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Introduction to Blackjack Card Counting

In blackjack card counting math, logic and a system are pre-requisites.

Blackjack card counting has been around longer than many of the professional players swearing by it today. There are different strategy systems and techniques for how to beat the dealer in Blackjack. When a skilled Blackjack player starts to be refused at the casino door he usually retires and writes a book about what system of counting he used to reach the top.

The base used for most systems today was founded by a professor of mathematics. Dr. Edward Thorp published the book Beat the Dealer in 1960. This was the first time a book of this sort actually proved that the player with a sense for math actually stood a chance in winning against the casino in Blackjack.

What the Blackjack card counting system does is that it keeps track of the ratio of high to low cards in the deck being played. By remembering the cards being played, a gambler can raise his bet when the cards in the deck remaining are in his favor. This doesn't mean that the gambler has to remember each and every card. He must keep track of the total score and this score is called the “count.”

Different systems to keep track of an advantage or disadvantage

In Blackjack, card counting it is good for the player when the deck is short of cards with the values 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8. If it is clear that the deck leans more towards the values of 9, 10 and Ace, you can bet more money or adjust your moves so that the odds of winning a specific hand will increase, an disadvantage would be if the deck seem to lack the high numbers and aces.

To keep track of this a few different Blackjack card counting methods can be used. One of the most basic ones is the count of plus and minus called the Hi-Lo system. With this basic Blackjack card counting system each card gets a value of positive, negative or null. The count is adjusted as the play goes on by the value of each card dealt. In the Hi-Lo system cards 2 to 6 are worth +1, the face cards and the tens are worth -1 and 7, 8 and 9 are not worth anything. This is a balanced card system as the minuses and pluses are equal.

In the systems of Zen Count and Wong Halves finer distinctions are made and cards can value +2 and -2 as well as the previously mentioned. These are multi-level count systems and they take more concentration as more information must be remembered. In most Blackjack card counting systems the idea is to get a positive count, since this usually indicates that the larger cards have not yet been played.

Who can become a skilled Blackjack card counter?

It would be a lie to say that anyone can become a great Blackjack card counter. It is true though that anyone with a talent for math combined with a passion for Blackjack could make it with a good system and this regardless of age or nationality.

Thomas Johnson