One of the most popular games in casino rooms is undoubtedly blackjack. Less complex than poker but equally exciting, players spend pleasant times betting round after round and making a profit not negligible.

Of French origin, this game has as its main object to hit the twenty-one points with two or more cards, in addition to beating the dealer or croupier and, of course, rising above the rest of the table. Each prize in blackjack is determined by the hand that manages to add the most points, especially in those cases where no player meets the much-desired twenty-one.

This mode plays for and against the gamblers because as the odds are inclined in their favor, they can also be adjusted in the croupier’s providence, granting him the highest odds of winning. Since it represents the house – the casino – the members of the table observe it as a civilized enemy, which is part of the game because it has always been determined

As far as the value of the cards is concerned, blackjack is played with the French mallet. In ascending order, from two to ten, the cards are worth what they express. Everything changes from the jack, the queen and the king, whose value is an invariable ten. The most powerful card, in that sense, is the ace, which allows one to mismatch between one and eleven according to the needs of the player during his turn.

The odds in blackjack are a particular case. They do not become disastrous like dice and roulette, but neither is it relentless as in poker. The balance is represented precisely by the dealer and, to counteract that presence, many players appeal to a master move: card counting.

This technique, developed by the most frequent and enthusiastic blackjack fanatics in the United States, consists of making mental calculations to determine when is the ideal moment in which they must evaluate and increase their bet. Theoretically, it is a mathematical logical process that is complemented by some promotions designed by the casinos.

To better understand how this system works, it is necessary to study its characteristics, origins, and restrictions. After all, casinos in their business condition repudiate both a card counter and a skilled poker player.

A historical review of card counting

The date when blackjack became the most popular card game after poker is certainly not known. However, as far as card counting is concerned, it dates from the 1960s, when the mathematician Edward Thorp studied the movements of the game and later published his conclusions in a book entitled “Beat the dealer”.

Within these memories, Thorp structured a hierarchical system about the hands in blackjack, also affirming the need to play each round with a unique movement. That is, what corresponded to the first turn. According to the mathematician, this would give players an incredible advantage over the house.

Obviously, this system had basic notions. The first, in that sense, was to split the distribution of the hands in a single Trident. In this sense, those cards that, when divided, resulted in a number greater than twelve were baptized as “Hard Hands”.

Also, the “soft hands” were constituted from the cards whose sum resulted in a number less than ten or could be reduced to those amounts with the presence of ace. Finally, the book pointed out the “double hands”, formed, evidently, by equal cards of the different deck (seven of hearts and seven of spades, for example).

Individual strategies

Once the players began to put these instructions into practice, they came up against the difficulty involved, and presumably, learning to count cards. A strategy was needed for each type of hand and, while the need increased, the solution came naturally.

Currently, the original strategy has undergone modifications, but in essence, it remains the same. Unfortunately for casinos, manuals and guides have been printed to teach gamblers how to play based on the Thorp system. Not all of them are skilled in the art of card counting, but with strategy, there are those who develop such expertise who manage to become experts.

These strategies that are mentioned are divided according to hard, soft and double hands. The characteristics of each, however, vary as follows:

Hard hands

As already mentioned before, here those hands whose sum is twelve or more are taken into consideration. The strategies that revolve around have to do with the action that the players can do while the game is going on.

To illustrate, we speak of five movements in total. The first states that when the cards total 9 or less, the bettor must hit (ask for another card) until they reach ten, eleven or twelve. These movements, generally, will also be influenced by the letter that the croupier presents to the rest of the table.

In that sense, if the dealer has a 2 and the player, in turn, a ten, the most advisable is that the second double your bet. Also, if you have nine or twelve, you must ask for another card and, if your decks add fourteen or more, the smartest decision is to stop at that moment.

The following case paints the scenario in the following way: if the dealer has three, four, five or six as the main card, the player can if his cards add a nine, 10 or 11. Also, with 12, 13, 14, 15 or 16 can ask for more cards from the deck and, from the seventeen points, stop.

If the card taught by the dealer is a seven, eight or nine, the player on duty must double with ten or eleven ask for 9, 12, 13, 14, 15 or 16 and stop after seventeen.

Finally, the most difficult crossroads comes from the hand of the dealer when he has a 10 or an ace in his possession. The smartest thing for the player, in this case, is to never fold and ask for more cards in the deck if their cards add 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15 and 16. The order to stop is, of course, when they reach seventeen or more.

As you can see, the common point is to double the low numbers and stop at the highs. Sometimes, the boldness of the players makes them ask for an extra card when they are in 17. This move is too risky and, most likely; it ends in an absolute loss.

The strategies of hard hands are the most used because they correspond to regular plays within a game of blackjack. Even so, in exceptional cases, strategies for gentle hands and pairs are also handled.

Soft hands

The presence of the ace in one hand is an advantage that should be exploited to the fullest. A regular player probably does not see this opportunity with the same eyes, but for a card counter, the ace is an offer that cannot be declined.

Based on this, the strategy for these hands is simple; it is divided into two absolute points and, if fulfilled, significantly increases the chances of winning the round. The manual says, in that sense, that regardless of the croupier’s card, the player must request an additional card if he has a seat, ace, ace, four, ace or ace.

Likewise, the soft hand’s strategy establishes that one should keep hitting with an ace, seven, ace, ace or nine (that would add the twenty-one points). From there, asking for letters is a terrible mistake. Therefore, the strategy dictates stopping at this point.

Fewer complexes than hard hands, this type of movement is rare because there are only four fifty-two odds to be made in one hand with the ace. In addition, you should always take into account the presence of the croupier and the deck that is showing to the table.


The strange case of getting pairs is quite a feat in blackjack. However, in games of chance and skill, everything is possible. Therefore, it is safest to prepare the players for any scenario.

According to the above, to develop a strategy based on pairs, you must take into account what is the position of the players according to the cards they have. That means that each pair – except for 2-2 and 3-3 – corresponds to a different movement.

Of course, the order is increasing. When a person is done with a 2-2 or a 3-3, he must separate (also known as splitting) his cards if the dealer shows a card to the table that corresponds to 2 to 7. Also, he must ask for an additional card.

With 4-4, it should only be separated if the dealer has 5 or 6 as the main card. As for the rest, he must ask against the other members of the table. By becoming 5-5, there is a kind of privileged position, since the value is equal to the jack, the queen or the king. In that sense, these letters should never be divided.

The pair of 6 is divided if the dealer has between 2 and 6. Likewise, it is ordered against the rest of the table. With 7-7, the conditions are the same, except that the range of the dealer must go from 2 to 7. Up to this point, the plays remain passive. Everything becomes more aggressive from double eight.

Since the sixteen represents a cap to continue asking for letters, they should always be separated. However, European rules enter the stage when this point is reached, and it is forbidden to separate if the dealer has a 10 or an ace.

By the way of 10, when it comes to doubles, you should never separate. The amount reaches twenty, which is an advantage that can rarely be obtained against the dealer. The double aces, on the contrary, should always be separated unless the European rules in the game are applied.

Card counting

Everything that the previous explanation understood is the appetizer to the main course: the card counting system. For those who are familiar with this strategy, the goal is no stranger. Through it, you can increase the chances of success and rise by 2% on the house.

Individual strategies are the first step, but from them, three moments are derived in the counting of cards that are equally important. From the point of view of the players, these are called “doing homework”, “practicing to make the teacher” and “keeping the alliances”.

How does it work?

In “doing homework” basically players must select which strategy they want to follow. Card counting, in its most popular form, employs one known as “Hi-Lo” or High-Low. This is relatively easy to learn but requires maximum concentration.

Thus, with the Hi-Lo, a table of moves is established in which the numbers 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 represent a +1 in the value of the count. The 7, 8 and 9 represent 0 in the value of the count and everything that follows from 10 is translated as -1 in the value of the count.

Each time card is dealt, players must keep the account. The high count will be a good sign since it means that there are still tens, jacks, queens and kings and, of course, aces. When you learn this technique, the results are favorable. The player gets a blackjack; the dealer goes over twenty-one points or the players who doubled their bets win.

The idea is to increase the size of the bet since this is also proportional to the chances of winning. To perfect this technique, there are guides and specialized web pages that allow automatic counting.

Once the basic notions have been learned, the counting process establishes “practice to do to the teacher”. The players, on their own, must develop the technique starting by dividing themselves. In that sense, the 52 cards of the deck will be handed out one by one while the deck is counting.

To determine what count has worked, the final number must be a zero. Otherwise, such a mathematical exercise, the procedure must be reevaluated until it is done correctly.

In casinos, since it is not shuffled very often, you work with two sets of cards. Players can use this strategy to shield themselves against possible confusions at the time they are in a live game. Also, in this stage of learning, concentration should be practiced, since in the halls the noisy environment and the distractions that arise from either side, can completely ruin the technique.

Finally, when a player has learned everything necessary to count cards, he must develop the art of going unnoticed. Although it is not illegal to appeal to this technique, the casinos do not grant the approval to the players who practice it.

At first, no one will notice the presence of a card counter, but it will only be a matter of time before the dealer or a member of the table becomes aware of this event. Since it is not contemplated by the casinos to receive players of this type, the management can appeal to its right of admission and expel the player who has been doing it.

Many players recommend doing the clumsy in several rounds, making mistakes on purpose as long as it does not represent a very substantial loss and counting wisely. Others, more daring, recommend allying

Of course, these alliances should not be with any other. He must be a person who inspires confidence and who has already established himself as a card counter at the same level. This will allow some to retreat when the other advances and vice versa.

Final considerations

Counting cards is a practice that requires effort and dedication. In addition, the assiduity with which it is practiced can be decisive when establishing a good or bad strategy. Since blackjack is a game of high variance, you must be prepared for episodes of losses or “bad spells”.

However, in the face of adversity, players must remain positive, act responsibly when placing their bets and, of course, do not take anything for granted.

Blackjack, although it deserves a game strategy to achieve results, does not escape from including chance, so.