Blackjack Card Counting Secrets

As I am sure you have all seen before in movies such as 21, there is much more to counting cards than adding and subtracting. The art of card counting takes years to master, but I am going to share with you a trick that makes it much easier.

Remembering the count is going to be your toughest challenge as it is very easy to lose concentration. This is why you should associate words with numbers.

Card Counting Tricks of the Trade

+1 = Tree (only one tree in a field of grass)
+2 = Switch (on and off)
+3 = Stool (has three legs)
+4 = Car (four wheels)
+5 = Glove (five fingers)
+6 = Gun (six rounds)
+7 = Craps
+8 = Pool (the black 8 ball)
+9 = Cat (cat has nine lives)
+10 = Bowling (ten pins)
+11 = Football
+12 = Eggs (a dozen eggs in a basket)
+13 = Witch
+14 = Ring (14k gold)
+15 = Paycheck (15th and 30th of every month)
+16 = Sweet
+17 = Magazine (the magazine "Seventeen")
+18 = Voting booth (have to be 18 to vote)

Instead of trying to remember the count in number form (which gets mentally exhausting and leads to error), say a sentence to yourself after each hand. For example, if the count is +10 you can say to yourself, "maybe I will go bowling after this". Don't say it out loud of course or they might think something up! This trick will really help your card counting skills evolve to the next level.

Finally, you can use the same words if the count is negative because that part is not difficult to remember. In other words, you will always know whether the count is positive or negative, but the number remembering is tricky. Hopefully this helps all of you aspiring card counters. Good luck!

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Before you can actually try any of the card counting strategies on my blog, you must first understand the basic concepts of how to count cards in blackjack.

All you really need to remember is that each card is given a specific point value ranging from -1, 0, and +1. These values change depeding on what card counting system you are using. I have provided charts for each system so that you can learn the point values.

Regardless which card counting system you choose, they all serve the same purpose in the end--to predict when those sweet high cards will be coming our way. Some systems accomplish this better than others.

You will see many similarites across counting systems. High cards will always have a negative value, and low cards will always have a positive value, just some of the numbers will change. If you think you can handle it then I strongly encourage you to give it a go!

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Card Counting- The Hi-Lo System

The Hi-Lo Counting Strategy
Level of difficulty: 1

The Hi-Lo count was my ace in the hole for the longest time. I would frequently visit casinos with my friends, watching them burn a hole in their pockets yet still finding ways to criticise my game.

"Why don't you just play poker? Blackjack is a fool's game!"

"I don't LIKE poker, OK? It's slow, boring, monotonous... not for me! Oh, and by the way, where did all your cash go?

The Hi-Lo counting strategy is the first system I ever learned and is still one of my favorites because it taught my buddies to shut their traps. Now they want me to teach them to count cards!

Don't be fooled into thinking the Hi-Lo is weak because it's simple. Master the count and you will be making money hand over fist (literally). The only hard part in maintaining your focus and concentration.

Low cards- Two, three, four, five, and six are all given a value of +1. These cards are bad for us because they make it less likely for the dealer to bust.

High cards- Ten, Jack, Queen, King, and Ace are given a value of -1. These cards help us out by increasing our probability of getting 17 or above on our first two cards. It also increases the dealer's chances of busting.

Neutral cards- The cards seven, eight, and nine have no value so you basically ignore them.

Here is a great betting system that you can use with the Hi-Lo or any other card counting system.

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Card Counting- The Hi-Opt I System

The Hi-Opt I Counting Strategy
Level of Difficulty: 1

Point Values Explained:

Low cards- Three, four, five, and six are all given a value of +1.

High cards- Ten, Jack, Queen, and King, are given a value of -1.

Neutral cards- Ace, two, seven, eight, nine have a value of 0.

The Hi-Opt I is another very popular card counting system that many people use because of its level of ease. Like the Hi-Lo system, it is a balanced counting strategy meaning that if you count the whole deck from start to end your final number will be zero.

This counting strategy is very straightforward. The only difference between this system and the Hi-Lo is that Aces and 2's hold no value. This makes it an even easier than the Hi-Lo count. That being said, many people choose to keep a side count of the number of Aces played. This gives you a more accurate idea when to place insurance or double down.

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Card Counting- The Hi-Opt II System

The Hi-Opt II Counting Strategy

Level of difficulty: 2

The Hi-Opt II is another variation of the Hi-Lo system. It will be hard at first getting used to this if you have been using the Hi-Lo for a long time but it will happen. If you are just learning to count then this is the system I would recommend. It is more powerful in terms of accuracy, which means more money for you in the long run. To make this system even better you could keep a side count of how many Aces have been dealt.

Start practicing this system by flipping through a deck of cards. Do this one hundred times a day. Once you start to get real good you will be able to count two cards at the same time. This will save you a ton of mental energy.

Point Values Explained

Low Cards- 2, 3, and 7 have a value of +1. Now this is where it gets tricky because 4, 5, and 6 have a value of +2. This is the part that takes some getting used to.

High Cards- Like most card counting strategies, all 10 valued cards are counted as -1.

Neutral Cards- The neutral cards in the Hi Opt II are Ace, 8, 9.

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Card Counting- The Zen Count

The Zen Count
Level of difficulty: 2

I know what you all are thinking and no, the Zen Count is not some kind of Buddhist meditation.  But it is a wicked powerful card counting system that can win you a lot of money if you play your cards right.

The Zen Count was first introduced in a book written by Arnold Snyder, a professional blackjack player for many years.  The book is called "Black Belt in Blackjack" and I really recommend you pick it up if you want to expand your knowledge further.

One of the things I really like about the Zen Count is that it comes with its own unique betting system.

If count is...
Negative to +1 bet one unit.
+2 bet two units.
+3 bet three units
bet four units
bet five units
bet six units
bet seven units
bet eight units
bet nine units
bet ten units

And that's the Zen Count in a nutshell. Easy, right?

And if you're having trouble remembering the count, just keep practicing, and don't get discouraged.  Remember, this is also a level 2 card counting system, so it is harder than the hi-lo.

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Card Counting- The Omega II System

The Omega II Counting Strategy
Level of Difficulty: 2 (advanced)

The Omega II was used by many pros in the 90's, however due to its difficulty many have abandoned this system in favor of ones less complex.As you can see from the chart, the point values are much different in the Omega II system. Additionally, it is less effective if you do not keep an ace count on the side, so I would advise that you do. This makes it even more challenging, but if you can master it you will have it made at any casino you go into.

The Omega II is the one of, if not the strongest counting system that currently exists. The betting correlation (how good the system is at recognizing favourable conditions) is 0.92 without and Ace count, and 0.99 with an Ace count!  This makes the Omega II a card counter's dream, if he can master it.

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Card Counting- The K-O System

The K-O Strategy
Level of difficulty: 1

The "Knock Out" counting strategy, known to most as the "K-O strategy" is one of the most popular counting systems to date. It is a unbalanced count, which makes it much easier because you can use the running count as your true count.

The K-O is considered to be a powerful level 1 system. In fact, when this strategy was first published in 1996, most experts had a difficult time believing that such a powerful counting system could also be so simple. It is now place at the same level as the Hi-Lo system. You can practice this count by flipping through a deck of cards from start to end. If you do it perfect you should have a count of +4 by the time you reach the end.

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$5 Blackjack Online

There are plenty of places where you can play $5 blackjack online.  I have found that the best places are not necessarily the most well known.

I have found a few golden casinos that have been working like a charm for me.  In my opinion, there are three online casinos that offer you the best odds at the $5 blackjack tables.

Blackjack Ballroom

casino blackjack

This place is top notch for $5 blackjack.  I have always had good luck playing at Blackjack Ballroom, which leads me to believe that the software is quite fair.  Never have I had an unusual number of losing streaks.  In fact, at Blackjack Ballroom I quite often win.

Additionally, when you play $5 blackjack you get a huge deposit bonus (1 hour and $500 free to make as much as you can).  How can you beat a deal like that?

Cherry Red Casino

Cherry Red Casino - $777 Welcome Bonus

A great place to play $5 blackjack is Cherry Red Casino.  It has huge deposit bonuses (up to $777) and has gained a wide reputation for being  fair.  I would not hesitate recommending Cherry Red to anyone looking to make a quick buck from playing $5 blackjack online.

Rushmore Casino


A relatively new casino in the market, people are saying payouts are disproportionately high in an attempt to hook new customers.  I have played at Rushmore and while I didn't find myself to be winning disproportionately, I was still up pretty large at the end of the night.  And I was playing $5 blackjack at the time!

The KISS II Counting Strategy
Level of difficulty: 1

The Kiss II strategy is an unbalanced level 1 counting system. It first appeared in Blackjack Bluebook II and quickly gained popularity among blackjack enthusiasts. The Kiss strategies are designed to start simple and get harder as you move up. Kiss 1 is used by only beginners who don't play blackjack often. You are much better to start with Kiss II or Kiss III. The Kiss II works better with single deck games while the Kiss III has better results for multiple decks.

The tricky part to learning the Kiss II counting system is that it's a suit aware count. In this system the 2's are counted differently, depending on the color of the suit. Hearts and diamonds (any red card) are worth +1, clubs and spades are worth 0. Keep in mind that this only applies to 2's, all the other cards you would disregard the suit.

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$1 Blackjack Online

Take it from me, there are literally hundreds of online casinos nowadays, and they all range in quality--from awesome to complete garbage.

So how can you find out where the best place to play $1 blackjack?

Plain and simple, because I am going to make it very easy for you.  I have personally tried many many online blackjack games and when it comes right down to it there are only a few companies out there that really seem to payout huge.

Blackjack Ballroom

free slots

Blackjack Ballroom is one of the best places to play $1 blackjack, hands down.  The odds seem fair, and I never notice myself having strange losing streaks like at other online casinos which make me question their trustworthiness.  New players get their choice of a 1 hour and $500 free promotion, or a 40% matching bonus!

Cherry Red Casino

Cherry Red Black Jack

I have never felt short changed while playing $1 blackjack at Cherry Red.  I really like the software and the visuals of the blackjack tables.

To sweeten the pot, Cherry Red offers huge blackjack bonuses for anyone who deposits.  I strongly recommend Cherry Red to anyone looking for fair $1 blackjack.

Rushmore Casino

Rushmore Black Jack

Rushmore Casino was my ace in the hole last year when I won over $3000 playing online blackjack in less than a month!  It also offers $1 blackjack for those of you who bet more conservatively.
The Kiss III Counting Strategy
Level of Difficulty: 1

The KISS strategies are designed to start easy and get harder as you go. The KISS III counting system is similar to the Red7 and works best with shoe games (meaning more than one deck). You will find that the Kiss III is much more accurate for betting compared to the KISS II.

Making the switch from the KISS II to the KISS III is easy as pie. The count is almost exactly the same, the only difference being that 7's are counted as +1 under the KISS III whereas 7's hold no value in the KISS II. The Kiss III is also a suit-aware count as you can see on the chart above. As you can tell, the 2 is counted differently depending on the color of the suit. Reds are +1, blacks are 0. This will increase the accuracy of your count even further.

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Best Online Blackjack For Cash

A lot of people ask me "where is the best place that I can play online blackjack for real cash?"

There are a lot of things to consider, like reputation, sign-up bonuses, and online community. But usually the best place for online blackjack will be the one's with the biggest bonuses. That's free cash baby!

Mount Rushmore is a solid online casino that has had me raking in the cash over the years. Take it from me, the blackjack offered here is 100% legit. I have never experienced bad streaks while playing here.

Cherry Red is another sexy casino with lucrative sign-up bonuses and a beautiful graphic interface that really puts you in the mood for blackjack. Cherry Red is without a doubt one of the best places on the net to play blackjack online for real cash.

Golden Casino is true to its name. It is truly a golden casino as I have literally raked in the cash on several occasions with a few fiery streaks. Let it ride baby!

Blackjack Ballroom is one of my favorites! You literally get $500 in free cash just for signing up. You have one hour to make as much as you can with it through online blackjack. You keep the winnings.

These are the best places that I have found anywhere, and I have done a lot of research online about the online blackjack industry. That's it from me, and good luck at the tables!

10 Tips for Making Money at Blackjack

Take it from me, there are steps you can take right now that will have you making money at blackjack almost immediately.

How is this possible? With casino bonuses my friend. That's right, online casinos give huge sign-up bonuses to new players. Some of them even match your deposit, dollar for dollar!

Anyways, I have devised 10 tips aimed at helping the average player make money at blackjack instantly.

10 Tips for Making Money At Blackjack

1. Sign up for an online casino. Look for ones that have big sign up bonuses for new players. I have put some of the best ones on the right hand side of my blog for your convenience.

2. Make a deposit. The amount that you choose will be the amount that the casino match. For example, if you deposit $500 the casino will give you $500 to match.

3. Bet aggressively. Remember, this isn't your money it's the casinos. If you lose it all, don't dip into your money. Transfer it back to your bank account and signup to another online casino! There are so many out there that you can do this for a long long time.

4. Double up, then walk away. If you are winning with your bonus money, once you double up, walk away. You will only win in the short term.

5. Never split two 10's.

6. Always hit a 16 against a dealer's 10.

7. Always hit a soft 17 against a 9 and 10.

8. Unless you are card counting, never ever take insurance.

9. Quit while you're ahead.

10. Quit while you're ahead.