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# Common Blackjack Card Counting Parameters

Card counting in blackjack is an overly exaggerated concept which like all such phenomenon has lot of myths surrounding it. The amount of hard work and effort invested in learning this technique can never be measured by a regular blackjack player who has never tried his hand on card counting in real casino environment. In this article we will discuss about the different parameters that a blackjack player must weigh to have a reasonable chance of winning.

The first and the most common parameter that every blackjack card counter must consider is the ‘running count’. By using running count method, player can easily identify how many high value cards are remaining in the shoe as compared to the low value cards. There are many ways to monitor the running count. A common aspect of this system is that all low value cards represent positive numbers and all high value cards represent negative numbers. The counter begins at zero. When the card is revealed the counter adds the allotted value of card to the running total. Hence, if the running total comes out to be a high positive number it indicates that more low value cards have been used and the shoe consists of more high value cards now.

One of the easiest methods of figuring the running total is the high low card counting method. In this method cards from 2 to 6 are allotted the value of +1. Cards from 7 to 9 are worth 0 and cards with 10 or higher value are allotted -1. While Ace can substitute both 1 and 11, it is counted as -1 in the high low system. Thus, in a regular 52-card deck there are twenty +1 cards, twelve 0 value cards and twenty -1 cards. Besides this, there are some advanced card counting methods that further differentiates between high and low value cards.

When a disparity exists between high and low value cards, it will reflect in the running count as well. Players can make the most of this disparity if fewer cards are left in the shoe. Hence, apart from the running count a player must also keep track of the total number of cards dealt. This information comes handy each time a player makes a move so as to ascertain the true count. They need to keep track of everything, right from the number of cards dealt, to the number of cards left in the shoe and number of decks left in the shoe. Suppose, the game started with 6 decks and 26 cards have been dealt, it clearly indicates that half a deck is in the play and five and a half decks are remaining in the shoe. True count can be calculated by dividing the running count with the number of decks left.

Another important parameter in the blackjack card counting is known as the side card count. Some advanced card counting systems allot 0 value to ‘Ace’ besides maintaining a separate side card count for the same. Hence, there should be one ace in every 13 cards. According to this system a player first count the aces that have been dealt. After 13 cards have been dealt they compute the side card count. So, if no ace has been dealt in the first 13 cards, there is one additional ace in the shoe and the side card count comes to +1. Alternatively, if two aces have been dealt in the first 3 cards there is one less ace in the shoe and the side count becomes -1. This counting continues for every set of 13 cards that has been dealt. Eventually, the value of side card count is added to the true count. Some more complex methods keep side card count of aces and some other cards too.

However, this is only half the battle. Once the final count is done, the next challenge is to decide the next move while placing the wager.