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Card Counting Techniques and Further Resources

By Howard Moon

This is the final article in our learning how to card count article series. If you would like to start from the beginning go to the card counting introduction and basics article.

Bet Progression

The number of units a player bets at any given time is dictated by the number of decks he/she is playing against. The following table provides information on acceptable bet spreads for a given number of decks in play. A player using smaller spreads than those listed runs the risk of having no advantage at all.

Number of Decks in Play

Bet Spread









*** Table minimum?? Any time the house has the advantage – in most games when the adjusted TC is less that 1 – an advantage player should be betting his/her minimum. Betting small when the house has the advantage and big when the player has the advantage is one of the main principles of card counting; do not give in to hunches and place bets bigger than the count dictates you should – this will serve only to increase the risk of you losing your entire bankroll. When the adjusted TC reaches 1 – bet a full unit. Now – the tricky part – working out the betting increments that fall between an adjusted TC of 1 and 5. For inexperienced players I would suggest simply betting 1 unit per point of the adjusted TC until you reach your maximum bet of 5 units. If you really are serious about making as much money as possible you will have to invest in a computer simulation program. This will allow you to accurately simulate the exact playing conditions you intend to play against. A simulator allows the a player to, amongst other things, explore the different levels of risk for the exact game being played, devise the optimum bet progression for a particular situation, explore the expected range of playing results and calculate what their average expected hourly win rate should be. There are several simulators on the market today but personally I – alongside many very notable names in the blackjack community – would heartily recommend Norm Wattenberger’s ‘CVCX’ which can be purchased at This software will allow you to generate all the information you could possibly desire for the game you play and will, for most players, be worth far more to them than the initial cost of the software.

Bottom of the Deck

This article has covered the basic elements of Card Counting necessary to allow an inexperienced player to begin playing and winning. If you find yourself desirous of a more in-depth knowledge of the theory behind the practices, rest assured, there are whole books written on the subject of card counting. That being the case a short list of recommended reading follows this article. These are books that I have read and consider to be of benefit to an aspiring counter. It is not necessary to read all of them, however, in my experience, the more you read on the subject, the greater your understanding will become and the more capable you will be of taking advantage of the opportunities that present themselves. For the sake of convenience I have listed them in order of usefulness:

The Blackjack Institute – Home Training Course
Blackbelt in Blackjack – Arnold Snyder
Professional Blackjack – Stanford Wong
Play Blackjack Like the Pro’s – Kevin Blackwood

When you have a good grip on the basics of Blackjack and want to learn more about the nuances, associated advanced techniques and external factors influencing the game the following list of books will be of interest to you:

Burning the Tables in Las Vegas – Ian Anderson
Blackjack Attack – Don Schlesinger
Card Counter’s Guide to Casino Surveillance – D.V. Cellini
The Shuffle Tracker’s Cookbook – Arnold Snyder
Beyond Counting – James Grosjean (very difficult to get hold of)

Be aware that these books DO NOT contain information on learning to count cards and all assume a pre-existing level of knowledge and experience with regard to the game.

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