Card Counting – Basic Methods talked about the simplest way to use basic card counting strategy in blackjack. That really is just the very basics of it however. As mentioned earlier, there are some extremely elaborate card counting systems out there. Even more there are some extraordinarily complex betting systems that are based on card counting systems. Some of those systems are, quite frankly, more trouble than they are worth. The law of diminishing returns applies here and you could spend dozens of hours learning a very complex system yet gain only an additional .one tenth of one percent or so advantage. That just plain isn’t worth it if all you want to do is have a bit more fun playing blackjack by increasing your chance at winning.
A simpler way to still go beyond basic card counting is to adopt a system that alters your bets according to the current card count. When you know the advantage is with you, you raise your bet on the next hand. If you know the advantage is with the dealer, lower your next bet. If you are playing a single deck blackjack game, a good rule is to raise the bet when the first round shows a high proportion of small cards (7 and lower) dealt out, and to lower the bet when this round showed a higher proportion of tens and aces.
If you are playing with a multi-deck shoe, then you have to take things a step further. With multiple decks it is harder for the player to gain an advantage – which is exactly why the casinos usually use multiple decks in black jack games. So, you need to be more exact in your counting and betting strategy.
As mentioned in Card Counting – Basic Methods you give a value of +1 to low cards (2 through 6), and a minus value to high cards (10, J, Q, K). The middle cards 7, 8, and 9 you give a value of zero. So if the cards are dealt: A, 4, 7, 10, 10, 9, 10, 2, 10, 5 the point count is minus two (-1, +1, 0, -1, -1, 0, -1, +1, -1, +1). This tells you the knowledge that your are at a slight disadvantage. Your next bet should take this into account and should either be the same or a unit or two lower. In other words, if you normally are betting 5 units per blackjack hand, consider betting 4 or 3 units on the next hand. When you decrease your bets when you are at a disadvantage, you decrease your risk of losing money. You do the opposite when your count is in the positive. If your count is +2 or more, consider increasing your bet. Just don’t go overboard.
Note that if you play black jack exclusively at internet casinos, any card counting strategy will be useless. Online casinos shuffle their decks between every hand, some will even shuffle between every card. So if you want to try card counting in blackjack you will have to a casino in real life.