Black jack card counting is believed to have originated in the 1960s with MIT mathematician Dr. Edward O. Thorpe. It took some time before Thorpe’s black jack card counting systems became fully integrated into gambling circles, but they eventually formed the basis of a successful strategy for beating the odds at blackjack.
This page will give you an overview of the basics of black jack card counting and provide you with a simple black jack card counting system for success. You may wish to research more advanced black jack card counting systems once you have mastered the basics.
how black jack card counting works
Black jack card counting is basically a method of determining whether the deck will be favorable to you during any given hand over the course of the game. You do not have to be a genius to learn and practice black jack card counting, but it does take some time to train your mind to it.
Professionals who practice black jack card counting do not know exactly what the next card in the deck will be, but they do know when the approximate odds of drawing a certain card, such as a face card, are in their favor.
Basically, black jack card counting works on the assumption that you can keep track of how many 10-cards (10, jack, queen, king, ace) have been played. If there are twenty 10-cards in a deck of 52 and 15 of them have already been played, your chances of drawing a 10-card will be less than if five 10-cards had been played.
When there are more 10-cards in the deck, blackjack play favors the player over the dealer for the following reasons that have been proven in computer simulations:
- When the dealer receives a hand valued between 12-16, he must draw another card. The chances that he will draw a 10-card are higher and thus the chance of him going BUST (over 21) are better.
- When the dealer receives a hand 9-11, they can’t double down and the player can.
- There is a higher probability that you will draw more blackjacks and pat hands (17-21) when the deck is rich in 10-cards.
- The chances are greater that a player can be dealt a blackjack when the deck is rich in 10-cards, and when the player wins with a blackjack the payout is 3-2, but when the dealer wins with a blackjack, they only win the wager.
simple black jack card counting
Here is a simple method of black jack card counting that can improve your chances of winning. There are more advanced methods, but this will get you started in the right direction.
All cards in the deck are assigned one of three values as follows:
- 2,3,4,5,6 are assigned a value of +1
- 7,8,9 are assigned a value of 0
- 10,J,Q,K,A are assigned a value of -1
Assign a value to every card that is dealt during the game. For example, If three players are playing against the dealer and they are dealt the following hands:
- Player One: 5,7 which have a value of +1,0 = +1
- Player Two: 5,Q which have a value of +1,-1 = 0
- Player Three: 4,9 which have the value of +1,0 = +1
- Dealer’s up card: K, which has a value -1
total value of the cards played = +1
In this black jack card counting system you only have to add or subtract by one (1) to keep track of the running count. When the running count is +2 or higher you should increase your bet. If the running count is 0 or lower you should only bet the minimum.
Even though this is a simple black jack card counting system, it does require practice to become proficient. When the deck is finished, your running count should be 0. If it isn’t, you need more practice. If you can keep a running count of a whole deck in 45-70 seconds, you can try the system for real at the casino. Keep in mind that casino’s do not like card counters.