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How to Count Cards

Author: Preston Davis | Updated: May 28, 2023

How to Count Cards

What Is Card Counting?

Card counting—a technique used to gain an advantage over the casino while playing blackjack—requires the player to keep track of the high and low cards dealt and then use this information to feed his or her betting and playing decisions.

While this practice is not illegal per se, casinos frown upon card counting (as it inherently gives the player an edge over the house) and in fact may ask you to leave or ban you from playing altogether if they catch you doing so.

Card counting is difficult to master but can reap numerous benefits for the player if done correctly.

Card-Counting Trainers

Card-counting trainers—software tools that teach players how to count cards accurately—can arm you with associated skills so that you can quickly and easily sharpen your card-counting abilities no matter your level.

These trainers feature a unique teaching method that allows you to practice counting cards without using real money while tracking your progress and receiving feedback on your accuracy.

The following are some of our favourite blackjack training software options:

Casino Verite Blackjack V5

This professional-grade blackjack training software features various drills, tests, and games so you can practice card counting/betting strategies and even simulate authentic casino conditions.

Not only that, but a comprehensive training guide can teach you everything you need to know about card counting. If you ask us, this well-rounded training experience is well worth the $90 price tag.

Results Tracker Pro

In the market for a software tool that can help you track your progress while receiving feedback on your card-counting skills? Results Tracker Pro is perfect for you! Programme software includes various drills and tests to help sharpen your skills, and you can track your progress over time and receive feedback on your accuracy. With a price of $19, it’s a small price to pay for such big-time benefits.

Free Blackjack Combinatorial Analyser

This FREE software tool is designed to help you improve your blackjack skills and includes a plethora of drills, tests, and games to help you learn how to count cards and make excellent decisions at the table.

Not only that, but an associated training guide can truly teach you the ins and outs of card counting.

Blackjack Card Counting Trainer Free App

Designed to help improve your card-counting skills, this FREE app includes many drills, hand signals, tests, and simulators to help you learn how to count cards and become a superior blackjack player.

It also includes a comprehensive training guide with videos and articles to teach you everything you need to know about card counting.

How To Use a Card-Counting Trainer

First and foremost, you need to choose the best card-counting system for your own unique needs. We recommend starting with the ‘Hi-Lo system,’ which is the most popular option and the easiest to learn: a true win-win!

After selecting a system, you’ll use the trainer to practice counting cards via virtual hands of blackjack or in a real blackjack game: keeping track of the count as you play.

Once you’ve mastered the art of card counting, you’ll obviously want to use this to your advantage during gameplay—making betting and playing decisions based on the count and enjoying an edge over casinos in return.

Count Cards in Online Blackjack

You can also count cards when playing blackjack online. Remember that most online casinos use random number generators to deal with their cards: meaning that card order is completely random and impossible to predict.

Nevertheless, it is sometimes still possible to count cards in online blackjack. You can track the high and low cards dealt and/or use a software programme to keep track of your count. Though these programmes are legal to use, they are not always allowed at online casinos.

Though card counting can give you an edge in online blackjack, it’s important to remember that the house still enjoys a significant advantage: you should rely only on this strategy to improve your chances of winning and nothing more.

Basic card counting systems

Basic card counting systems

All card-counting systems essentially work by keeping track of the high and low cards dealt, with the count then used to aid betting and playing decisions. Let’s quickly outline some of the most popular options, noting that in ALL cases, positive counts mean the player should bet more money, while the opposite holds true for negative counts:

Hi-Lo: The most popular card counting system, this assigns a value of +1 to low cards (2-6) and -1 to high cards (10-A) and is mimicked by numerous variations noted in the table below.

System NameLow Card (2-6*) ValueHigh Card (10-A) ValueValue of 7
Hi-Lo Lite+1-10
Red 7+10-1
High-Low II+1-10
Ace-Five+1-10 (*6 as well)
Hi-Opt I & Hi-Opt II+1-10
Silver Fox+1-10
Uston SS+1-10
UBZ 2+1-10
Uston APC+1-10
J. Noir+1-10
Canfield Expert+1-10
  • Zen Count: Yet another variation of the Hi-Lo system, this assigns a value of +2 to low cards (2-6) and a value of -2 to high cards (10-A). 7s, meanwhile, are assigned a value of 0.
  • KISS I: This Zen Count variation assigns a value of +1 to low cards (2-6), a value of -1 to high cards (10-A), and a value of 0 to 7s.
  • KISS II: Another variation of the Zen Count, this system assigns a value of +2 to low cards (2-6) and a value of -2 to high cards (10-A). 7s are assigned a value of 0.

Advanced Card Counting Strategies

After you’ve mastered these techniques, you may find that you no longer need to count on your hands (yay!). Not only that but after you’ve mastered more complicated skills, consider exploring these intriguing alternatives:

Group Play

Card counters operate in groups, and with so many people collaborating, numerous decks on several tables are sometimes monitored simultaneously due to the corresponding communication. Players send each other signals that go unnoticed and can therefore inform gamers when it is their chance to participate in a hand (and whether or not to bet big!).

Wong Halves

Wong Halves

Although this approach is not as commonly used, it involves sitting out of hands until the count turns positive: indicating that more face cards and aces remain in the shoe. Upon returning to gameplay, you bet big to take advantage of the situation at hand (no pun intended).

Please note you cannot use this method when playing online blackjack because you must be physically present to ‘wong in.’ Still, when used correctly, it can substantially improve your chances of winning in-person games as a precise card-prediction technique.

Nevertheless, there is also risk involved as players don’t play every hand and can thus miss out on potential winnings if the count turns negative while they’re on the sidelines.

Omega II

A more complicated system developed by Arnold Snyder based on the theory of probability and statistics, Omega II is designed to give players an edge over the casino no matter the number of decks used. It’s also extremely difficult to learn—eek!

In this multi-level counting system, cards are counted with values of 2 and -2 wherein the final sum of all cards is zero. When an additional count is performed on the aces, it’s even more beneficial.

Ace Sequencing

As the name implies, this method is used to keep track of all aces dealt in order to make subsequent betting decisions. A more advanced card-counting technique, it’s very effective if used correctly and dictates players bet big when the count is in their favour (and small when it’s not). Although this card-counting blackjack strategy can win over many players, it’s important to remember that the technique is not foolproof and you can therefore lose money if you’re not careful.

Multiple Decks

Numerous decks make the total count increasingly important, forcing players to convert the ‘running’ count to a ‘real’ count to improve accuracy and efficiency.

As for the primary advantage associated with using a multi-deck system? It makes it more difficult for casinos to spot card counting—though always remain mindful that the house still has a significant advantage, so only use this technique if you’re uber confident in your abilities.

Card-Counting Tips

  • The most important thing to remember when counting cards is to remain discreet. Casinos will ask obvious participants to leave or bar blackjack play altogether as they don’t want players to have an edge against the house.
  • Remember that card counting is not a guaranteed way to win money but a helpful strategy to increase your advantage potentially. Approach this practice accordingly.

Final Thoughts

Though card counting is a legal technique that can improve your chances of blackjack success, it’s important to remember that ‘the house always wins’ and thus only consider this option if you’re poised in your abilities. Thankfully, there are plenty of resources out there to help you learn, and with practice and dedication, you too can become a top-notch card counter.


What is card counting?

Card counting is a technique to improve your chances of winning at blackjack. It involves keeping track of the cards that have been dealt with and making betting decisions based on this information.

Is card counting legal?

Yes, card counting is legal. However, casinos don’t like it because it gives players an advantage. You could be asked to leave the casino if you’re caught counting cards.

Is card counting effective?

Yes, card counting can be effective if used correctly. However, it’s important to remember that the house still has a significant advantage, so you should only use this technique if you’re confident in your abilities.

How long does it take to learn to count cards?

It depends on the person. Some people can learn to count cards in a few hours, while others may take days or weeks.

How can I learn card counting?

Many books and websites teach card counting. However, practising with a blackjack simulator is the best way to learn. This will allow you to try different techniques and see what works best for you.

Preston Davis is a gambling writer based in London. He's always on the lookout for new Online casinos, bonuses, and games to write about - so you can be sure he's on top of any news as soon as it breaks. Preston takes his work seriously but likes to have fun too - which is why he thoroughly tests everything he reviews before giving his final verdict. Preston enjoys spending time with his wife and two young children when he's not writing or playing games.