Blackjack: What is Card Counting?

Card counting systems have been infamous since Blackjack became famous. It may very well be the best known gambling tactic across the world - but what is it exactly and how may a player profit from it?

Card counting is the heart of winning blackjack. It is the mathematically based method of keeping track of every card that has been dealt in order to be able to calculate the chances of winning. While it does sound like a mouthful, anyone can learn it. Before applying card counting however, understanding it is extremely important, as knowledge without application may as well be a stick in the mud.

Most systems start with a count of zero. You must be able to keep track of not just your cards, but every card on the table. If you don't do this, you will be acting in erroneous information, which could and likely would lead to a loss. With most systems, the positive count is in your favor, which usually means there have been more low value cards dealt.

This essentially means several things. One, this means that the dealer will bust more, as larger numbers, obviously, tend to shoot up your hand value. It also suggests that players will be dealt more blackjacks and stronger and higher starting hands. When the count is high for most card counting system, the tactic is to bet high, as game is in favor of the player. This doesn't mean that a player can relax though - the player must remain vigilant and keep the count, as if it drops lower, the player should take note to bet lower.

Practice, of course, is vital to using any card counting system. The tactic is useless if you do not have the discipline to stick to it and the discipline to keep your focus. It can take months or years to master the systems involved. You can practice anywhere that requires a count - blackjack isn't the only thing in the world that has numbers.

An effective card counting practice method is to create counting charts. Make a chart that shows your hand and the dealer's hand and memorize it. Should you get confused, consult the basic charts. Try to make it wallet size so you can practice anywhere.

At the end of the day, like many systems and tactics in gambling, at the end of the day players need to have the heart and the stubbornness to keep up the practice. There will be a lot of stones on the way, but if you can just go past them, you can get to the gold.