Blackjack Card Counting Systems


The man that developed the first card counting system was Edward Thorp, the legendary mathematics professor and blackjack player. Ever since he published his most famous book, Beat the Dealer, dozens of other blackjack card counting systems have been developed, each varying in degrees of difficulty and theory. Every next system was an attempt at a more effective track keeping of the ratio of high to low cards.

The best way to become a proficient blackjack card counter is to practice a lot. After that you can try how your nerves hold when playing for real money. The casinos at offer lots of blackjack games to try your card counting system. But, which system is the most effective, and yet simple?

Well, every blackjack card counting system has one thing in common, and that is keeping the track of low to high cards ratio, which will indicate a chance, an advantage that needs to be used to make a big bet and win, and when to make small bets if the high-low ratio is against you.

The simplest card counting system is the Hi-Lo without a doubt. It’s very easy to learn and to implement and has a relatively high betting correlation of .97, which is a percentage that shows how effective the system is at predicting betting situations. In that respect, the highest betting correlation is with the Halves card counting system, .99. Both work in the same way, only that they use different points that are assigned to the cards.

The Hi-Lo is a lot simpler because you get to subtract 1 point or add 1 point to the running count. For every card dealt between 2 and 6 you add 1, and for each card dealt that has the value of ten, and the Ace, you subtract 1 from your running count.

The rest of the cards such as 7, 8 and 9 are ignored. So, when the dealer deals 2, you add 1 point, when he deals 5, you add 1 point and so on. The more you play the more the running count will tell you effectively (to some degree) when to raise your bet and when to bet little.


The Halves card counting system it’s a little more complicated because you get to add and subtract more points. You add 5 points for all 2s, 1 point for 3s and 4s, 1.5 points for 5s, 1 point for 6s, 5 points for 7s, you ignore 8s, and you have to subtract 5 points when 9s are dealt, and 1 point when ten-valued card and Aces are dealt. But, the concept is the same as the Hi-Lo.

There are lots of card counting systems that you can use in blackjack such as Hi-Opt I, Hi-Opt II, Omega II, Red 7, Zen etc. The point with all of them is to be careful when using them. You have to practice at least 1000 hands to become a good card counting blackjack player.

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If you intend to implement these systems inside a real-life casino establishment, you may be banned and never be able to play there again. Luckily, there are online casinos too where there are no pit bosses so you can try your luck there. But, to be successful you need to learn basic strategy, the true count conversion, bankroll management, betting strategy and deck estimation. There is a lot of hard work to be done, and little time to fantasize about ripping off casinos Hollywood-style.