Counting cards in the game of Blackjack is one of the most misunderstood and controversial topics of the game. Although not completely illegal, counting cards is not favoured in most casinos because by doing so, the player reduces the house edge, making the odds against the dealer much better. Hence, if one wants to use card counting in a casino, s/he should be careful never to get caught.
The high-low card counting system is the most basic of card counting strategies. It involves valuing each card on the deck by one of the three groups (-1, 0, and +1). All cards 10 to A = -1. All cards between 7 and 9 are valued at 0. And all cards from 2 to 6 = +1. The point of the High-Low card counting strategy is to give the player an idea of which cards mostly remain in the deck as play continues. By knowing this information, the player is able to double or halve his/her bets as the odds change between his and the dealer’s favour.
What happens is: all counting starts at 0. For the sake of better understanding, this will be called the total. Each time a card is played by any player or any dealer on the table, the player doing the counting will add/subtract the value of the card to/from the total. Note that each time a card is played, there is a new total. For example, if the first card the dealer deals to the player is 5, 1 will be added to 0 to make a new total of 1. If the dealer follows by dealing an 8, then 0 is added to the total and so on.
This strategy is based on the fact that the more “high” cards there are left in the deck, the better the chance of the player getting a Blackjack and winning. However, the more “low” cards there are left in the deck, the better the dealer’s chance of winning. Hence the information given by the high-low card counting strategy can help the player adjust his bets accordingly.