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The true count is very important in many methods of card counting because the card counting strategies described in these methods only present half of the picture. The other half is determining the true count. Learning how to do this will give you a more accurate picture of how many high cards remain in the blackjack shoe. Therefore, you should also keep track of the numbers of deck left in play. For example, a running count of +10 is much better if there are 2 decks remaining as opposed to a shoe with 5 decks remaining.

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How to Determine the True Count

Figuring out the true count only requires basic math skills once you have the running count and a general idea of the number of decks remaining. Just divide the running count by the number of decks still left in play. If you have a +6 after the first round of a game in a 6 deck shoe, the running count is +1 since there are still about 6 decks left. If you have a +6 when you’re halfway through that shoe, then you have 3 decks left and a +2 running count.

There are a couple of ways to figure out the number of decks remaining in the shoe. The easiest way to do so is by estimating how many decks are left. With a little bit of practice this is not as hard as it seems. Start by looking at the shoe and identifying the middle. Once you do this you can easily estimate the decks remaining. In a six-deck game you know there are three decks above that middle point and three below it. Further divide those sections into thirds and you have a pretty good idea of how much space a deck takes up in the shoe. Remember, it isn’t necessary to be perfect in your estimation. Just make a good, logical guess.

Another way to count the number of decks played is by the number of rounds played. If there are 6 players and each one plays about 3 cards per hand, that’s 1/3 of a deck. Three rounds of play would equal one entire deck. This method requires a bit more math but sometimes the casinos do a good job of “hiding” the remaining decks.

Advantages of the True Count

The higher the true count is, the greater the advantage to the player. In a typical 6 deck shoe, each additional true count point gives the player a 0.5% advantage. When the shoe is shuffled, the running count is 0 and the dealer’s advantage is about 0.5%. When the true count is +1, you even the odds with the dealer. When the true count increases another point to +2, you have gained the advantage by 0.5%.

Almost every professional card counter utilizes the true count because if gives a more accurate representation of the deck. The difference between amateur card counters and the ones who do it for a living is the true count. Overall, the potential for profit increases when using it. A running count will still permit you to be successful at the blackjack table, but using a true count can elevate you to professional and legendary status.

If you’re looking for a betting strategy to use with the true count, try the following strategy. Your base amount is the minimum you want to bet. For example, if your base amount is $5 and the shoe has just been shuffled, bet $5. If the true count is +4, bet $15.

True Count Blackjack Betting Strategy

It should be stated that the true count is NOT a betting system. It is a card counting method. However, one can establish some general betting guidelines based upon the value of the count:

  • True count +1 or less, bet your base amount.
  • True count +2 or +3, bet 2 times your base unit.
  • True count +4 or +5, bet 3 times your base unit.
  • True count +6 or +7, bet 4 times your base unit.
  • True count +8 or more, bet 5 times your base unit.

These are only suggestions and one should not follow them in an automatic manner. As a card counter you will need to vary your bet very often to avoid detection no matter what the count is. Of course, the above guidelines will work perfectly well for a blackjack player who is new to counting or simply wants to use a very simple approach. The important thing to remember is that the purpose of any card counting method is to alert you to favorable blackjack betting situations.

Learn to use the true count and you will notice a significant increase in the accuracy of your count in live blackjack play. That increased accuracy will pay big rewards for you.

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