How Does Blackjack Card Counting Works?

Blackjack card counting works
Blackjack card counting works best at real casinos

Blackjack Card Counting

Blackjack Card counting is a strategy used in the game of Blackjack to gain an advantage over the casino. The basic idea behind card counting is to keep track of the ratio of high-value cards (10s and Aces) to low-value cards (2 through 6) remaining in the deck. This information can then be used to adjust the size of bets and make more informed playing decisions.

Blackjack Live Dealer
Blackjack Live Dealer

Card counting is not allowed in live casinos. They take many different steps to make sure that card counters are not able to succeed. From using multiple decks to having a database of people that are known card counters, the live casinos can be effective at making sure that this strategy does not work in their casino.

Online casinos do not have the ability to stop a card counter from plying their trade. They also may not be able to tell if the card counter is using any electronic tools to help them as they are counting. They cannot see the player.

Is Blackjack Card Counting Allowed?

The legality and acceptance of Blackjack card counting can vary depending on the specific casino and jurisdiction. In many places, card counting itself is not illegal, as it involves using one’s memory and analytical skills rather than cheating or using external devices. However, casinos are private establishments, and they reserve the right to refuse service to anyone, including players suspected of card counting.

Casinos take measures to detect and discourage card counting because it gives players an advantage over the house. Some common countermeasures taken by casinos include:

  1. Shuffling:
    • Casinos may shuffle the deck more frequently to disrupt the card count.
  2. Multiple Decks:
    • Many casinos use multiple decks of cards to make card counting more difficult.
  3. Surveillance:
    • Casinos employ surveillance systems to monitor player behavior and identify potential card counters.
  4. Ejection or Banning:
    • If a casino suspects a player of card counting, they may ask the player to leave or even ban them from the premises.

While card counting itself is not illegal, players should be aware of the rules and policies of the specific casino they are playing in. It’s important to note that attempting to count cards can be challenging and requires a deep understanding of the game, as well as consistent practice. Additionally, the consequences of being identified as a card counter by a casino can vary, ranging from a simple request to leave to being banned from the establishment.

The Use of Live Dealer Blackjack

Blackjack Live Dealer Games from Pragmatic Play
Blackjack Live

Many online enthusiasts do not trust computer-generated blackjack games. They think that these games are not truly random and that will prevent any card counting from working. The solution is to turn to live dealer online blackjack games. In these the player sees the dealer of the game through a video feed. They play the game in real time and believe that to be a fairer way to play the game. It also gives them the opportunity to use their card counting skills.

The thing that makes card counting work with live dealers online is that the dealer cannot see the player. They do not know what the player is doing on the other side of the computer. That means a player can use the card counting tools they have available to them.

How does Blackjack card counting work?

Card counting can work. It can put the odds in the favor of the player instead of the casino. The problem is that any card counting strategy can be difficult to use. It requires a lot of work, practice and it means not making any mistakes. Most of the people that fail when counting cards in blackjack do it because they make mistakes when they are playing. They fail to count correctly, lose their count or don’t use the system because they have a hunch.

It’s important to note that card counting is not illegal, but casinos frown upon it, and they reserve the right to refuse service to players they believe are using such strategies. Casinos may take countermeasures to discourage card counting, such as reshuffling the deck more frequently or using multiple decks.

Blackjack card counting
Blackjack card counting -High and low

Assigning Point Values: Assign point values to different cards. Common point values used in the Hi-Lo system, one of the most popular card counting systems, are as follows:

High cards (10s, Jacks, Queens, Kings, and Aces): -1

Low cards (2 through 6): +1

Neutral cards (7 through 9): 0

Running Count: Keep a running count of the point values as each card is dealt. Start the count at 0 when the deck is shuffled.

True Count: Adjust the running count based on the number of decks remaining in the shoe. This is known as the true count. The true count is calculated by dividing the running count by the estimated number of decks remaining.

Betting Strategy: Increase bets when the true count is favorable (indicating more high-value cards remaining), and decrease bets when the true count is unfavorable.

Playing Decisions: Modify basic playing decisions based on the count. For example, when the count is high, indicating a surplus of high-value cards, players might choose to deviate from basic strategy and take more risks, such as doubling down on hands they normally wouldn’t.

Real Casino and Online Casino – Blackjack Card Counting

Blackjack Card Counting
Card shuffler

If you are playing at a real casino on a venue then you might be restricted to count cards. This happened with those players who are a pro and play at an advanced level. As these plauers know how to find the bet patterns consistent with card counting and they will ask that player to leave and not return.

At online casino where you are playing in a virtual environment, no one can stop you. But here the method is different as each casino has its own rules to follow. For example in Evolution Live blackjack games you can have multiplayer Blackjack games. At Evolution Gaming powered live casinos shoe is shuffled at regular intervals. In practice, you will find this translates to an approximate mid-shoe shuffle also.

So players aren’t able to penetrate deep into the shoe with their count. Playing live dealer blackjack you aren’t given an opportunity to effectively gauge how high card rich the shoe is because the deal never runs to the (near) end of the shoe.

Therefore when playing at an online casino or live casino, any counting strategy, while good counting practice, will not enable you to gain an edge over the house either.

Only at real casinos amongst the lots of noises, distractions you can use card counting if not detected by pit boss.

Is Blackjack card counting effective in live online casinos?

Classic Live Blackjack
Classic Live Blackjack

Card counting in Blackjack is generally not effective when playing at online casinos. There are several reasons for this:

  1. Shuffling Algorithms:
    • Online casinos often use sophisticated random number generators (RNGs) and shuffling algorithms to ensure the fairness of their games. These algorithms make it difficult or impossible for players to predict the order of the cards accurately.
  2. Continuous Shuffling Machines (CSMs):
    • Some online casinos use Continuous Shuffling Machines, which automatically shuffle the cards after each hand. This eliminates any advantage gained from card counting, as the deck is effectively reshuffled continuously.
  3. Limited Deck Penetration:
    • Even in games where the entire deck is not shuffled after each hand, online casinos often limit deck penetration, meaning only a portion of the deck is dealt before reshuffling. This reduces the effectiveness of card counting.
  4. Card Removal Effect:
    • In a physical casino, when cards are dealt, they are physically removed from the deck until the next shuffle. In an online setting, the card removal effect is less pronounced, making it challenging to accurately track the composition of the deck.
  5. Game Speed:
    • Online Blackjack games are generally faster-paced than those in physical casinos. The speed of play makes it more difficult for players to maintain an accurate count.
  6. Detection and Countermeasures:
    • While it’s challenging for online casinos to detect card counting directly, they may employ other measures to prevent abuse. This could include restrictions on betting patterns, bonus abuse policies, and account reviews.

While traditional card counting methods may not be effective in online Blackjack games, players should be aware that there are other strategies that can be employed in online casinos. These strategies may involve taking advantage of bonuses, promotions, and optimal playing strategies. However, it’s crucial to note that online casinos have terms of service that prohibit abuse or exploitation of their systems, and violators may face account closures or other penalties.

Players should always familiarize themselves with the rules and policies of the specific online casino they are playing at, and they should approach online gambling responsibly and ethically.


Blackjack Card counting requires a good understanding of basic strategy, significant practice, and the ability to maintain concentration under the pressure of casino conditions. It is not a guaranteed method for winning, and success is not assured. Moreover, the legality and acceptance of card counting can vary by jurisdiction and casino. Players interested in learning card counting should be aware of the risks and the potential consequences of using such strategies in a casino setting.

Counting cards does not guarantee a person will win when they are playing blackjack. It does not matter whether a person is playing in the live casino, an online casino or a live dealer online blackjack game. The best thing a person can do is practice a lot before they play live dealer online blackjack. That will help them to avoid the mistakes that can occur at any time.

Online live casinos do not want the players to use a counting system when playing blackjack. They will try to eliminate anyone that is using the system. They may base it on the way a player is playing the game or if they think the player is winning too much money. It may not sound fair, but the casinos can do it. It is up to the player to get as much as they can counting cards before the casinos stop them.


Q1. Is card counting illegal in Blackjack?

No, card counting itself is not illegal, as it involves using one’s memory and analytical skills rather than cheating or using external devices. However, casinos may take countermeasures to discourage it, such as reshuffling the deck more frequently or asking suspected card counters to leave.

Q2. Can I use card counting in online Blackjack games?

Card counting is generally not effective in online Blackjack games. Online casinos often use random number generators and shuffling algorithms that make it difficult for players to predict the order of the cards accurately. Continuous shuffling machines and limited deck penetration further reduce the effectiveness of card counting in online settings.

Q3. How does card counting work in Blackjack?

Card counting involves assigning point values to cards and keeping a running count as cards are dealt. The count is adjusted based on the ratio of high-value to low-value cards remaining in the deck. This information is used to make informed betting decisions and, in some cases, modify playing strategies to gain an advantage over the casino.

Q4. Can anyone learn to count cards in Blackjack?

While the basics of card counting can be learned, becoming proficient requires significant practice, a deep understanding of the game, and the ability to maintain concentration in a casino environment. It is not a guaranteed method for winning, and success is not assured. Moreover, casinos may take countermeasures against card counters.

Q5. Are there different card counting systems in Blackjack?

Yes, there are various card counting systems, each with its own point values and level of complexity. The Hi-Lo system is one of the most popular, assigning values of -1, +1, and 0 to different groups of cards. Other systems include the KO Count, Omega II, and the Zen Count. The choice of system depends on the player’s preferences and skill level.