How To Count Cards In Poker

Online Poker

Have you ever wondered what the term “Counting Cards” means in gambling, or poker?

Counting cards is a technique used by many players to improve their odds and to influence their success rate. Whether you’re playing cards purely for fun or actually betting real money, you may find counting cards very fun and rewarding!   It is a great way to increase your win rate and to rake in big bucks.

The Definition of Counting Cards

The dealers in Las Vegas will probably tell you that they cannot count the methods of counting cards on just one hand.  There are many ways to try your luck in this way with a standard deck of 52 cards (54 if we count the Jokers).

Counting cards basically means keeping a running mental count of certain number values of cards as they have been dealt and used.

Are There Different Methods of Cards

There are many different methods, depending on the variables of what card game the player is playing; be it poker with one of its many variations, blackjack, or any number of other games. If s/he is playing poker, the first method is described below.

Counting Cards in Poker

The method is used as follows:

poker winningsHere is an elementary description of one technique of card counting.  A player will watch as the game uses cards.  In official gambling, the cards are not shuffled and reused when the deck is played — a new deck is opened.  So in a “face up” type of game, where the players can at some point see which cards have been used, he does a simple form of math wherein he takes note of which “high value, low value, or neutral value” cards have been used.

An example of a high value card is a Jack, Queen, or King.  Having these cards can help the player win, but when they’ve been played, he takes note by mentally marking their depletion as a “minus one”.  So, he’s saying that he now has a lower chance of winning.

When the player sees the lower cards like 2, 3, or 4 being played, he makes a mental note of “plus one,” meaning that he sees that there is now a greater proportion of Jacks, Queens, and Kings remaining for his possible use!

If the player sees “neutral cards” being used, which are 7, 8, 9, he ignores them and does not assign a count value.  Receiving these cards is considered an advantage for neither house or player.

So after noting that he has seen, for instance, three events of “minus one” and only one event of “plus one” value cards being depleted from the deck, he knows that there are still high value cards to come, they are more likely to be dealt to him than before, and therefore he adjusts his bets based on that “supply” of high value cards that are potentially coming.

Seeing small (“low”) cards dealt means that while the dealer is favored in that hand, eventually the player will receive higher value cards.

Seeing higher value cards dealt means that while the player can be luckier in that hand, there are fewer of those high value cards available for the hands played during the remainder of that 52 card deck.

A variation on the high low method

poker playerAnother method of counting cards uses values of combinations of cards such as a 10 and a King. These two cards are worth a value of 10 each in most card games.

Therefore, there are more ways to receive a 10 value card than say, a 4 or a 5.  (A plain “4” or “5” of each suit.)

So a card counter will think, how many high value cards are left in the deck at this time?  How many low value (2, 3, 4) cards are left? How should that affect my bets?

After considering his odds in a finished deck, the player then should consider the greater, long term odds in what’s known as the running count.

A running count is converted into a true count divided by decks remaining rounded by a 1/2 deck.  This means that if the player decides his average after one deck has been dealt is pretty solid, he needs to know how many decks are remaining in the dealer’s “shoe,” or supply of decks for the game.

A Third Variation – Cancellation

As the player watches the cards dealt to him  (or turned over by other players), he can cancel a perceived value each time he sees a high value card (J, Q, K) played as well as a low value card (2, 3, 4) – calculating a value of “0”.

Patience is a Virtue

A player may have to go through playing many hands before he can estimate what cards are remaining in the shoe or deck.  Don’t blow it being too eager!

Try it, You May Like it

Professional Poker PlayerIf you learn to count cards, you may win a few games or more. Of course “you win some, you lose some” is the old adage, and nothing is for certain.  But this is one way of really making an effort to supplement your golden touch or very good luck.

Counting cards is one of the most popular ways of trying to beat the odds. And contrary to popular belief, this trick is not illegal!

So, learn to count cards, and you may find yourself enjoying  — as well as winning — most of your card games.

Disclaimer: All images are copyright to their respective owners and are used by USA Online Casino for informational purposes only.

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A Massachusetts native, blogger Angeline Everett grew up in the Allston neighborhood of Boston and earned a degree in casino management from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. After graduating, Angeline moved to Atlantic City where she joined the young team at the Borgata Casino as a compliance representative, while blogging on the side. After a few years in the back office, Angeline moved to the floor to work first at a casual poker dealer and later casual poker floor supervisor. Fascinated with games of chance since she was a child, Angeline currently divides her time between blogging and work on her first book.