Card Counting Strategies to reduce the House Edge

If you are a beginner in card counting Blackjack strategy, then you should consider going for the easiest and simplest way of card counting namely, Hi-Lo. The main objective behind card counting in Live Blackjack as well as online Blackjack is to make out the proportion of high and low cards compared to what is left in the shoe and which cards have been already dealt.

Before going into details, let us strictly specify that there is no federal law that prevents players from using card counting techniques in Live Blackjack online. However, you can be escorted out of the casino if they find out that you are too good in the game! You can take it as a compliment that you are too good for the casino! Before that, let us look at the most popular card counting techniques that players favour from all around the world.

Basic card counting technique

The main motive is to get an idea of how many high and low-value cards are present inside the shoe. This is also known as ‘counting the table’ in Online as well as Live Blackjack.

In this technique, the player has to take a stock of all the exposed cards of every hand at the table including the dealer as well as the player.  Count the high-value cards or 10 point cards and the low-value cards or cards between 2 – 5 points. If the player has exposed a number of low-value cards, then his deck is filled with high-value cards indicating that he is at an advantage. If the player has more than six high-value cards, then the deck is less favourable for him.

With practice, you will be able to master the advanced basic counting skills and know when the dealer’s card will be worth 10 points. You need to stand on 16 if you card counting skill signifies more low-value cards instead of high-value cards. Your chance of drawing a 4 or 5 is significantly low if the table is filled with low-value cards.

Hi-Lo card counting technique

This counting Blackjack strategy starts as soon as the cards are reshuffled and the dealer starts taking out cards from a fresh shoe. The player has to keep a count on the high value and low-value card numbers in the shoe by assigning them a point value of +1, 0 or -1. Following this, the card counter has to add, subtract or do nothing base don the point value of the cards. Your hand value count should come out as 0. For every hand on the table, you have to do this card counting unless you come up with a running count.

This technique is useful if the game is fast paced and you have to update your running count every time new cards are introduced in the table. This technique is useful with single deck games and the difficulty level increases with multiple decks. The player has the advantage if he gets a high running count. Similarly, the house gets more edge of the number comes up low or negative in value.

Uston SS card counting technique

Instead of the 3 point values in the Hi-Lo system, this technique deals with 6. Check out the following table. This is a more accurate method for card counting and the biggest challenge is quick calculation and memorization. SS signifies Strongest. Simplest and uses the same addition, subtraction or do-nothing based on the cards dealt on the table. The same true count formula is used just like the Hi-Lo system if the table has multiple decks.

However, many professional players hate to use this technique as it is an unbalanced system and the challenge of remembering 6 point values is cumbersome and time-consuming.

Card number The point value of the cards
5 3
2, 4, 6 2
9 -1
8 0
7 1
10, Aces, face cards -2

Side counting technique

This technique is usually combined with other techniques like Hi-Lo to make it more effective. The player has to take a mental complement of Aces, face cards, or a specific card. Side counting technique is not favourable. If you are a beginner, we suggest you stick to Hi-Lo technique. If you are a seasoned player, then moving to the SS Uston technique will be much more beneficial.

KO card counting technique

The Knock-Out card counting technique has the same point value just like the Hi-Lo system. But, instead of the neutral rule of 7 cards in the Hi-Lo system, this technique assigns 7 cards as a low-value card. The KO technique indicates more low-value cards in the shoe if the running count is high positive and vice versa.

Just a tip! You won’t get much time to calculate at a casino. Train your mind to spot the cards that cancel each other!


Name: Card Counting Strategies to reduce the House Edge
Author: Helen Stratford
Published Date: 29/04/2019