Running Count

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The True Count and the Running Count

If you want to be effective at counting cards, you need all the advantages you can get. You have probably heard about the Hi-Lo method of card counting before, this determines whether there are still 10’s and A’s in the deck or not.

The True Count

To be truly successful, it is important to take another step and determine the advantage/disadvantage per deck left to be played and look at how many decks are left. You can calculate the True Count by dividing the Running Count by the amount of decks that are left.

Unlike the Running Count, a True Count will tell you the advantage that you have over the casino in percentages. If the True Count is zero, the casino has a 0.5 percent advantage over the player. For every additional +1, the player gains a 0.5 percent advantage. So for example, a True Count of +6 would mean that the player has a 2.5 percent advantage.

True Count Vs Running Count

The Running Count is only going to tell the player whether there are fewer or more high cards in the deck compared to the lower cards. For example, if the Running Count is +6, it means that there are six more high cards than low cards in the deck.

If you only have six cards left to play, you know that these are all going to be high cards (provided you counted correctly). However, if there are say, six decks left, the information is not as useful. This is why the True Count is needed. It helps to make strategic decisions at the blackjack table by letting the players know the proportion of high cards per deck.

Why it helps

A True Count of +1 or lower means that the advantage lies with the casino. Any True Count over +1 means that players have the advantage. Any good card counting strategy has the True Count as its basis. Understanding the True Count tells players when they have the advantage, and this is ultimately how they make their money.