One”, based on real events.

The essence of the system:

  • Maps are divided into “small” (from twos to six), “neutral” (from the 7 to 9), and “large” (from tens to the ace) and have the meanings respectively +1, 0, and -1.
  • The greater the score, the more favorable the situation for the player.

Map contention

2, 3, 4, 5, 61
7, 8, 90
10, in, d, k, t-1


  • Simple.
  • Allows you to profitably change the strategy depending on the account.


  • Requires care, timely and correct strategy change.
  • Inaccurate – the values of the cards do not correspond to the real mathematical expectation.

For example, the output of the five from the game is more favorable than workers, but according to the system “plus-minus” is estimated the same. This omission tried to eliminate in advanced versions with a large variety of values, but such techniques are more difficult to apply.


At the time of creation, Hi-Opt had no analogs among other techniques. The authors used an unusual approach – taking into account not only the mathematical expectation but also the caution of the game strategy.

The essence of the system:

  • Only three, four, five, six (favorable), and dozens (adverse) are considered.
  • The rest of the cards are not taken into account.

The fundamental difference between HI-OPT from other techniques is that the aces are ignored. The creators of the technicians found that it is correct in terms of changing the course of the game.

Map contention

3, 4, 5, 61
7, 8, 20090


  • Simplicity.
  • Suitable for careful players.


  • You can not use an aggressive strategy.

Theoretically consider the aces effectively, but in practice, it may interfere, especially when a shortage of gaming experience. Therefore, the Hi-Opt strategy is well suited for beginners.


“Halfs” can be considered an improved version of the “plus-minus”. This technique is quite complex and requires good account skills.

The essence of the system:

  • Maps are assigned a value proportional to the change in the mathematical expectation of the game after their release.
  • The higher the number of accounts, the more chances to win.

Map contention

3, 42
10, in, d, k, t-2


  • High accuracy.


  • Complexity.
  • Errors with account rapidness.

Half technology in 1975 in his book “Professional Blackjack” described American player Stanford Wong. In the original version of the values ​​of the cards are twice smaller (from -1 to +1.5).

System Torp

The carbon system is one of the most complex techniques and is a rather theoretical interest.

The essence of the system:

  • Card values ​​accurately reflect the change in mathematical expectation.
  • Vents, ladies, and kings are not taken into account.

Map contention



  • Accurate.


  • It is very difficult to keep an account “in the mind”.
  • Not allowed all cards.

The author of the system – Edward Torp – is not only the player in Blackjack and the creator of the bestseller “beat the dealer”, but also a professor of mathematics. Therefore, he probably managed to apply his own technique in practice.

A common misconception – in order to learn to count the cards, you will need several months.

In fact, mastering simple techniques can be much faster, even without phenomenal memory and mathematical talents. In a few weeks of regular practice, the calculation will occur “on the machine”, and only attentiveness will be required from the player.

In casino fights card counting

Counting increases the chances of winning, so players considering cards usually have close access to the casino. This is followed by observers, but it is impossible to calculate for everyone. Then the owners of the gambling business take measures that reduce the effectiveness of any system:

  • Prohibit raising rates.
  • Increase the number of decks in the shower.
  • They use shafl machines.

Is it possible to count cards in an online casino?

In the online game, the ships are updated after each distribution, so the counting does not make sense. You can only count in the Live casino, where a dealer is a living person, and the cards are mixed after several distributions.

Ability to raise the chances of winning when counting cards – is one of the reasons for the popularity of Blackjack. Even simple techniques that give minor advantages make the game more interesting and more profitable.

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