Often portrayed as some arcane eldrich magical power counting cards is neither difficult nor pointless, so we look at an entry level system for those put off by the “experts”.

Mention you’ve a blackjack card counting system in polite company and there’s a ripple of reaction that ranges from the dismissive scoffing of people who think it only happens in the movies, to the shocked astonishment of those that think it’s illegal. The fact is counting cards is commonplace in casinos and whilst it’s not actually against the law, casinos reserve the right to eject whomever they wish for whatever reason they wish and strangely that always seems to include anyone counting cards. They may even go so far as to bar you from the premises in-perpetuity, which all by itself should indicate how useful counting cards can be.

Counting The Cards Not The Cost

• Keep track of how many cards worth ten have been dealt

• Work out if that’s more or less than average for the percentage of shoe dealt

• Bet accordingly high if there’s still lots to come

Of course what puts most people off even attempting to count cards are websites and books about counting cards all of which manage to make it as complex and confusing as a lecture on the algebraic equations of particle physics given in a foreign language. However one need not be a maths genius to employ a very basic form of card counting, you don’t need a photographic memory nor be part of a well established team of co-conspirators, you can just sit down at the table, have the cards dealt to you and get on with it, almost instantly. How? Well lets take a look.

It is all about the cards that are worth 10. The tens themselves, the jacks, queens and kings too. Those are the cards you need to be counting, and not just the ones that are dealt to you, but those that are dealt to everyone else. Why? Because there’s a finite number of them in a six deck shoe (as is common in casinos) and knowing how likely you are to be dealt some or not is of huge use when placing your bet. So there are 312 cards in six decks and 96 of those carry that value of 10, assuming they’re distributed evenly we are going to be able to guess how many are left in the shoe if we’ve been counting how many have already been dealt.

## Keeping It Simple

We don’t even need to work it out exactly, just vaguely enough to know if there are more or less than average in the second half of a shoe’s worth of dealing. The average per hand should be about seven cards worth 10 appearing on the table, if it’s more than this, you’re into negative territory and should be circumspect, but if there’s been fewer than this average, there’s a lot of tens still out there, and it’s time to bet more heavily. It really is that simple. Count the cards worth 10 on the table for the first say five hands and you should be able to work out if the second five hands of the shoe are going to favor you or not.

You can also do the same with aces only on a more limited scale, not seen any? They’re still to come and in conjunction with knowing there are a whole bunch of 10-value cards yet to be dealt this probably IS the time to go for that 3-2 blackjack payout, right?. Likewise if you’ve counted lots (above the average distribution) it’s probably not the time to be cavalier about your wagers. So really all one need to to count cards in a casino is work out the average distribution of aces or tens then pay attention, get down to the last few hands of a shoe having counted very few of those you know must be there, you too will soon be winning at blackjack.

Now you might think that the small percentage advantages gained in this way aren’t worth the effort, but in fact given the speed with which the game is played, over even a few hours play it can add up to a significant increase in your odds. This is why casinos aren’t fond of people employing such smart strategies and if one is too blatant about it they will ask you to leave, even if you’re a Hollywood A-lister. So keep your head, keep count and bet big when the advantage is yours. Card counting isn’t mystical mumbo jumbo nor calculus in disguise, it’s just a question of what has gone and what’s to come. Good luck at the tables!