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Blackjack Card Counting

In blackjack, Card counting is a potentially powerful technique that attempts to utilize what we know about the value of the cards in the deck, and more specifically the value of the cards left in the shoe. The more we know about what's left, the more we know about how much we should bet before each hand starts.

The basis of card counting depends on the fact that there are 10 more valued cards than any other specific value in the deck (although, less than 50% of the cards in the deck are these 10 valued cards). Knowing this, we can more-or-less keep track of how many high value cards are left, and how many low value cards are left.

There are some very complicated card counting methods out there, and of course some are more effective than others. If you're new to card counting, you should seek to start with a simple method in order to easily get your head around the concept.

In simple terms, card counting works because the player gains an advantage when a deck has a shortage of cards valued 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, or 8. When a deck has a shortage of cards valued 9, 10, Ace; the player has a disadvantage. If you can tell when the deck is rich in 9's, 10's, and Aces you can do one of the following things - Bet more money when the deck is favorable to you; or alter your Basic Strategy play in order to account for the favorability, thereby increasing the odds of winning a particular hand.

To actually 'count' cards, you need to assign a value to every card that gets played out of the shoe, and keep a running count. The value assigned will be 1, 0 or negative 1. So you would start your count at 0 and begin adding and subtracting as the cards are dealt (including cards that are not dealt to you).

As the cards are dealt, you assign values as follows:
Give 1 point to a 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6
Give 0 points to a 7, 8, or 9
Take 1 point for 10s and Aces

An example:
Ace, King, 4, 9, 7, 10, Ace, Jack, 6
With this example above, if you start from zero, your count at the end should be -3.

So when do you bet big and when do you bet small? You may use this as a guide:
For a count of 1 or less (our -3 count from above would fall into this category) bet 1 unit.
For a count of 2 or 3, bet 2 units.
For a count of 4 or 5, bet 3 units.
For a count of 6 or 7, bet 4 units.
For a count of 8 or more, bet 5 units.

The system outlined above is only useful for a one-deck game. To expand this theory to a multiple-deck game, you will need to calculate something called a 'true count'. To calculate a true count, take your running count (exactly as we were calculating it earlier) and divide it by the number of decks that appear to be left in the shoe. This means you have to gain some idea of what's in the shoe, and what's left.

It is important to note that many casinos currently employ various strategies in an effort to thwart card counters. This includes constant reshuffling of the deck; random card shuffling; facial recognition systems to identify known card counters and remove them physically from the casino; as well as many other high-tech strategies.

MIT Blackjack Team Card Counting Secrets
with Andy Bloch
Andy Bloch is a world class blackjack player, and because of his legendary card counting exploits with the MIT Card Counting Team, he is currently banned from over 367 casinos worldwide. You can use this DVD to learn how to count cards, and possibly win big at your local or other casino.

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