Blackjack Strategies: The Advantages And Risks Of Card Counting

Blackjack FanduelBy Heather Vargas.

Winning and earning what you wagered for is the best goal you can have when participating in blackjack games. Although it may look like a game of chance, at first sight, this popular casino game is a complicated and perplexing one that reels its players in. Blackjack incorporates numerous strategies to put the players on the edge of their seats, one of which is card counting.

What Is Card Counting?

In any game, a good strategy can put players at a greater advantage. To play blackjack is no different. Card counting is a blackjack technique that gives a significant upper hand to the players with a statistical advantage. The players that count cards can determine if they have the advantage on the next hand or the dealer.

Players that determine their advantage is positive will bet higher amounts. If card counting is executed correctly, they can improve their odds in the game. Moreover, there are different card counting systems, but the most popular is the Hi-Lo or High-Low strategy. It is a simple strategy that you can undertake mentally by tallying the three groups of cards.


To explain, card counting “tags” the cards. For Hi-Lo, cards 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 are tagged as a plus one. So, every time you see those numbers, you would add one to your count. On the other hand, a ten or ace are tagged as minus 1. So, you reduce the amount to your running count. Meanwhile, cards 7, 8, and 9 are considered neutral and thus tagged as zero.

After the cards are dealt, you will then start the running count. The running card works by adding or subtracting one to all the cards face up. In other words, you tag every card that comes out of the shoe until the cards are shuffled.

If the running count starts to decrease and goes negative, the odds of the dealers are increasing. In contrast, if the running count has risen sufficiently, then the advantage can shift to the player.1)Of course, there are many fine points to card counting such as converting what is known as the running count to a true count,  play variations and bankroll requirements.

Keep in mind that the essence of blackjack is the bet. Now that you are aware of the possible odds, you must then move your bets in relation to them. You need to make use of the advantage that is presented to you. Bet big if the odds are in your favor and hold back if not.


Card Counting Advantages

First of all, card counting is not illegal. You can enjoy and have a good time in blackjack casino games with this strategy without the risk of being kicked out or thrown into jail. It is convenient and greatly advantageous once you master its art.

Aside from that, card counting is an excellent way to push retaliation to the casino house without intimidation or other unnecessary devices. It is a pure game of wits and tricks that you must deliberately proceed with. To further increase your efficiency, you must increase your bet.

If you are good at doing mental counting, the house will unknowingly proceed with the game, and the odds can be in your favor. Concerning this, the average house advantage is at 0.5 percent, so you will only most likely lose at least 50 cents for every hundred dollars you bet. Now, if you use card counting, you could strategically shift the odds more in your favor and lower the amounts lost.

Risk Factors of Card Counting

Card counting may not be illegal, but there are still things at stake. As long as the players do not use any devices that aid them in counting, they are clear. However, casinos have the right to deny services to people that count cards and ban players that violate them. Keep in mind that every gambling house has a different set of rules. 

This now makes card counting and strategy charts risky strategies that can kick you out and, sometimes, get you listed in their database. The establishment will be warned about your presence and reduce your chance to sit at any table to play.

Moreover, although card counting can give you a long run advantage, on some days, it will seem like winning is impossible.  This is due to the variance in the game and you can expect large swings whether you are counting or not. 

On the other hand, the casino is where most people socialize and have fun. If you are playing this casino game for entertainment, learning card counting might eventually decrease your excitement. You might also get lost in your counting strategy and forget to interact with other players. In the end, if your reason to play is entertainment, you lose your reason to play.

Final Thoughts

Ultimately, the best blackjack strategy is the technique that works best for you. Card counting is suitable for serious blackjack players who are looking to gain an advantage over the casino.  Regardless of the strategy, it would be best to stick to strategies that are simple to master and implement.  If your reason to play is entertainment, your best strategy is often to simply memorize blackjack basic strategy.



1Of course, there are many fine points to card counting such as converting what is known as the running count to a true count,  play variations and bankroll requirements.

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