I am not joking. Card counting really is not a hard blackjack strategy skill to learn. It takes time, practice and patience to master, but the basic skill is not hard.
If you can add and subtract 1 then you can count cards. Many novice card counters will start out with the Hi Lo counting system. It is the most basic and teaches novice counters the basics that will allow them to move up to more advanced counting systems in the future.
The Hi Lo system starts out by assigning counting values to the cards, either a +1, a 0 or a -1 like so:
Cards 2 through 6 are assigned and counted as +1
Cards 7 through 9 are assigned and counted as 0
Cards 10 through Ace are assigned and counted as -1
Players then count the cards on the table with their appropriate counting values, adding 1 and subtracting 1 where necessary. It is as simple as gong around the table adding and subtracting what counting values the other players, you and the dealer have.
So what do you do with this running total that you have?
Well it depends on what the cards you have counted add up to. If the running total in your head is in the positive by +3 or more it is a good indicator that a good many low cards have been played, hence the higher positive count. A positive count means that the remaining deck is rich in high cards—the cards that favor the player and increase your chances of being dealt a natural blackjack.
Now if the opposite is going on and you have a running count of -3 or more it indicates that more high cards have been played and passed out of the game. At this point the remaining deck is rich in low cards which favor the dealer, and it is time to reduce your wager.
This afternoon I will go over some card counting tips to help you make even more of a success out of card counting in your blackjack strategy arsenal.