Instructables

How to Count Cards, A Basic Introduction to Help Your Odds

Picture of How to Count Cards, A Basic Introduction to Help Your Odds
You've heard the term "counting cards" before, and here you will learn a very simple, basic card counting method called the "plus-minus count." This technique can help to tip the scales in your favor and beat the casino.

Step 1: Card Values

Picture of Card Values
When using the "plus-minus count," each card has a value. Cards 2 through 6 have a +1 count. Cards 7 through 9 have a 0, or neutral count. Cards 10 through ace have a -1 count.

Step 2: The Count

Picture of The Count
The count starts at 0.

As each card is dealt, add that card's value to the count.

For example: If an Ace, king, 2, 7,6,4, and 5 are dealt, the count is +2

Ace -1
King -1
2 +1
7 0
6 +1
4 +1
5 +1

Total= +2

The dealer's face-down card is not counted until it is flipped.

Step 3: Keep Counting

Continue the count as the cards are dealt out of the deck, the count does not reset to 0 after each hand.

The plus-minus count is know as a "balanced" system, meaning that a standard 52 card deck will always bear a count of 0 after all 52 cards are dealt.
 
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randofo6 years ago
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bduarte31 year ago
Sorry its not +2
bduarte31 year ago
The count on the first example is wrong its +3 not +3
15zfetten2 years ago
I don't get it is it higher + or the low- that is better for your winning odds.
mg0930mg6 years ago
I would suggest putting a warning. They can beat you to a bloody pulp, in casinos. (Watch 21, or read the book.)
but that is a movie, not real life... they still might.
Actually it is real life. It is the true life story about the six M.I.T. Students. :)
The count goes back to zero when the deck is shuffled. Just to let you know.
I actually know one of the students on the team. He lives here in Jacksonville, FL.
oh... yeah but like I said, they probably will beat you
A warning in the intro, excuse me.
 Ever seen 21? 

Ben Campbell got BEAT DOWN.
PyroMonger5 years ago
how do u manage to count cards if u you can't see all the other player's cards?
thatkidwithayoyo (author)  PyroMonger5 years ago
In blackjack, everyone's cards but the dealer's are face up. The dealer shows one card.
ive never played blackjack like that...i always hide my cards....it would be stupid to play while everyone can see your cards...then you cant bluff...it seems silly to me but it's not the first time i've been playing a game wrong and didn't know
thatkidwithayoyo (author)  PyroMonger5 years ago
Blackjack is traditionally an "against-the-house" game and the only hand that matters besides your own is the dealer's.
Aaah...now I'm definitely on the same page as you. Thanks for that info
Nova_Logic6 years ago
(removed by author or community request)
sooo how do you know if if your odds at winning are good? the higher the + count the better? it seems the closest i get to 0 the closer i am to winning or by a larger margin that i do win. and the more +'s i have the more i lose same with -'s
If you are playing with one deck, then that is the case. But most casinos use 5 or 6 decks. That is why it works. If you count through the entire deck, you will end up at zero. THat is why it works.
thatkidwithayoyo (author)  scienceguy6 years ago
Exactly.
yallrfags6 years ago
thank you soooo much i and im sure many others really appreciate this my whole life ive been told that im amazing at math and blah blah blah and i can figure out all the %of each card when playing hold'em and all kinds of stuff and finally i can kick some people's butts at blackjack now too... a while back i figured out the basic concept of the dealer bust and everything but this really helps i have no clue where i was going with this whole comment but i guess im really excited about this
Thanx SOO much!!!!! I'm only 15 but hopefully blackjack will still be around when I grow up... and by then I'll be a PRO!
loganbell6 years ago
GREAT! thanks for the instructable, a tip: when betting in a casino and you think you are being watched, make a bad play or something, but don't make eye contact and then get up and leave as you my seem suspicious, don't always win, counting isn't illegal, but ...