Basic Card Counting Systems

How To Master The Basic Card Counting Systems

Blackjack Card counting systems may seem to be very complex and many people tend to think that you need to have a sharp memory during game play since it requires the tracking of the running count and true count.  In this guide, I will outline a few points on how to master the basic card counting techniques.

With all card counting systems, you have to know that high cards are assigned with negative point values while the low cards are assigned with positive point values. Therefore, this means that your running count is determined by the cards being dealt on the board whether low or high.

If your running count has a positive value, this means low cards have been dealt more than high cards and would indicate that the shoe deck is high card rich. Now, the most important task is how to keep track of the running count during game play.

Keeping track of the running count

Keeping track of the running count is quite an easy task and this has to be done quickly. Instead of knowing the point values used by the card counting system, you can simply start by counting the cards as they are laid on the table. Most basic card counting systems have only three point values you should remember which are -1, 0 and +1.

One thing you need to know is that with all basic card counting systems, the initial running count starts-off from 0 and also a point value of 0 is assigned to cards 7, 8 and 9 at which they cause no effect to the running count and these are often known as the neutral cards.

Okay, now let’s move on to the tracking of the running count. As the cards are laid on the table, count the highs and lows instead of doing the sign addition and subtraction in order not to confuse yourself.

For example, if seated on a table with a max of 4 players and everyone has been dealt with cards, avoid doing the complex arithmetic of calculating each players hand i.e -1 +1 = 0 this can waste so much of your time and can be confusing.

However, when cards have been dealt on the table, automatically count all cards together in their groups taking note that you should not count the neutral cards as they cause no effect to the running count.

An Example of The Running Count

Suppose, all four players have been dealt with cards at which the total cards dealt are 8 and also to include the dealer’s face up card making it a total of 9 cards shown on the table as follows:

Player 1:  A|8

Player 2: 10|10

Player 3: 4|5

Player 4: 6|10

Dealer’s Face-up card: 10|?

From looking at the cards, all you have to do is to group the totals of the low and high cards.

In this situation, we have a total of 5 for the high cards and a total of 3 for the low cards. Since low cards have positive point values and high cards have negative point values, the basic equation is as follows:

Total Low cards – Total High Cards = Running Count

In this case,  the RC is 3 – 5 = -2 , hence our running count has a negative value of -2 indicating to us that more high cards have been placed on the table.  Therefore, at this stage, the running count should be calculated quickly before the dealer exposes his or her face down card at which you should be the last player to take action on the table so as for you to have ample time to do the counting. Once the dealer reveals his face-down count you can then proceed to adjust your running count accordingly.

The running count helps you in your decision making and to have a clearer picture of the shoe deck whether it is high card rich or low card rich, the conversion of the running count to true count is essential. Instead of knowing the total number of cards left in the shoe deck, the running count is divided by the number of decks used in the variation to give out the true count which gives a better approximation than the running count.

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