Card Counting- How To Count Cards In Blackjack?

Want to play blackjack like a pro in no time? Well, card counting is the proven blackjack strategy that ensures a 100% win. Millions of people have earned a huge amount of real money in traditional as well as online casinos.

In this article, you’ll get to know the history, legal status and techniques to use card counting. This mini card counting guide will help you to bring down the house and how to beat blackjack for real cash.

Card counting is often misunderstood. Most people relate card counting to memorization. But let us tell you card counting has nothing to do with memorization.

So. there is nothing to worry about if you have a bad memory. Card counting is rather a simple blackjack strategy to keep track of the cards. You don’t need to memorize the damp cards.

It is the ratio of low cards to high cards. It works best for players with more aces, 10 and face cards (king, queen and jack). No doubt it takes time to master card counting. But once acquainted no one can stop you from winning. 

Let’s take a short walk!

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Is Counting Cards Legal or illegal?

There is no such law in the whole world that clearly states that card counting is illegal. To ban card counting or not is the casino’s individual choice. So, whether you are playing at a traditional casino or an online casino; make sure to check the casino’s terms & conditions before applying the blackjack strategy. 

No private casino would like to suffer losses. That’s the reason this strategy has become the talk of the town. Millions of people had earned huge profits using card counting. Card counting works best at brick-mortar casinos than online casinos.

It’s almost impossible to count the cards when playing offline. As you’ll hardly get 25-40 seconds to place your bet. if somehow you can manage to perform card counting, you are already a genius. Let’s read what to keep in mind before using the card counting strategy?

  • Using arithmetic skills to keep track of cards while playing live or online is legal.
  • Usage of all the electronic devices, smartphones is a big no while playing Live blackjack games or at land-based casinos. You can be prosecuted for this action.
  • Any use of software while playing online blackjack can be easily tracked by the casino site and you’ll be immediately blacklisted from the casino regardless of your pending winnings.
  • Keep in mind that you are under surveillance of CCTV cameras when playing live. 
  • If found something suspicious or hot by the house, the dealers are switched on blackjack tables or cards are reshuffled again by a pit boss.

How to count cards?

To make it easier for our players, we have divided card counting into 4 steps. Take a look!

Step 1: To assign a value to every single card of the deck.

CardsValued as
An Ace, 10 & Face cards(king, queen & jack)-1

Step 2: Running Count

To Memorize the Running count for each round after the cards are shuffled and add +ve, -ve tags to each card to get a total hand value.

For example: #1 (+1,0,+1,-2) running count is 0

                       #2 (0,+1,0,0), running count is +1

                      #3 (+1,-1,0,+1), running count is -1.

  • A positive running count shifts the advantage to the player.
  • Whereas a negative running count shifts the advantage to the casino.

Step 3: To calculate the ‘True count’ or count per deck.

For an instance; if the running count is 6 and the remaining cards are 3, the true count is 2.


  • True count reveals if the playing strategy needs to be changed; also referred to as playing deviations.
  • A true 1 represents 0 house edge.
  • A true 2 gives an advantage of 0.5% to the player.
  • Similarly, a true 3 gives an advantage of 1% to the player and so on.

Step 4: For a +ve running count, raise your bet and for a -ve count, lower your bet.

How does card counting work?

Card counting starts the moment after the dealer has stopped shuffling the cards.

The ratio of hi to lo cards is likely to change depending on the cards dealt in the initial few rounds of the blackjack game. There is a possibility of two situations as mentioned below:

  1. More number of high cards: Card counting works best for high numbers of 10’s, face cards and 10. A Player can place bigger bets. The payout offered by the casino is 3:2 i.e. 150% of your original bet.  
  2. More number of Low cards:  The house is at advantage and fewer chances for the dealer to get busted. It’s safer to place smaller bets in such a case.

How to know whether the remaining cards are more of high or low cards?

You need to assign a tag to each dealt card as mentioned in the above table. High cards will favour the player while low cards will be beneficial for the dealer.

The History of Card Counting

Edward Thorp is known as the father of card counting. He was the first card counter, who invented this technique by removing a card of  2 from the deck of cards. Thus increasing the opportunities for players to win the game. He also wrote a bestseller book ‘Beat the dealer’ published in 1962.

Next was Jess Marcum, the first person who invented the idea of finding an edge in the blackjack game in 1949. He found the edge by counting damped cards in each round of the game. He got so involved in the blackjack that he resigned from his nuclear physicist post and started his career as a professional blackjack player. His counting card system was referred to as a fully-fledged points counting system.

The next in the league is Harold Smith, who published the book ‘I want to quit winners’  in 1961. The book revealed the secret to betting more when there is more number of higher cards i.e. more aces, 10’s and face cards(king, queen and jack).

‘Playing blackjack to win’ published by four US army soldiers was a complete mathematical analysis of the blackjack game in 1957.


It is a technique to keep track of the cards to the ratio of lower cards to higher cards. It’s more of your mind work than any other tactics or gimmicks. Card counting helps to predict whether the next dealt card will bring any advantage to the player.

No casino likes to lose money and the card counting technique if applied properly can lower the house edge to 0.17% to 0.65% depending on the decks used. So, casinos make sure that card counting is not being used.

There are several ways to perform card counting. Unless and until you are not using any electronic devices to count cards; card counting is not considered an offence. But if found any irrelevant source, the casino has the right to throw you right away.

No, it’s very easy! All you need to do is just go through all the techniques we have mentioned in this article. Once you get familiar with the concept, you can lower the house edge in a short time.

No casino likes to lose money. Card counters take away a lot of money. So, private casinos owe the full right to ban such smart and skilled players at any time.

A value is assigned to each card and you have to keep a running count. A player has to change the bets as the count rises.

Yes, of course! There are many other strategies besides card counting like basic blackjack strategy, martingale etc. these tactics can definitely boost your odds of winning.

In such a situation, they’ll probably blacklist you or throw you right away out of the casino. If there is no physical evidence, no one has the right to ask you to leave.

Want to become a card counter?

Honestly speaking Card counting can’t be learnt in just one go. To become a professional card counter, you must owe bankroll management skills, to avoid getting caught by casinos,  know the basic rules of blackjack. To win or lose may vary depending on the player’s adapting skills.

Many blackjack players have earned millions using this strategy. Rest it also depends on the choice of your blackjack casino site. We have also shortlisted some of the leading and licensed casinos like LeoVegas, 10CRIC, JungleRaja on this page making it easier for you. All you need to do is pick and start playing right now to get the ultimate gambling experience. We hope the best for you!