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How to Count Cards

If that friendly game of cards has left your wallet a little light, this guide will help turn the tide back in your favor.


  • Step 1: Use the high-low method Use the high-low method, which assigns cards two through six a plus one, and cards 10 through ace a negative one, while middle cards are worth zero.
  • TIP: Small cards favor the dealer while large cards favor the player, so when a small card is removed it favors the player and when a large card is removed it is bad for the player.
  • Step 2: Track all cards dealt Start from zero when the dealer has a new deck and add up all the cards dealt. When you reach a plus two or three, the odds shift in your favor.
  • TIP: Practice counting with your own deck. If you do it right you can predict the last card -- a whole deck always equals zero.
  • Step 3: Cancel card pairs Cancel card pairs by matching a high card and low card to reach zero. When you reach a plus two or three, the odds shift in your favor.
  • Step 4: Calculate true count Calculate the true count by dividing your number by the number of decks the dealer has left in his shoe or card collector.
  • Step 5: Give it time Be patient -- you may have to go through several hands before you can estimate which cards remain in the shoe or deck.
  • Step 6: Walk away Walk away before anyone gets suspicious. While card counting isn't illegal, casinos can kick you to the curb for counting.
  • FACT: During operation Iraqi Freedom, the Defense Department issued 55 playing cards with the faces of Saddam Hussein's regime on them.

You Will Need

  • Math skills
  • Deck of cards
  • Patience

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