Techniques for Counting the Cards Played

There are various methods of counting the cards played.  The goal is to count every card played while making sure that the same card is never counted twice.  You will soon find that it is difficult to keep an accurate count unless you follow a general pattern.  Once you are accustomed to a certain order, you will find it much easier than wandering around the table in no particular order.  If you find yourself continually asking yourself the question, “have I counted that card yet?” you probably are not being meticulous enough.

Face up games

In Atlantic City, your cards are dealt face up, meaning that your cards are exposed to all players of this casino.  An effective method is to count all the player’s first two cards to the right of yourself, as well as your first two cards.  Then count the hit cards for the above players.  Count any blackjacks or surrenders as the player is paid and the cards are removed from play.  After playing your hand, count the remaining player’s cards to your left, then the dealer’s cards.  The advantage of this method is that your head will not ping pong back and forth, making it more obvious that you are counting.Hand held Games
In Las Vegas, the first two cards are dealt face down, meaning that these cards cannot be counted until they are turned over.  In this case, you should count the hit cards first and then the original two cards, which will be turned over closer to the dealer.  Again, you should count the cards of the players to your right first.

In a single or double deck game, you will find it beneficial to look at as many cards as possible in order to make play variations on certain cards or insurance decisions. 

Feel free to wander around the table as long as you don’t start asking yourself that question, “have I counted that card yet?”, too often.  You must realize that if you are not sure of the answer to this question, that you are probably making some mistakes in your count.  If you suspect mistakes you are probably better to stick to a pre-set pattern, unless you know that the dealer will be shuffling after this hand.

While playing, it is to your advantage to count any card that you are lucky enough to see, such as the burn card or the bottom card of the deck.  You should always remember that your count is an approximation of your edge, and the more cards you include in your count, the better your approximation.  To be really successful at blackjack you must be ready for the long grind and remember that any extra advantage, big or small, can help you.