How to count cards at blackjack?

How to count cards at blackjackMany players have probably heard that blackjack - it is the only game where professional player can get a real mathematical advantage over the casino. People who count cards in blackjack are called counters. This article describes the basic rules of counting cards in blackjack and described one of the most popular card counting systems - plus or minus.

In fact, blackjack is not the only gane where play can obtain positive mathematical expectation of winning. On our site contains information that allow to get advantage even at slots. Learn more on the next page:

How to count cards at blackjack?

All face cards (Jack, Queen, King and ten) give 10 points. Card counting systems do not differ a lot from each other. Player can calculate the probability of appearing big and small cards. When player know what type of cards (big or small) are leaved in the deck, it is much easier to double or surrender his hands. 

For example: if you know that there are a lot of face cards left, you can double any cards that cannot bust against dealer's 6 or 5. From the other hand it will be easy "surrender" with non-face card against dealer's 10.


During counting, we are trying to get the situation, when a lot of face-cards (10 points) are in the deck. This situation is called "warm deck" and it is a good reason for increasing the stakes.

What are the ways:

Plus-Minus SystemCounting cards system was opened by Edward Thorp. But his system was very complicated - each card has its value: from -9 to +11, so the counting process, considering all these values ​​was incredibly difficult. Thorpe system urgently needs to be simplified.

System plus or minus:

In 1963 card counting system named Plus - minus appeared. It was was much more simple and understandable to the average person. Strictly speaking, many card counters use the system so far. It was only a little to correct and accounted for the basic strategy.

  • In the "plus or minus" all the cards are divided into three groups, each of which is assigned its value +1 (for small cards 2-6), 0 (for medium-sized cards 7-9) and -1 (for face cards, aces and tens). The sum of points in one deck consisting of 52 cards is zero.
  • Every time player sees that cards are out from the deck he adds +1 for each small card (2-6), -1 for each face-card (10, Jack, Queen, King and Ace) and skip all middle (sevens, eights, nines) cards in counting. The plus minus system allows to understand how warm is the deck right now: +10 (warm), +15 (extra hot), around 0 is normal, any minus number - cold.

Mathematical expectation depending on the counting

If you are using plus minus counting system, you can expect for the following mathematical expectation:

Live Account Changing the winning expectation
–10 –4,79%
–3 –1,71%
–2 –1,12%
–1 –0,53%
0 +0,09%
+1 +0,73%
+2 +1,36%
+3 +1,98%
+10 +7,39%

With a negative value (-2 or lower), you must reduce the stake, or skip the hands, continuing to count cards of other players. If the account has a positive value cards (two or more), rates can be increased.

Live casino:

Live gamblingLet's see if we can count cards in blackjack, when we play online? You should take a look if a dealer using shuffling machine or shuffling all cards with hands. If the machine is used - the counting of cards cannot be applied here (as it shuffle cards before every hand). If dealer making it with hands - you can use this strategy without any doubts.

Blank cards:

So how to count cards in blackjack Live casino? The variant of the use of "empty card counting”. To use it, you should:

  • Connect to the blackjack table in the live casino and start to count cards without any betting. You're just looking on cards of other players and count. 
  • Start to bet in only when the deck becomes "hot".

The movie Twenty-one:

Counting Cards at Movie 21Let's remember, for example, recently released in cinema the movie "Twenty-one".  Here Matt, well versed in mathematics, falls into the group of students who make a lot of money using card counting in blackjack. They used plus or minus system. They even developed a system of gestures and words to communicate to each other the value of the current deck. One group played with minumum stakes and counted cards. When deck becomes how they showed secret signts to the "high-roller", who came to the table and began to play with maximum stakes.

Maybe you will be interested in the following materials:

Best Netent casinos list 2018