Pro gamblers know one thing that most people don’t: the only games you play at the casino are Poker and Blackjack. Poker takes a lifetime to learn while Blackjack just takes diligence and a good memory. If you’re guessing that I propose you start with Blackjack in order to go pro, you would be correct.

Poker is a very complicated game that requires a lot of study. It is highly recommended you learn to play poker, but know that there will always be a better player than you for many years to come. Blackjack, on the other hand, is based on rules that have been analyzed down to the tiniest detail. Whereas Poker is almost infinite in complexity, Blackjack is finite and measurable. This makes it an ideal candidate for learning to play a pro grade game.

There are books on Blackjack that you should read and be familiar with. And it goes without saying that you should have the standard play charts both printed and in front of you, and have the simplified chart memorized. Then come the more advanced techniques. I’m talking about counting cards.

Counting cards at Blackjack is one of the most lucrative ways to play at any casino. online casinos don’t have pit bosses to weed you out if you’re suspected of counting. The practice is not illegal, and the fact that you are prevented from doing it at regular casinos is a travesty. Even though the popular media likes to portray card counting as an esoteric practice that only the crazy can master and that will lead you to being tortured in a back room, the reality is quite different. Card counting is not impossible to learn, and can significantly improve your odds of winning. Try your luck at JackpotCity Casino.

That said, however, this is the moment that I will burst another bubble. The media portrays card counting as an unbeatable advantage that will lead you to infinite wins. This is not the case. Card counting improves your odds by slightly more than 1%. It is a sliver of an advantage, but it is significant enough, when your odds already hover at 99%, that it can effectively close the house advantage gap and make the game even and fair.

I said that card counting is not impossible to learn, but that does not make it easy to master. It is in fact quite difficult to keep track of multiple decks in your head and it requires a lot of practice. Because it is impossible to remember every card dealt in a multiple deck shoe, a macro system must be used. This is done by assigning particular values to ranges of cards. The simplest method is called the hi-lo method and is a good place to start.

Cards in the range of 2 and 6 of any suit are assigned a +1 value. Cards in the 7 to 9 range are neutral and have 0 value. Tens (face) and aces have a -1 value. Counting starts at 0 and each time you see a jack you subtract 1 from the running total and each time you see a 3 you add 1, and so on. You should keep track of the running total at all times. The value of the running count gives you an indication of what is happening in the card shoe.

If your running count is a positive number then you can be relatively certain that there are proportionally more tens or face cards in the shoe. When you compare this information with the cards you have been dealt, you have a better chance at making a good decision on your wager. The tally informs you of the health of the deck in front of you. There is no way for me to give a detailed counting guide in a short article so I will refer you one of the many excellent books that have been written on the subject. It is important to understand how card counting works because it can make the difference between a win or a loss when it counts the most.