Counting cards is the single most iconic and profitable advantage gambling method, the animated GIF image depicts a row of 5 cards from the 52 card standard poker deck being flipped over. Under the picture you can find a summary, guide to, tutorial and a video tutorial about card counting.
Counting cards with video tutorial

 

Counting cards is the single most iconic advantage gambling practice. When you think of professional gambling, you probably has the mental image of card counting (even though there are much more advantage gambling methods).

The mathematical method of counting cards was made popular by the MIT Blackjack team and by mathematician, best-selling author and blackjack hall of fame member Dr. Edward O. Thorp.

In this guide you will find everything you need to get started with counting cards – from the basics to tutorials: a written guide and a video tutorial about how to count cards in poker.

 

Let’s get started!

 

/Card counting is only one of the advantage gambling methods. There are many more. Check out the other advantage gambling methods and learn to make money gambling like the professional gamblers./

 

 

Card counting

 

Summary:

 

Counting cards – the basics

 

Counting cards, an overview –  Card counting as we know it today is attributed to mathematician Dr. Edward O. Thorp, who published the New York times best seller “Beat the Dealer” in 1966. In the 1960s, he regularly made $ 50,000 ( value as of 2014: $ 396,000) gambling counting cards each weekend, till he got banned from most casinos.

/Dr. Edward O. Thorp  is also the member of the Blackjack Hall of fame. He is widely regarded as the father of card counting, the most ell known professional gambler, card counter, blackjack player who has ever lived./

 

The popularity of card counting in blackjack received a large boost from the M.I.T Blackjack team and the movie “21” in recent years (, you might also want to watch the documentary film “Hot Shoe”).

 

Card counting is most often used while playing blackjack and baccarat but theoretically, it can be used while playing other card games, including poker.

Counting cards is the most popular advantage gambling method.

 

 

Counting cards  – the method in practice

Card counting is based on statistics and probability.

In blackjack and baccarat (where it is most often used) there are sets of cards in the game, which benefit the player more, and there are sets of cards, which benefit the dealer more.

When you’re counting cards, what you are really doing is keeping track of cards already in the game and trying to figure out how the probability of  cards – which benefit the player more – change as the game progresses and adjusting your strategy accordingly.

 

Different methods and strategies for counting cards:

 

 

It would be impossible to cover all these in one post, but Hi-lo card counting strategy is the most popular of all card counting schemes and it is also arguably the best, overall technique. I recommend using the Hi-Lo card counting strategy (that’s what I’m using too, and I’m convinced it’s the best), and in this guide I will explain the basics of it.

 

Counting cards – let’s use the Hi-Lo card counting strategy in blackjack as an example: 

 

This is an animated GIF for the blackjack card counting tutorial step-by-step guide, illustrating one of the steps, the ranking from high to low step in the Hi-lo technique. You can read about this step under this animated GIF.
Hi-lo step 1., ranking cards from high to low

 

In blackjack, high cards (especially aces and 10s) benefit the player more than the dealer, while low cards, (e.g.: 4s, 5s, and 6s) benefit the dealer more.

A high concentration of aces and 10s in the deck increases the player’s chances of hitting a natural blackjack, which pays out 3:2.

Also, when the shoe has a high concentration of 10s, players have a better chance of winning, when doubling.

Low cards benefit the dealer, since according to blackjack rules, the dealer must hit stiff hands (12-16 total), while the player has the option to hit, or stand. Thus a dealer holding (12-16) will bust every time if the next card drawn is a 10 (making this card essential to track when card counting).

 

/If you did not understand the description of card counting because of the blackjack jargon used you need to play more blackjack and familiarise yourself with it’s rules and jargon more before you can consider experimenting with card counting. Remember: you can only start card counting if you already know how to play blackjack./

 

Card counters assign values to beneficial sets. In the Hi-Lo strategy these values are: 

The traditionally used values for non-beneficial sets (beneficial for the dealer):

Start at 0 and as each card comes up, add it to your tally.

Example: 

The cards on the cat are +2 (from left to right: 0+1+1 = +2)

This isa picture of a ct lying on its side with 4 cards on it, 3 face up, one face down. If you practice the method for counting cards discussed above, you can see that the value of the cards on the cat is +2. Above the picture you can read about step 2., of this Hi-lo card counting tutorial, which is about assigning numerical value to blackjack cards and then adding the values of each card in the shoe.
+2, 0+1+1 = +2 – using the Hi-Lo strategy for counting cards in Black Jack

 

Increase your bets when the count is running positive (that is, about +2 and above). The higher the count, the more you should bet.

 

And this is how you count cards. Not as complicated as most people assume, but keep in mind, practice makes perfect. Teal life games are pretty fast, and you have to count cards without getting noticed by the dealer or pit boss.

 

There are many different systems, variations of the basic system out there but this is the most common form.  It sounds easy on paper but it’s especially hard to do in brick and mortar casinos with all the distractions.

 

 

 

Advantages and disadvantages of counting cards

 

Card counting has a few advantages and disadvantages when compared to other advantage gambling methods.

 

Advantages: 

 

Disadvantages:

This is a picture of a card shuffling machine. These machines make card counting impossible, if you see them don2t try the card counting methods discussed to the right of the picture.
Continuous Shuffling Machines (CSM)

Continuous Shuffling Machines (CSMs, to the left) allow dealers to return the cards played to a single shoe, which makes it possible for cards that were just played on the table to be re-shuffled to the top of the shoe. This makes all card counting schemes useless.

Even in venues with no CMS machines, there are downsides to counting cards:

 

There is one thing that seriously limits the money you can make with card counting: you can get banned from a casino. Even tough card counting is not illegal, casinos have the right to ban you from playing if you are counting cards.

Therefore, I would suggest playing it safe and not to win more than  $ 2 – 3 000 in one sitting. Make sure you lose some money as well and don’t just win, because that can make it quite obvious that you’re counting cards.

Casinos employ sophisticated methods to detect players counting cards. You can still use card counting in this case, but make sure you don’t go overboard. It is important to mimic the natural pattern of gaming as close as possible (winning-losing-winning-losing). This  makes counting cards harder than it seems, because you not only have to be an expert player and a flawless card counter, you also need to be able to view the whole process from the dealer’s perspective.

If you play it safe, and you play in different casinos all the time, you can make as much as $ 50 000 – 100 000 monthly, but anything higher than that is not realistic (don’t forget to pay taxes on your gambling winnings, in the overwhelming majority of countries money won from gambling is taxable income).

If you don’t go overboard you can certainly make a living doing this for a time. You will eventually be banned from most casinos in your vicinity, but it will take years-and-years before that happens. Let me know in the comments section if you are actively making money with this method, share your experience with us, thank you.

 

Online casinos with live dealers

The following online gambling websites have blackjack, live dealer blackjack and poker:

 

 

Black Lotus Casino

This is Black Lotus Casino's 2020 animated GIF banner advertising their new slot and their free spins and casino match bonuses. You can read about these promotional offers below the animated banner. By clicking on the banner you will be taken to the casino's website where you can register and play.
Black Lotus Casino bonus offers
USA and Canada players are accepted.
  • Get 200% match bonus, up to $600. Use the code: WELCOME600
  • +$30 bonus. Use code: WINBLACK

Bonuses for existing players:
  • 32 Free Spins on Sweet Success Code: CHEER1
  • 32 Free Spins on Nordic Wild Code: CHEER2
  • 32 Free Spins on Cosmopolitan Code: CHEER3
  • 32 Free Spins on 7 Chakras Code: CHEER4
  • 32 Free Spins on Le Chocolatier Code: CHEER5
  • 32 Free Spins on Fairy Dust Forest Code: CHEER6
UPDATE, SPECIAL CHRISTMAS HOLIDAY BONUS: It's the Elf Hat Game of the season! Can you keep your eyes on the lucky hat? Choose the right one with the present and see what festive prize you will win! For returning players only.

Playthrough requirements and wagering limitations

All bonuses and promotions are subject to the following wagering limitations and playthrough requirements.
  • Playthrough requirement: 40-60x for match bonuses and usually 60x for free spins and other bonuses, depends on the bonus check the casino's web page for the specific, up to date, current playthrough requirements and wagering limitations

Wagering limitation:
  • 100% - Slots and Keno
  • 50% - Roulette and Three Card Poker
  • 25% - Baccarat
  • 10% - Video Poker
  • 5% - Blackjack, Craps
  • 0% - Everything else

 

BGO

BGO casino banner displaying the various bonuses and promotional offers offered by BGO casino. You can read these offers below.
Next gen, cross platform and mobile compatible casino with the best casino games, live dealers and bingo. Best bonuses currently.
US players can not register.
  • 500 free spins
  Terms and conditions of the casino apply (if any). Check the casino's webpage for up to date terms and conditions and wagering limitations.  

Playthrough requirements and wagering limitations

Only for UK players, new players only.
Playthrough requirement: 65x
Wagering limitation:
  • Slots: 100%
  • Roulette: 25%
  • All Blackjack Games: 25%
  • 3 Card Brag: 50%
  • Casino Hold'em: 25%
  • Baccarat: 0%
  • Everything else: 0%

 

Bet Online Casino and Sports Book

Bet Online bookmaker and gambling website's banner displaying the various bonuses and promotional offers offered currently.
Bet Online sports-book and casino, cross platform and mobile compatible, Bitcoin accepted.
  • Welcome bonus, 100% up to $1,000 on your first three deposits! Use the code BOLCASINO
  • 100% welcome match bonus up to 100% on your first deposit using Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Litecoin or DASH. No code required.

Playthrough requirements and wagering limitations

The deposit bonus amount must be wagered 40 times before withdrawal.
Playthrough requirement: • Slot Games (progressive jackpot slots excluded) 100% • Roulette (All versions), Draw High-Lo, 3 Card Rummy 20% • Baccarat, Blackjack (American & European), Poker 3, Oasis Poker, Single Deck Blackjack, Triple Edge Poker, Caribbean Poker, Three Card Poker, Video Poker 10% • Pirate 21, Blackjack Super 7, Pai Gow, 21 Burn, Ride’m Poker, All forms of Keno, Red Dog, Pontoon, Top Card Trumps 5% • Craps, Live Casino, All Games with Progressive Jackpots, Virtual Racebook. Speciality games ie Keno’s and Scratcher game offered by Betsoft 0%
Wagering limitation:
  • Any action on Baccarat, Roulette and Craps will not count towards the wagering requirement.

 

Betsson Casino and Sports Book

European casino & sportsbook & poker
North American players are not accepted.
  • Welcome bonus, 100% up to €100
  • 101 free spins on your first deposit
  • €5,000 every week for one lucky active returning player (no wagering limitation, no playthrough requirement)

US players can not register. Betsson has over 1500 games, the most games of any casino. You can read the review of Betsson casino here.

Playthrough requirements and wagering limitations

The deposit bonus amount must be wagered 35 times before withdrawal. No wagering requirement for the weekly extra money.
Playthrough requirement: No playthrough requirement for the extra weekly money. In case of the welcome bonus: • 100%: Slots • 10%: All Roulette (except Live), Caribbean Stud & Casino Stud Poker Games • 10%: All Casino Hold’Em, Red Dog, Pai Gow, Poker Games, Oasis Poker & Texas Hold’Em Poker Games • 5%: All BlackJack (except Live BlackJack), Baccarat, Video Poker, Pontoon, Beat Me, Punto Banco Games
Wagering limitation:
  • The bonus cannot be wagered on the following games: 1429 Uncharted Seas, Aliens, Big Bang, Blood Suckers, Castle builder, Castle Builder 2, Champion of the Track, Dead or Alive, Devil´s Delight, Eggomatic, Epic Gems, Eye of the Kraken, Kings of Chicago, Pearls of India, Robin Hood, Scrooge, Sea Hunter, Super Monopoly Money, The Wish Master, Tower Quest, Wild Gambler, Wizard Shop, Zombies.
  • Player from certain countries are not allowed use bonuses due to regular bonus abuse, check the casino's website for the ever changing up to date list.

 

 

Counting cards – tutorial, step by step guide

 

Counting cards using the Hi-lo card counting strategy in blackjack

 

The Hi-lo count was first introduced in 1963 by Harvey Dubner, an American engineer and mathematician. Below is a brief explanation of how to use the Hi-Lo system in practice.

 

I., Assign a numeric value to each rank, the traditional values used are:

 

The is a visual learning aid to help you card counting. You can see the numbers you need to assign to certain cards while suing the Hi-lo card counting system. Under the picture you can read about the Hi-lo system.
Numbers you need to assign when counting cards

 

II., Start with a “running count” of zero at the start of the deck/shoe. As cards are revealed, keep adding or subtracting from the running count, according to the point system in step 1.

For example, if the first ten cards to come out of the shoe are 2, 7, Q, 7, K, A, 8, 3, 2, 5, then the running count is: +1+0-1+0-1-1+0+1+1+1=+1.

 

III., Divide the running count by the number of decks remaining, to get the “true count.”

E.g.: running count is +5 and there are about 2 decks left. The true count would be 5/2 = 2.5.

 

Let’s round that up to 3, to keep it simple. This is the true count.

 

IV., The higher the value of the true count, the more you should bet.

Only increasing bets after a win, decreasing after a loss, and staying the same after a push makes play look more natural, but at a cost of more moderate profitability.

Try to mimic the natural pattern of the game as close as possible, so no one can find out that you’re using an advantage gambling method (it gets you banned from casinos, but in live dealer online casinos they don’t see you, therefore it’s almost impossible form getting banned from live dealer online casinos, you might want to try it out, the online casinos on this page all have live dealers).

 

 

Counting cards – a video tutorial

 

If the step-by-step guide above wasn’t enough, or if you are more of a visual learner, the following Youtube video might be perfect for you:

 

 

If you have read the Hi-Lo card counting tutorial and watched the video, you only need to practice to master the Hi-Lo card counting strategy in Blackjack and start winning money.

 

 

Where to practice counting cards?

 

If you are new to counting cards, or you are just starting to get the hang of it, you need to practice in an environment that has less distractions than a brick & mortar casino, and zero chance of getting banned.

 

The best place to practice card counting is a so called “live casino” (online casino with live dealers). A live dealer casino is the perfect place to practice, because you can have a tutorial open while you play, have plenty of time to think, no pressure, and no pit boss watching over you. The online casinos on this page all have live dealers.

 

 

Online casinos with live dealers

The following online gambling websites have blackjack, live dealer blackjack and poker:

 

Black Lotus Casino

This is Black Lotus Casino's 2020 animated GIF banner advertising their new slot and their free spins and casino match bonuses. You can read about these promotional offers below the animated banner. By clicking on the banner you will be taken to the casino's website where you can register and play.
Black Lotus Casino bonus offers
USA and Canada players are accepted.
  • Get 200% match bonus, up to $600. Use the code: WELCOME600
  • +$30 bonus. Use code: WINBLACK

Bonuses for existing players:
  • 32 Free Spins on Sweet Success Code: CHEER1
  • 32 Free Spins on Nordic Wild Code: CHEER2
  • 32 Free Spins on Cosmopolitan Code: CHEER3
  • 32 Free Spins on 7 Chakras Code: CHEER4
  • 32 Free Spins on Le Chocolatier Code: CHEER5
  • 32 Free Spins on Fairy Dust Forest Code: CHEER6
UPDATE, SPECIAL CHRISTMAS HOLIDAY BONUS: It's the Elf Hat Game of the season! Can you keep your eyes on the lucky hat? Choose the right one with the present and see what festive prize you will win! For returning players only.

Playthrough requirements and wagering limitations

All bonuses and promotions are subject to the following wagering limitations and playthrough requirements.
  • Playthrough requirement: 40-60x for match bonuses and usually 60x for free spins and other bonuses, depends on the bonus check the casino's web page for the specific, up to date, current playthrough requirements and wagering limitations

Wagering limitation:
  • 100% - Slots and Keno
  • 50% - Roulette and Three Card Poker
  • 25% - Baccarat
  • 10% - Video Poker
  • 5% - Blackjack, Craps
  • 0% - Everything else

 

BGO

BGO casino banner displaying the various bonuses and promotional offers offered by BGO casino. You can read these offers below.
Next gen, cross platform and mobile compatible casino with the best casino games, live dealers and bingo. Best bonuses currently.
US players can not register.
  • 500 free spins
  Terms and conditions of the casino apply (if any). Check the casino's webpage for up to date terms and conditions and wagering limitations.  

Playthrough requirements and wagering limitations

Only for UK players, new players only.
Playthrough requirement: 65x
Wagering limitation:
  • Slots: 100%
  • Roulette: 25%
  • All Blackjack Games: 25%
  • 3 Card Brag: 50%
  • Casino Hold'em: 25%
  • Baccarat: 0%
  • Everything else: 0%

 

Bet Online Casino and Sports Book

Bet Online bookmaker and gambling website's banner displaying the various bonuses and promotional offers offered currently.
Bet Online sports-book and casino, cross platform and mobile compatible, Bitcoin accepted.
  • Welcome bonus, 100% up to $1,000 on your first three deposits! Use the code BOLCASINO
  • 100% welcome match bonus up to 100% on your first deposit using Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Litecoin or DASH. No code required.

Playthrough requirements and wagering limitations

The deposit bonus amount must be wagered 40 times before withdrawal.
Playthrough requirement: • Slot Games (progressive jackpot slots excluded) 100% • Roulette (All versions), Draw High-Lo, 3 Card Rummy 20% • Baccarat, Blackjack (American & European), Poker 3, Oasis Poker, Single Deck Blackjack, Triple Edge Poker, Caribbean Poker, Three Card Poker, Video Poker 10% • Pirate 21, Blackjack Super 7, Pai Gow, 21 Burn, Ride’m Poker, All forms of Keno, Red Dog, Pontoon, Top Card Trumps 5% • Craps, Live Casino, All Games with Progressive Jackpots, Virtual Racebook. Speciality games ie Keno’s and Scratcher game offered by Betsoft 0%
Wagering limitation:
  • Any action on Baccarat, Roulette and Craps will not count towards the wagering requirement.

 

Betsson Casino and Sports Book

European casino & sportsbook & poker
North American players are not accepted.
  • Welcome bonus, 100% up to €100
  • 101 free spins on your first deposit
  • €5,000 every week for one lucky active returning player (no wagering limitation, no playthrough requirement)

US players can not register. Betsson has over 1500 games, the most games of any casino. You can read the review of Betsson casino here.

Playthrough requirements and wagering limitations

The deposit bonus amount must be wagered 35 times before withdrawal. No wagering requirement for the weekly extra money.
Playthrough requirement: No playthrough requirement for the extra weekly money. In case of the welcome bonus: • 100%: Slots • 10%: All Roulette (except Live), Caribbean Stud & Casino Stud Poker Games • 10%: All Casino Hold’Em, Red Dog, Pai Gow, Poker Games, Oasis Poker & Texas Hold’Em Poker Games • 5%: All BlackJack (except Live BlackJack), Baccarat, Video Poker, Pontoon, Beat Me, Punto Banco Games
Wagering limitation:
  • The bonus cannot be wagered on the following games: 1429 Uncharted Seas, Aliens, Big Bang, Blood Suckers, Castle builder, Castle Builder 2, Champion of the Track, Dead or Alive, Devil´s Delight, Eggomatic, Epic Gems, Eye of the Kraken, Kings of Chicago, Pearls of India, Robin Hood, Scrooge, Sea Hunter, Super Monopoly Money, The Wish Master, Tower Quest, Wild Gambler, Wizard Shop, Zombies.
  • Player from certain countries are not allowed use bonuses due to regular bonus abuse, check the casino's website for the ever changing up to date list.

 

 

Important: 

This is a picture of a card shuffling machine. These machines make card counting impossible, if you see them don2t try the card counting methods discussed to the right of the picture.
Continuous Shuffling Machines (CSM)
  • CSM (Continuous Shuffling Machines) make card counting impossible (live casinos have CSM sometimes too, you can see this machine to the left).
  • Remember, counting cards is not illegal, but it can get you banned from a casino (or even from a live dealer online casino, but that’s almost unheard of, only if you get really greedy).
  • The higher the count, the more you should bet, but keep in mind that if you range your bets too much, you might draw the suspicion of the casino staff. Subtlety is important.

 

 

Can you count cards in blackjack?

Of course you can! In fact, card counting is most often used in blackjack. This is where it gives you the most advantage. Here is video tutorial about card counting in blackjack (the same thing that’s in the step by step guide, just in video format, for visual learners):

 

 

Can you count cards in poker?

Yes, definitely, and you should too. The technique is called counting outs. Here is a video tutorial of card counting (counting outs) in poker, which tells you about the benefits, advantages and issues, disadvantages of this poker advantage play method:

 

 

 

Can you count cards in baccarat?

The answer is yes, you can. But is is worth it? Compared to blackjack and poker it’s not, it only gives you a tiny advantage, the least out of all the three big casino card games. If you still  would like to learn, here is a video tutorial about counting cards in baccarat:

 

 

Card counting is only one of the advantage gambling methods. There are many more. Check out the other advantage gambling methods and learn to make money gambling like the professional players.

 

Last updated: 2021-01-03

 

Gamble responsibly! Good luck,
SimonTheSorcerer

Summary
Simon's Guide to Counting Cards Tutorial
Article Name
Simon's Guide to Counting Cards Tutorial
Description
Learn how to count cards using this tutorial (Hi Lo method), video tutorial included, guide, videos, step by step, how to and more. How to count cards using the Hi-Lo card counting strategy technique.
Author
Simon Andras Peter (SimonTheSorcerer)
Simon's Online Marketing Kft.
Tagged

One Response

  1. Guilherme says:

    Hello Simon, I’ll start with counting cards online via live dealers, but would like to know what you suggest regarding bankroll? How much should I have available concerning the table minimum? Thank you!
    Note: Sorry for the english, I am Brazilian and I use the google translator.

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