Blackjack Card Counting Strategies to try at Online Casinos

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Blackjack card counting strategies can be found in many places, but remember that some of them are much better suited for land-based casinos and real tables than they are for playing Blackjack online.

A Blackjack card counting strategy that’s used in Casinos but harder to execute when playing online Blackjack but still possible is the Wonging in which was created by esteemed author Stanford Wong. We will look at this below and explain the nuances.

In the US and UK, card counting isn’t illegal under any federal, state or local laws, but both brick-and-mortar and online casinos aren’t there to lose money. So, they all object to the practice they know must be going on at Blackjack tables and try to control it.

Casinos will employ people on the floor and in camera rooms to try to prevent and ban any card counters, but this is an imperfect science and varies from casino to casino, from player to player, and from watcher to watcher.

The mathematical beauty of the Blackjack strategy of card counting allows the player to determine if the player(s) or dealers have an advantage going into the next hand dealt. It is done by keeping a running count of the high and low cards dealt.


There are many different Blackjack card counting strategies and we will look at a handful. Card counters are considered advantage players and by keeping running counts, they bet more when they feel they have the edge, or less and not at all when they don’t.

Card counting strategies can be employed at both land-based and top online casinos, and it can be profitable if used right. The key is to know when the deck (or decks) have more high cards left than low cards. At that point, the player(s) have an advantage.

If there are an equal ratio of high and low cards or if there are more low cards than high cards left in the deck, it’s then that the casino has the advantage. Therefore, card counters will either bet less or not at all at that point knowing there is no advantage remaining. Perfecting these strategies takes time and concentration, discipline, and patience. And honing these skills is probably easier playing Blackjack online, depending on the casino, number of decks and strategies you are using.

Card counting systems in Blackjack involve assigning a positive, a negative, or a zero value to each card dealt. The ongoing count is adjusted with each card dealt. Different Blackjack card counting strategies use different systems to keep the count.

Let’s look at four of these Blackjack card counting strategies, the Hi-Lo, the Ace/5, the Knock Out, and the Red 7, and briefly explain how they work.

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The Hi-Lo Count Strategy

The Hi-Lo Count strategy is the most popular and basic strategy of Blackjack card counting and probably the easiest to pick up quickly. First introduced in 1953 by Harvey Dubner, the Hi-Lo Count is a balanced system and requires an extra number conversion.

Here is a brief explanation of how to use the Hi-Lo. Aces, Kings, Queens, Jacks and 10’s (High cards) mean subtracting one from the card count, 9’s, 8’s, and 7’s don’t affect the count (basically equating to 0), and 6’s 5’s, 4’s, 3’s and 2’s (Low cards) add one to the count.

Blackjack card counters using this strategy are assigning point scores of +1, 0, or -1 to each card, and track the sum of all of the card values dealt in a running count. This lets them determine if play is favorable or unfavorable for the cards remaining.

When Blackjack players see that they have an advantage in the card count, they bet more money. And when Blackjack players are faced with no advantage or a disadvantage, then they can choose to either bet less or to not even bet the next hand or hands at all.

The Hi-Lo Count strategy is a Level-1 count meaning that the running card count will never increase or decrease by more than one point per card dealt.

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The Ace/5 Count Strategy

The Ace/5 Count strategy is one of the easiest Blackjack card counting strategies to learn. But over the long run, it’s such a basic strategy blackjack card counting that it’s probably a better idea to try a different strategy in this article.

This simple Blackjack card counting strategy was made famous by renowned mathematician, actuary and game researcher Michael Shackleford, an adjunct professor of actuarial sciences and mathematics at UNLV here in Sin City.

Shackleford, aka “The Wizard of Odds,” is a Blackjack and Poker player and has created strategies for various casino games. He says that the Ace/5 count is the easiest Blackjack card counting system to use because it only requires caring about the Aces and the 5s. In the Ace/5 Count strategy, the Aces are assigned a value of -1 with the 5’s being worth +1. All other 11 card types in the deck (2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, Jack, Queen, and King) are considered neutral and don’t need to be assigned a value (as it would be 0).

Blackjack players who are practicing the Ace/5 strategy—designed for 6- and 8-deck games—who have correctly counted to count down to the last card should end with a final running card count value of 0. Practice makes perfect.

The Ace/5 Count strategy is a balanced system and also is a Level-1 card count with players simply needing to add 1 (with 5’s) or subtract 1 (with Aces). So, again, the card count will never go up or down by more than one point for every Ace or 5 that is dealt.

Why is this a system?

Simple. Instead of being forced to keep track of every single card dealt like in the Hi-Lo Count system, Blackjack players worry only about the most favorable (Aces) and the mathematical worst (5’s) cards in the deck or shoe.

The Knockout (KO) Count Strategy

In most Blackjack card counting strategies, players have to consider the number of decks being played, but the Knockout (KO) Count is a single-level system, so players are again only adding or subtracting 1 to the running card count total.

In the Knockout (KO) Count strategy, Aces, Kings, Queens, Jacks, and 10’s are all assigned a value of -1 while all of the 7’s, 6’s, 5’s, 4’s, 3’s, and 2’s are all worth +1. The 9’s and 8’s are worth 0 in this particular basic strategy Blackjack card counting.

This means that there are 24 cards in each deck worth +1 and 20 cards with -1, making this an unbalanced system.


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Here, the start of count is also determined by the number of decks played, and not at 0.

Games starting with 2 decks of cards start the count at -4; games utilizing decks start at -6; games with 8 decks start the count at -28; and games using just one (1) deck of cards will start the count at 0.

Players have a +1% to +4% advantage when there is a Positive count and that’s where a Blackjack player would then increase his or her wagers at online casinos. The KO Betting Correlation is 0.98 and is higher than the Hi-Lo Count Strategy (0.97)

The Red 7 Count Strategy

The Red 7 Count strategy is another unbalanced system. In this system you also start your count depending on the number of decks being played in the game.

In the Red 7 Count strategy, like with the Knockout Strategy, Aces, Kings, Queens, Jacks, and 10’s are all assigned a value of -1. All of the red 7’s, 6’s, 5’s, 4’s, 3’s, and 2’s will have an assigned value of +1. All black 7’s, 8’s, and 9’s are worth 0 and don’t change the count.

Because the red 7’s are counted separately in the Red 7 Count strategy, an unbalanced count system is created meaning there is no need for a true count conversion.

Games starting with just 1 deck of cards will start the count at -2; 2 decks see the count begin at -4; games with 4 decks start the count odd at -8; 6 decks means a starting count of -12; and when using 8 decks, the starting card count value is -16.

An easier way to remember the number of deck conversions in the Red 7 Count strategy is to simply multiply the number of decks by 2 and then make that number a negative. For example, a game using 4 decks x 2 = (minus) 8. The starting card count point is important.

Practice These Strategies Before Playing For Real Money

There are other Blackjack card counting strategies you can use online besides these four including the Hi-Opt I System, the Hi-Opt II System, the Wong Halves System, the Zen System, the Omega II System, the Mentor system, the Kiss 2 and the Kiss 3 Systems.

A majority of beginning card counters, in casinos or online, think too much about what system to experiment with and ultimately settle on the one that works best for them in the long run. Beginners may want to start with the Ace/5 or the Hi-Lo systems.

Besides putting in the practice and real play time, reading about Blackjack and the various strategies employed is also a very wise idea. Reading is fundamental. One of the books in my own personal collection, Bringing Down the House by Ben Mezrich, tells the interesting story of the MIT Blackjack team that came to Las Vegas to try to use their card counting skills to beat the Sin City casinos out of their money.

The Sony Pictures release 21 (2008) was inspired by the best-selling Mezrich book, written in 2003, and tells the story of this infamous card counting team which included students from MIT, Harvard University, and other major US colleges.

Whichever strategy you choose, make sure to practice before playing for real money.

Author: Mark Hayes