Blackjack Gambling and Counting Ratios

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Card Ratios and Further Card Counting Strategies

Blackjack Gambling and Counting RatiosThere are a number of complex card counting strategies adopted by experienced blackjack players, used to identify when the casino dealer's shoe pile is rich in high-value cards.

One particularly popular card counting method used by professional blackjack players consists of keeping two scores and calculating a ratio between the two. This can require extreme concentration by the player, who must also appear to be casually playing the game at the same time.

Each deck of cards used in blackjack consists of 52 cards in total, broken down as follows:

  • 16 cards with a score of 10
  • 36 cards with other values of less than 10

Therefore the overall ratio of other-value cards to tens is simply calculated as 36/16, or 2.25. If this ratio falls below 2.25, the casino dealer's 'shoe' pile is rich in tens and therefore the player has an advantage over the casino dealer, who is more likely to go 'bust'.

The important part of employing this method of blackjack card counting is the overall starting point, which is dependent upon the number of card decks being using in the game. When four card decks are being used in blackjack, the card counting scoring systems starts as follows:

  • 64 for the tens
  • 144 for all other-value cards

Each time a card with a value of 10 is used, the card counter mentally reduces this score by one and recalculates the card ratio. Similarly, the total score for other-value cards is reduced by one when cards with a value of less than 10 are seen. The following example clearly illustrates how this method of blackjack card counting can easily identify when the casino dealer's shoe is rich in tens and therefore in the player's advantage:

Blackjack card counting example

  • Unseen others = 120
  • Unseen tens = 30
  • Ratio = 120 / 30 = 4

This total ratio is more than 2.25, therefore the player immediately increases their bets.


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