Using a Card Counting System to Increase Your Chances of Winning at Blackjack


Blackjack is one of the most popular casino games and, with proper strategy, can be very profitable. The game has simple rules that anyone can understand and the house edge is low, but the player must be aware of the house’s advantage. The best way to reduce this edge is to use a card counting system. Many casinos offer training sessions and blackjack seminars, but you can also learn the basic strategy from books and online resources.

The goal of blackjack is to get a two-card hand that totals as close to 21 as possible without going over. Each player gets two cards; the dealer also has two, and each can choose to ask for more cards (hit) or stick with their current hand (stand). If a player and the dealer both have blackjack, the hand wins. Otherwise, the dealer wins if the player’s cards total lower than 17, or if the dealer busts.

A blackjack dealer must hit until their cards total 17 or higher. Players can double down after seeing their first two cards, meaning they bet twice the amount of their original bet and receive an additional card. Doubling down is a risky strategy, but it can be very profitable if done correctly. A player should only double down when their hand total is 11 or less and when the dealer’s face-up card is a seven or higher.

When a player has a pair of cards that have the same value, such as two nines or two threes, they can split them and play them separately. This increases the chances of getting a good hand. However, a player should only split if the dealer is showing a two or three, and never split against a dealer’s six or seven.

Counting cards can significantly increase a player’s chances of winning. The basic method involves keeping a running count and a true count. The running count is the number of high cards dealt minus the number of low cards, while the true count is the running count divided by the number of decks left in the shoe. A true count can give the player an advantage in betting, but casinos are wise to this and will keep a watchful eye on players.

The most important thing to remember when playing blackjack is that the playing decisions of other players at your table have no effect on your odds of winning, regardless of how much they bet or whether they are losing or winning streaks. In order to maximize your chances of winning, always follow basic strategy – hitting, standing, splitting, and so on – and don’t deviate from it even on “hunches.” A basic blackjack strategy chart shows you the optimal move for every possible combination of your cards and the dealer’s up card. You can find these charts in casinos and in many book stores. Some are even laminated and can be used right at the blackjack table.