Card Counting in Blackjack – An Expert Guide

Read our complete guide to card counting in blackjack and learn everything before applying this technique. We’ve covered strategies, systems, and much more

Blackjack is a very interesting game you can find in leading South African online casinos. One of the most exciting things about this game is that you can benefit from different strategies to boost your chances of winning. 

The most common technique used by blackjack players is card counting. While many believe that card counting involves memorizing all the cards in the deck, the truth is that this betting system requires knowing the low and high-value cards in the deck. 

Our detailed guide on card counting provides all the relevant information you need to know before using this technique. You will learn how to count cards successfully, different betting strategies and tips, and more.

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Card Counting – A Short History

Many players have won millions using the card counting strategy in blackjack games. Surprisingly, many think card counting is all about memorizing the number of queens or kings that have been dealt with and the ones remaining in the shoe. But counting cards is about using a system to monitor the ratio of low and high cards in the shoe. 

You should understand that card counting is not a new betting system in blackjack, as it was first used in 1962. It was Edward O. Thorp, an American mathematician, and author who mentioned card counting in his book, “Beat the Dealer.” Thorp’s techniques are not used today, but they acted as a foundation for this profitable system. 

Another important figure in the history of card counting is Andy Bloch, a member of the MIT Blackjack Team who released the famous ‘Beating Blackjack’ DVD. The skill of counting cards is no longer limited to Las Vegas casinos; it is also used in many casinos in South Africa.

Card Counting Review

Steps to Counting Cards Successfully in Blackjack

Developing a card counting strategy is attractive for players to beat the dealer. One of the advantages of this betting approach is that it’s simple to use. If you are a beginner, this is how card counting is done:

Assigning Card Values

The process of assigning card values is known as the ‘Hi-Lo’ technique. The cards are divided into three groups as follows:

  • Numbers 2 to 6: +1
  • Numbers 7 to 9: 0
  • Numbers 10 to Ace: -1

Players can add 1, subtract 1, or do nothing when each card is dealt.

Keeping a Running Count

South African players are supposed to calculate the sum of the assigned values as the cards are dealt—the advantage shifts to the player when the running count increases and to the house when it decreases. 

Determining True Count

The true count is the adjusted running count for the number of decks remaining to be dealt. Divide the Running Count by the number of remaining decks to determine the True Count.

Adjusting Bets with Increasing True Count

The first thing is to establish the betting unit based on the bankroll. This step ensures that the player does not run out of the bankroll. The best strategy for adjusting the stake based on True Size is betting your unit multiplied by the True Count plus one. 

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Tips and Strategies to Enhance Card Counting

While card counting is a straightforward betting technique, it is essential to understand how it works before applying it at any online casino in South Africa, for sure. We’ve shared several tips and tricks to boost your winning opportunities:

First of all, learn how to use card counting from professionals and experts and understand how to assign card values. Moreover, choose your blackjack variant wisely and practice how to use card counting in free-mode games. In order to avoid major losses, start with the minimum spread before advancing to the maximum bet. Last but not least, raise your stake when you get a high count.

Different Types of Card Counting Systems

As aforementioned, there are distinctive card counting systems in blackjack that you must understand. Some systems are straightforward, and others are advanced. The following are some techniques you can follow:

Hi-Lo System: This basic system is drawn from Thorp’s ten-count theory. It begins with the first dealt card from the deck, and it pays based on the card numbers and values.

Omega II System: This is an intermediate-level strategy by Bruce Carlson, where some cards are counted as two-point and others as one point. 

Wong Halves System: This is an elaborate system by Stanford Wong. Being a balanced system, the final result should amount to zero after all the cards in the deck have been dealt.

Team Card Counting: this technique was widely used by the MIT blackjack team. They assigned values to cards, where high cards were(-1), low cards (+1), and others (0). The team had three people with different roles: a big player, a controller, and a spotter.

KO System: The KO or Knock-Out system by Fuchs and Vancura is suitable for newbies and intermediate-level South African players. Though it’s not balanced, it boosts winning opportunities.

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Pros and Cons

Using a card counting system has its advantages and disadvantages, just like other strategies in most casino games. Let’s find out the pros and cons of this technique:


  • An opportunity to beat the house and enjoy long-term profits.
  • Straightforward for players of all experiences to learn and use.
  • Pretty easy for players to manage their time.
  • It can be used across many blackjack variations.


  • There is a minimal profit margin.
  • Suitable for players with big budgets.
  • Not accepted in all South African casinos.

The Bottom Line

To sum up, card counting is one of the most profitable blackjack strategies that has been used by players for quite a while. The most appealing thing about this technique is that it provides an opportunity to win massive payouts in the long run. However, you must understand that it can be time-consuming, especially for beginners. That’s why it is essential to practice card counting in free mode before advancing to real money gaming.


Unfortunately, card counting is not legal in most South African online casinos

No, card counting is limited to blackjack games. You can employ other betting systems when playing other table and card games

You must know that card counting involves assigning a low and high value like +1 or -1 and zero to each card that is dealt

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