Counting Cards Can Be as Easy as 1-2-3

What Is Counting Cards?

Counting cards is a system of keeping track of high cards over low cards in a deck that has not been dealt yet in a game of blackjack. This system does not allow the use of pen and paper or any other ways to physically record the count. Instead, it makes use of sheer memory which in most cases is aided by a system for counting cards developed by people over the years.

One has to take note that a game of blackjack can be done with more than one deck. So the more decks are used, the more cards are needed to keep track of. Some people actually believe that this is impossible for ordinary people who have no special abilities. Counting cards is indeed very possible. If it had not been so, it wouldn't have become such a popular strategy among the community of blackjack enthusiasts. Many systems have been developed and a lot of books have been written, printed, and reproduced for anybody who is interested to learn. Card counting is a skill that you have to learn and develop through discipline and a lot of practice. Thus, with lack of interest, learning to count cards is doomed to fail.

Things to Do First

When you have gotten to the point where you are starting to look into the possibilities of counting cards, it means that you know the game of Blackjack fairly well and are ready to begin to learn. However, if you are a beginner in the game itself, there are a few things that you need to do otherwise learning to count can prove to be difficult, if not, impossible to learn.

  • The very first thing you must do is to learn by heart all the basic rules in blackjack. Remember that the game does not stay in one standard form everywhere you go. There might be a bit or alterations or variations in some rules as you go from house to house. At least, master the basic rules, the rules that make the game what it is.
  • After you are confident that you have mastered the basic rules in the game of blackjack, familiarize, or even better yet, memorize the basic strategy for the game. The basic strategy is not some brilliantly formulated trick or technique created by a genius. It is actually a chart of suggested moves based on the count of the values of the cards on the table. This means that it is a mathematical chart based purely on logic and probability. These strategies do not provide accurate solutions or results. They are designed to maximize and tip the advantage over to your side of the table.
  • Memorize card values. Faces like the Jack, Queen, and King have a face value of 10. An Ace has either a 1 or 11. This group of cards is worth -1 points while 2 to 6 are worth +1. 7 to 9 are worth 0. Memorize this by heart, deal out the cards and try to associate each rank with the corresponding point as quickly as you can. Also, as you deal out the cards in such a way as a dealer would, train yourself to notice combinations formed as you go along. Do the cards just come out without a sensible pattern? Do you see something like the how cards appear in pairs or how they cancel out each other?

Note: This scoring system is based on the Hi-Lo counting system. Using other systems will designate the scores to another set of card ranks. Depending on the level of the system used, the scores differ. For example, level 1 has three different scores (-1, 0, +1), and level two has five (-2, -1, 0, 1, 2). If you will notice, the higher the level, the more difficult the system to learn is. There is a greater variation in the scores that you have to memorize and associate with a card rank.

Improving the Skill

  • Get a timer and time yourself when counting a whole deck using the points. Do this over and over again until matching a corresponding point to a card's face value becomes automatic and won't need a long time to determine. This is because, in actual games, the dealer won't be waiting for you to make that match and to count the points. If you can count the whole deck in 25 seconds then you're ready to try the strategy in an actual game.
  • It will help a lot if you can also memorize the combination of two cards that cancel out each other like a 10 and a 6 whose total count is zero and can be eliminated from the count. If you can quickly identify these pairs, your time will improve.
  • Try doing the count with some distractions like loud music and TV to determine if you can keep your concentration. The more easily you get distracted the more you have to work on your concentration skills.
  • There are many card counting softwares today that are designed to improve your skill. Aside from practicing by yourself, you can also try and get a software to help you. Try as many options as you can to improve your skill.



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