Card Counting for Online Blackjack

Card counting, or card reading, is a popular tactic blackjack player use to gain an advantage against the house. This strategy allows evaluating if the following hand will be advantageous to the player or the dealer. Of course, the card counter’s objective is to reduce the casino’s house edge. This is done by keeping track of which cards are already drawn and distributed to other players and the dealer. So, the blackjack player can then predict the next cards to come up.

The pioneer of card counting is Edward Thorp, he wrote “Beat the Dealer” back in 1962. Although many claims that Edward Thorp was not the actual creator of this strategy, his method is effective. Hence why it became popular very quickly amongst gamblers everywhere. If you want to learn more about it, this simple guide is just for you.

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Card Counting in Four Steps

The pioneer of card counting is Edward Thorp, he wrote “Beat the Dealer” back in 1962. Although many claims that Edward Thorp was not the actual creator of this strategy, his method is effective. Hence why it became popular very quickly amongst gamblers everywhere. If you want to learn more about it, this simple guide is just for you.

New gamblers might find card counting a little strange or complicated but it’s actually not that difficult to master. Moreover, the thrill of knowing you’re two steps ahead of everybody else alone is worth the time investment to learn. Of course, players want to count because it gives them a chance to control their gameplay better and perhaps even win. However, that involves mastering some basics first.

Knowing Your Cards

If you’re going to play a card game like blackjack, you must learn the number values of each card. In fact, that is the most important thing to do first things first. Here’s the gist:

  • There are the high value cards which are: Jack, Queen, King, Ace and 10. These high value cards are worth ‘-1’ each.
  • There are also low value cards which are: 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6. These are worth ‘+1’ each.
  • The remaining cards – 7, 8 and 9 count as ‘0’.

Keep a Tally

Based on the card values from above, you can now calculate the situation, figuratively and literally. By adding up the values of all cards that have already been drawn you’ll get either a positive or a negative number. This number is your running count and, naturally, a negative one indicates that there are more low-value, unfavorable cards to come. On the other hand, a positive running count means that high-value cards are still in the deck. So, with the running count and its implications then you can roughly estimate if the next card(s) will be in your favor.

Calculate the True Count

The running count shows you the value of only one part of all cards – those you can see. Hence, basing your decision on only a fraction of the total card pool is a bad idea. But what you can do is take into account the number of decks left. This will be the true count. To calculate it, just divide the running count by the number of left decks, and voila. For example, if the running count is +9 and there are three decks left, then the true count is +3.

Adjust Your Bet

There are many different blackjack strategies you could use to adjust your bet based on the true count. A simple way to do it is to add one to the true count. Then, multiply the resulting figure by your betting unit and then stake this amount. For instance, with a betting unit of $10 and a true count of +3, your wager becomes $10 * (1+3) = $40. But when the true count is negative or zero – bet just one unit. Also, remember that card counting is only useful in the long run.

Card Counting Guide for Blackjack

How to be Better at Card Counting?

It goes without saying that in the beginning, it will be hard. But practice makes perfect and getting better at playing blackjack will help you tremendously. By becoming more familiar with the game itself, in the process, you can hone your counting skills to perfection. In addition to just counting, however, you should also master at least one technique. This will go a long way in defeating the house edge at a real money casino.

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Card Counting Techniques

Blackjack card counting is a gift that keeps on giving but to reap all the benefits, you should have a technique or two under your belt. In fact, you already know about running and true counts. Besides that, you will find useful the Hi-Lo system.

The Hi-Lo System

The Hi-Lo system has to be the most common and simplest card counting technique. It came to be thanks to the Edward Thorp counting method. Especially for beginners in blackjack, this should be your go-to option.

In this technique, the cards are worth the same as what you’ve learned already. You begin with a running count of zero divided by the remaining decks in the shoe. As the game goes on you will adjust these values. The greater the positive numbers, the higher the value cards that remain in the deck.

Other Techniques

Of course, Hi-Lo is just one of the many ways in which you can count cards. Other options worth checking out include:

  • Red 7 system
  • Omega II system
  • Team card counting
  • Zen count
  • KO system 
  • Wong halves system

To Count or Not to Count?

Card counting comes with many pros but also some cons. For instance, it gives players a better chance at winning and control of the gameplay, especially when done right. With your counting skills at par, you can easily steer the odds of winning in your favor. 

However, card counting is generally regarded as cheating. In some cases, it may even be illegal, especially if counting apps are involved. Canadian online casinos certainly do not appreciate counters and when caught you might receive a permanent ban.


You will be surprised how much card counting can affect your blackjack games. It may seem intimidating at first but it’s actually not too difficult to learn. Moreover, implementing this strategy will give you a sense of control and boost your chances of walking away with cash. But remember, not all online casinos are fond of card counters, so use it with caution. If you’re ready to give it a try and all that’s missing is a good gaming destination – our reviews got your back.


Each card has a value of either +1, -1, or zero. Keep running counts as the cards are drawn and then place bets accordingly.

It's impossible to say, it’s all very individual. The more you count, the better you get, and the faster you become.

Yes, of course you can. To play blackjack and win, knowing the rules of the game is much more important than card counting techniques.

Depends on the strategy you choose. Some wager more when the dealer is nearing the end of the shoe while others will make side wagers that are contradictory to their core strategy, such as taking an insurance bet.

Casinos use a variety of methods to combat card counting, including shuffling processes, CSMs, and other security measures to keep an eye on strange betting patterns.

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