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The basic idea is simple. Another thing to try is the Italian link to the game. Yes, there is a problem with split Aces in the current version. Thanks for your practice game, it has been helpful. Got my ass absolutely beaten. You can start any time during the shuffle. But of course, not just anyone can card count; it takes a mathematical genius who can calculate complex equations on the fly while keeping track of the positions of hundreds of different cards.

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How Card Counting Works

In most counting systems, the player will use this true count to decide how much to bet on a given hand, and whether or not to take insurance if the dealer is showing an ace. Occasionally, the count will also tell players when to abandon basic strategy and play a hand differently, based on the fact that the remaining composition of the deck has changed the odds in favor of an alternative play.

Some card counting systems also ask players to keep a separate side count of aces. This is because aces have a very different effect on the game than other cards. Thus, more complex systems will keep an ace count independent of an overall count, in order to make this distinction. This brings us to an important point: More complex systems offer bigger potential rewards, but also come with more risk.

Players are much more likely to make mistakes when trying to keep track of extra information, and just a few mistakes can be enough to remove whatever advantage the player has gained.

Perhaps the simplest card counting system around is the ace-five count. This is a name given to a variety of different card counting systems that share one thing in common: This is done because aces are the best card in the shoe for the player, while fives are the worst. The basic idea is simple. Start with a count of zero. Each time you see a five, add one to your count. If you see an ace, subtract one from your count. Higher counts will be better for the player. Where counting systems vary is in how you use this information to change how much you bet during play.

Some will advise you to double you bet every time the count gets beyond a certain point, while others say to bet a certain number of units based on the given count. Many try to reduce your losses in bad shoes by having you quit at a certain negative count.

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Dangers and Challenges of Card Counting