All About Card Counting with Blackjack Expert Henry Tamburin

All About Card Counting with Blackjack Expert Henry Tamburin

hi and welcome to our series of
educational videos
that are designed to make you a smarter
gambler my name is Steve Bourie
I’m the author of the American casino
guide which is the number one
bestselling book in the US on the
subject of casino gambling and travel
and the only book that comes with more
than one thousand dollars in casino
If you want to know more about me or my
book be sure to visit my website at
In this video we’ll be hearing
from blackjack
expert henry Tamburin and we’ll be
talking all about card counting and
Henry has written several books on
casino gambling including Blackjack take
the money and run
He publishes the monthly blackjack
Insider newsletter devoted to the game
and is also an experience card counter as
well as a seasoned blackjack tournament
and he also writes monthly gambling columns
for a half-dozen
regional and national magazines and has
appeared on several TV documentaries
about casino gambling in america
I’ve sure learned some interesting things
from Henry about card counting and
and now here’s henry Tamburin A lot of
players asked me what
is card counting Card-counting is
nothing more than keeping track
of cards since the shuffle and the cards
we keep track of are the high cards
and the low cards and by keeping this
ratio high cards to low cards
it gives the card counter a prediction on
whether or not he has the edge on the next hand
A lot of players ask me oh you know
card counting is
a great technique but do you have to
be a genius
in order to master it? The answer is no.
Anybody with an average intelligence can
learn how to count cards and this is how
it works
We just simply assign a plus value or
a minus value
to specific cards in the deck Generally
the low cards we count plus one
a high cards we count -1 and what a card
counter does is he just tracks
each of these plus cards and minus cards
as he sees them on the table
and he keeps the sum of these cards and
gives him his running count and that’s
what he uses to know whether or not he
has the edge
Now are there more than one card counting
systems? The answer is yes
generally there are very simple
card counting systems and one of the
simplest ones
is speed count there are others like
k.o. rookie count these are card counting
systems which I would recommend for
average players who are basically basic
strategy players and want to
try card counting so I would recommend
that they start with one of these simple
card counting systems
and something like speed count you can
learn in an hour or less
now the more complex card counting
systems are systems like high low and KO
they are much harder to learn but you’ll
get a greater edge than you will with the
simple card counting systems
I’m always asked is card-carrying
legal and my response is
it’s perfectly legal to use your brain
when you play blackjack
and that’s all you’re doing when you’re
card counting you’re using your brain so
short answer to the question is yes it
is perfectly legal to count cards
now the second question I get asked is
well you know
are the casinos gonna let you card count
and the answer is yes and no Basically if
you’re a low limit player they’re not
going to get excited if you’re counting
cards but if you come in with a team
or player
and you’re in there for hours on end
betting thousands of dollars yes you’re
going to get the casino
nervous and they’re gonna watch you play
and if they feel that your play is too
meaning you’re going to affect their
bottom line yes they can ask you to
also the public has a misconception
that if you’re a card counter you’re going to
win every time you play and that’s
furthest from the truth the fact of the
matter is card counters will win but
they’ll win over a specific period of
generally we like to say we have the edge
and it’s a long term edge meaning in the
short term
which is any individual session or even
a week’s worth a play and sometimes even
a month
we could lose money The analogy I
like to make is
compare card counting to investing in
the stock market
If you invested in the stock market
for twenty or thirty years you certainly
have more money than you started with
but on an individual daily or weekly or
monthly basis
your stock portfolio probably whent up
and down but the curve went straight up
that’s what it’s like with card counting
we go up and we go down but the curve
always goes up Players always ask me how
do the casinos know that a player is card
And there’s one characteristic of all card
and there’s one thing that card counters
have to do no matter what system you
and that’s to vary your bet size card
counters win money by betting more when
they have the edge and bet small when
they don’t have the edge
so this bet variation is one of the
indicators that the casino uses
when they suspect somebody is counting
so that’s why you don’t want to go to a
casino if you’re a card counter and start
betting five dollars and then throw out
a hundred dollar bet
that’s kind of a flag that lets the
casino know that
more than likely you’re counting cards
What are the negatives if you want to be
a card counter? And and I say negatives
just because a lot of people don’t
understand this concept of a bankroll
generally you need money in order to
make money if you’re a card counter
and that’s because of the short term
losses that you can anticipate when you
play blackjack as a card counter so
as a general rule of thumb
you need about a hundred times your
maximum bet
and that should be your bankroll so
let’s say you’re gonna spread from ten
dollars to fifty dollars as a card
you should have fifty times a hundred
which is a five thousand dollar bank roll
set aside for the sole purpose of
using it when you played blackjack
spreading ten to fifty dollars
Now as your bankroll grows then you can
increase your bet spread and when your
bankroll takes a hit
then you should go down in your bet
spread and try and keep that 1-100
How long does it take for an average
player to master card counting?
Again it depends on the complexity of
the card counting system
if you wanna learn the popular high low
card counting system
it’s going to take you several months of
two to three times a week And how do you
learn card counting?
Well first thing you should do is is is
read a good book on what card counting
is all about
and then you need a deck of cards and you
gotta practice keeping that running
flipping the cards and adding the pluses
and minuses and you’ve got to be able to
count down a deck of cards
accurately in about 30 seconds or less
so it takes a little bit of a practice
to do this
now if you’re going to learn a simple
card counting system like speed count
card counting system like that you can
learn in less than an hour
One of the most important conditions
that card counters want to see in a
blackjack game
before they sit down and play is what we
call the penetration
penetration is the percentage of the
cards that are dealt
before the dealer shuffles so for
example if you’re playing a two-deck
and one deck is played out and now the
dealer picks up the cards and shuffles
that’s a fifty percent penetration
you’ve only seen
one out of the two decks that’s not
a very good game for a card counter what a card
counter would prefer
is a two-deck game where more than one
deck is played
before the dealer shuffles so the
greater the percentage of the cards
that are dealt
the greater will be the card counters
so card counters always look for games
with deep penetration
as a benchmark for a two deck game you want
at least a sixty percent penetration
and for a six deck game you want at
least 75 percent penetration
A lot of players have seen the movie 21
and they’ve seen the MIT guys
beating the casinos but they play in
and some the most successful card
are the ones who have played in teams
and why is playing in teams so important
and the answer is if you’re playing as
an individual
you’re playing against your own bankroll
if you play on a team
you have a joint bank and everybody on
team can play against this larger bank
so if you play on a team you can bet
at a much higher level
and therefore your profits are much
greater and you’re doing this with
absolutely no additional risk to your
so that’s why a lot of the professional
blackjack players
tend to form teams when they play in
If you go the casino you might see signs on
some other table that says
“no mid-shoe” entry and a lot of players
ask me why did the casinos do that
Well if you ask a casino manager why
do you have that sign why don’t you let
a player jump in in the middle of the shoe
he’ll probably say because the players
at the table
don’t like it when somebody jumps in
because they’re gonna change the flow of
the cards
and they’ll cause players to lose well
that’s a lotta hog wash the real reason
that casinos don’t want players to enter
in the middle of the shoe
it’s because of a technique that
card counters use which is quite
and the technique is known is back
counting and what card counters do is
stand behind or on the side of the table
to wait for the shuffle they’ll watch the
cards they’ll keep the count
and when the count goes positive then
they’ll jump out jump into the game
they’ll make big bets they’ll continue
to make big bets when then they have the
and then when the count goes negative
they’ll leave and then they’ll wait for the
next table to go positive and jump in
so that’s a very profitable technique
for players and that’s the reason why
have those signs to not allow players to
jump in
in the middle of the shoe. There have
been a lot of
card counters who got a lot of publicity
over the years and I think the
the first person to go on national
as a blackjack card counter was Kenny
Houston he appeared on 60 minutes
and he kinda explain what card counting
is and it really became
a popular avocation for a lot of
people after seeing him on TV and
there have been other players
who’ve gotten a lot of publicity and
certainly the MIT team
I received a lot of publicity but
there’s also been a lot of players
who haven’t been in the limelight that
are really legends in the field
of blackjack
and there’s a book called the legends of
written by Kevin blackwood and Larry
Barker and it’s an actual book
the scribes a whole host of players
who have made a ton of money as
blackjack card counters and I encourage
anybody who wants to learn about these
to get a hold of the book legends of
and you can get that book on our website
A lot of players who watched the movie
saw this technique that card counters
with a BP which is known as a big
and that’s a popular technique that the
professional players use and this is how
it works
basically you’ll have a player at a table
keeping track of the count and when a count
goes positive
instead of this player making large bets
he will signet one of his team players
known as the big player
and he will then go to the table after
he gets a signal
and he will make the large bets now from
the casinos perspective he’s just gonna
look like an average player walking up
to a table making big bets
now he’ll continue to make the big bets
until his partner on the table
signals and that the count
has now gone negative and then the BP
will then
leave the table and then he’ll walk
around and he’ll wait for the signal from
one of his confederates who
are on other tables in the casino So by
using this technique
they’re having one player known as the
big player making all the large bets
whenever the count was positive so this
is how
team players can win a lot of money in
casinos by using the
big player concept A lot of players ask me
how can I become a successful card counter
one of the things you have to do is you
have to be committed to learning not
only the technique of card counting
but you have to be able to understand
the risks involved and you have to have
enough money
for your bankroll to sustain you when
don’t go your way and you will have
variances when you play blackjack and
sometimes you’re gonna lose some money
so you’ve got to understand all this
plus you have to have a certain
comportment when you play
you can’t just sit there and
always watch the cards and never talk
and never drink
you’ll just a stick out like a sore
thumb that you’re probably card counting
because you’re just staring in looking at
all the cards
so all of these techniques and skills
you have to master
and the way to do that is again you
gotta get a good book
you gotta read about card counting you
gotta practice
and don’t practice at home with
a deck cards
when there’s no noise because in the
casino there’s a lot of noise so you
need to practice at home with the TV on
the Radio on
and you have to continue to practice and
to you can master the
skills and counting down a deck you
gotta understand risk a rowing you gotta
have the right bank roll
and you really need to start out at a
low level of betting
until you feel comfortable that you’re
not making errors and then you could
advance to a higher level of betting If
you wanna learn more about me and some
of my blackjack books
and some of the articles I’ve written
you can go actually to three sources one
is my Blackjack Insider newsletter
and you can just go to the site in fact we offer a three
month free subscription
go to the website
just put in your email address and we’ll
send you three free issue of our
you can also go to my other site
and there I have plenty of articles on
I also write a column for on blackjack
for about a half a dozen different
Don’t forget that you can see more of
our educational gaming videos on our
YouTube channel
just go to

100 thoughts on “All About Card Counting with Blackjack Expert Henry Tamburin”

  1. NOPE  this is the  HARDEST way to count…..
    My way is to just count the 9— Ace only..  ignore all other cards

  2. I want to ask about the ups and downs. Will persistent wonging still have losses in the short term and does that still require the 1% rule? Or the numbers will be a little different since we are not playing unfavorable shoes? Will it give a better edge than traditional counting if so how much more?

  3. Does it annoy anyone that the video is about card counting but most the video in the background has an automatic shuffle machine on it? I wish the film editors for these things had even the most basic knowledge of the material in the video's they're editing for…

  4. I have a question regarding splitting 22's and 33's vs. 2 or 3. Some basic strategy tables call for splitting these cards vs 2-7 and others call for splitting only vs. 4-7. I suspect when doubling is allowed after split you would split vs. 2-7. Can you answer this question.

  5. If there are two boxes open on the blackjack table and the running count becomes very high, say +20, then should you open another box or not?

  6. thanks for all your help, I think I have 1 more question haha… if you have a running count of +2 and there are 3 decks left in the shoe? would the true count be 0?

  7. so quick question. If im keeping track of the running count and after the hand I go to figure the true count, is the running count now the true count starting with the next hand or is the running count and true count two separate counts you have to keep track of? I hope that wasn't confusing, thanks.

  8. so what are the statistical advantages at what counts? for instance i wong in at a true count of no less than 1. And then leave when the count goes negative. N7 trips I have tripled my bankroll of only $20 at a $3 betting unit and the worst I have finished in a session is up one-third of the unit. Is there anyway you could no the proper amount to bet when wonging? II honestly don't care if the casino catches me because I have heard it can be a telltale sign.

  9. just so you know I'm speaking into my phone that is why my capitalization and punctuation is so horrendis.

  10. I sometimes realize it is possible for card counting systems to contradict each other. Sometimes in a shoe game the high-low system can see that the shoe being favorable while the ko system does not and vice versa.

  11. I slip the dealer, in the parking lot, $500.  They now know to  flash their hole cards, which my buddy on the other side of the table at the slots can see and signals me what it is.

    Here's how NOT to get caught:  when you make $1,500, you quit. Casinos don't care about that amount. They are looking for bets that vary high/low and 30k wins

    Dealer:       gets $500
    My Buddy: gets $500
    Me:            I get $500

    That's for 1 hr. of work. 

  12. greedy ones get caught because they just have to bet a ton of money when the time is ripe not realizing they stick out like a sore thumb with their actions in the casino. Maybe better off flat betting for awhile while card counting . You wont make much of a profit or maybe a loss but at least you wont raise suspicion to security. Everyone wants the big bucks now and thats where the problems start 

  13. don't forget to keep track of the aces and don't forget even if its a plus deck the dealer has the same opportunity to get a good hand in my opinion you need to be able to count but you need a lot of luck to go with it . you don't need to buy a book maybe you should go sell cars for a living cuz you cant fool a casino employee that you need to buy a book

  14. ive been a casino employee for many years and with out being lucky abd able to count down a deck or double deck you still cant win forget counting a shoe theres just to many cards to keep an accurate count that's why you se more shoes than the old single and double deck games buy any way good luck to all you gamblers out there im pulling for you , the most fair game in the casino is baccarat and that ladys and gents is the facts and you don't need to be a card counter to win in that game.

  15. most casinos give the customers free lessons maybe one hour at a certain time of the day and they can show you the same stuff this guy is trying ti sell you

  16. skill is good but you cant beat luck and skill and that's what you need to win . oh ofcourse I didn't mention cheating that's a sure win

  17. Excellent video. Card counting is easy. I was playing in Ct. the count was high and I'm betting $300 a hand my friend kept saying how in the world you keep winning. We stood watching and I got in when it was high and just Hammered them my best performance. I was playing like a pro. I left with 3500.

    Nobody tells you when they lose. I ended up giving that money back after that. I don't gamble at casinos anymore. I like being ahead.

  18. If your playing BJ and your not counting cards your just throwing your money away.
    If you want a better edge play Jacks or better.

  19. i'm a friking 12 years old kid,and i understand this explination so if you are like 20 years old and don't understand…..well……you are stupid

  20. You know I wonder how the fuck I got here and why I'm 6 minutes deep into this video, when I have no fucking idea how to even play blackjack, or go fish for that matter.

  21. How positive should the count be before one increases their bet?  For example, let's say you are 75% the way through a six pack deck, would +1 be enough to increase your bet amount?  Or should it be +3, +4 or +5 (for examples)?

  22. i have a question. lets say im in casino alone and i wana jump one one table in the middle of the game? how do i start couinting when half of the deck is gone and i dont have count? do i wait dealer to collect all decks and shuffle them or i use some speciall method?

  23. well,,, when the dealer take the cutting card and cuts 50% of the shoe, how to count then ? 😛

  24. Hi Henry,
    Please answer the below questions with respect to Hi-LO Card Counting Strategy

    1.How to arrive at the Perfect True Count in the 8 deck card game?
    2.How easily we can identify the remaining decks from the discard tray?
    3.If the running count is 12 and the remaining deck is 6 . The true count is 2. This is easy 🙂 However if the running count is -9 and the remaining deck is 7 How to arrive at the true count?
    4. How frequently we need to get the true count. Is it after seeing each deck in the discard Tray in a 8 deck card game?

  25. U can count a card only when it faced up but the next card is everyone's guess. Counting cards on six or more decks while being continuously suffled is stupid.

  26. If you have a 2 deck game with 50% penetration and a 6 deck game with 75% you have 1 deck left vs 1.5.  At first glance I believe you would be better off with the two deck game.  Then again, if shuffling 6 decks together creates a greater imbalance of hi to low cards that changes things too.

  27. Counting cards is easy, learned within a month! Practice everyday for at least 1-2 hours. Counting the deck and dealing out cards

  28. Sams town. lol that's where I stayed my first time in vegas. I was only twelve at the time so I couldn't gamble, or buy hookers. But they have a cool laser show. And bowling alley.

  29. First off…..why on earth would you give a low value to a high card and a high value to low cards. I recommend that you do the opposite. I bet I could count this guy into the dirt. This is not a good video……He talks about a 10 min bet…..then a 50 max bet….that is a 1 to 5 spread……good luck winning……and I was able to count High Low in 20 minutes…..It's not that hard…..I wasn't great at it…..yet by the end of just one day I was good enough to go to the casinos…….

  30. What many do not understand is that unless there is a one or two deck game, card counting is over-rated. And even with one or two decks, the dealer keeps re-shuffling. And with a 6 or 8 deck game, counting will only give you maybe a 2% edge. The game is 75% luck anyway. No one can win if they are consistently dealt shit hands on any given day. Best bet is to stick to basic strategy and instead of counting, look for sequences. For example, if you see several low cards in succession thrown on the table, then raise your bet.

  31. Could anyone please give me a review of "card counter" Michael Morgenstern (Blackjack Army)? I am highly skeptical of his claims.

  32. Why people often say you need months of practice for high low counting system? I got used to it like in a week, am I doing something wrong?

  33. I play sixdeck. Unbalanced counts like red seven are awesome for these increased decks, Hi-lo is for one deck or team play.

    Deviation from basic strategy with card counting:

    With sixdeck games, splitting 8s all the time, will put the player at a loss in negative counts. It's better to hit against dealers Ace and 10, hoping to get the small card to make 20 or 21. When the count is positive, go for the split.

    When you have a 11 against an Ace, hitting rather than doubling should be the plan of action regardless of the count. Hit that 11 until you make a hand against that dreaded Ace. When the dealer has 10 and you have 11, double for less in negative counts, and double for full in positive counts. The dealer will make 20 more times than not during a shoe, so you have to expect there's a ten underneath, double for LESS, until count gets positive, usually midshoe.

    TRICK YOU WONT LEARN IN ANY BOOKS: When count is positive, stand on 15 versus a dealers 7, then on next bet double your wager or take insurance when dealer shows an Ace. Due to shuffle variance, there is better odds of the dealer busting against your 15, if you don't take his bust card. Ive played countless of times, standing on a 15 against a dealers 7, finding out all along, the dealer had a nuetral card below, 7,8,9, then drew the 10 that would have busted me!

    When the count is positive and the dealer has a ten or facecard against your 16, STAND, and hope the card that would have did you in busts the dealer, either way you're a goner if you take that bust card.

    There are winning streaks in blackjack when the count is in your favor, exploit with bet increases until the count falls again or you lose a hand. These progressive win sessions are periods where a player can dissolve a casinos edge, and gain wins before cashing out.

    When you split a pair of 2s and 3s in the negative counts, and you're landed a ten on both, hit one more time on your second hand to make a high hand against the dealers show card. If you don't, you risk losing both your split bets against the dealer rather than one! This strategy is also good for splits of three or four cards and neither of these hands makes a solid hand against the dealer, hit one more time on the last split hand to make or bust it. Usually you'll take the key card that would have made the dealer win over all your split cards.

    If you lose 4 times in a row, switch tables, or change up your play, by deviating from basic strategy for one hand, to mess up the dealers winning streak.

    Always and only take insurance if the count is positive and your cards equal twenty, otherwise it's a sucker bet.

  34. I am a new card counter and I have a question about being removed from a casino, first of all I know casino jurisdictions are different. The second is I'm a pretty low limit player my max bet is usually about $25 and say I doubled down the most I'll have is $50 at risk. Third is I play in Atlantic city and only visit once a few months. Finally and most importantly is I do not plan to count card for a living. All considered if I a few winning sessions over a year and the casino realized I was counting would a casino still remove a player who visits so infrequently. I guess the basic question is how far can you test a casinos patience before you are removed? Just another side question if you were removed from blackjack are you still allowed to play other casino games?

  35. What if you don’t get the cut card and someone else puts it toward the front of the deck it’s all luck if you get good penetration advice?

  36. I tried card counting once. However, I struggled to when it came to doing true count conversions. Not to mention all the basic strategy deviations you have to make. Sometimes the counts get absurd to the point where hitting on hard 17 is the right play (although if you're doing that then the player is almost certainly using a computer). The easiest way for a casino to spot a card counter is not the bet sizing as mentioned in the video, but what players do when they have 16 against a dealer 10. As whether to hit or stand depends on whether count is positive or negative.

  37. You're talking about card counting, but showing a video where they're using a continuous shuffler which totally negates counting.

  38. Card counting is legal , how can you not see the cards coming out. Reshuffling early is illegal though, you are changing the outcome of the cards

  39. Some Guaranteed ways to lose and have a frown as you lose 1. stay too long

    2. get addicted to slots.

    3. playing BJ at tables with AUTOMATIC CONSTANT SHUFFLING MACHINES and / or

    BJ TABLES THAT ONLY PAY OUT 2:1 for a BlackJack

    If you're up any amount that rings your bell, leave and leave gambling for the whole day.

    (Read all to the bottom to see my BIG tip! 😍🙄😘😍😉👍🏽‼️👍🏽👍🏽

    But don't play slots: AmericanCasino Guide has videos 'TOP 20 Slot Machine Mistakes!! '. They are too fastpaced and sneaky …Not fun and they're guaranteed to take all your $$💰💰💰…..

    So; leave if you're ahead–😉💋 👔💍👛🍛🍻🍟🍔 You've had your fun, why spoil it!!

    Enjoy your life, leave and do tourist stuff, sexxxy stuff or if you're not on vaca' just get the wash done, the car detailed, or take the kids to a movie,

    ballgame or swimming.

    Budget! Plan ahead and only take and spend your


    Forget borrowing from a friend or spouse or ATM.

    EXPERTISE at your game counts,, use a bit of brains and don't play stupidly making childish moves, in craps, or card games.

    But I know it's hard to remember the correct rules, strategies and even ( in poker ) different player types and body language stories. Why not try this stress free, non competitive fun game that requires only a little bit of patience??

    Roulette, commonly thought to be a dumb game to play, is one of the best and smartest games to play if you are PATIENT!!

    Here's the secret the casinos don't want you to know !!

    –Formerly hot numbers, ALWAYS stop hitting and cold numbers ALWAYS heat up, because over a day or two all numbers will hit evenly all around the wheel!!

    So watch carefully and note the 'hits ' for 2 hours before supper, then go eat , and note them again and get a read on which formerly cold numbers are now heating up a little………and then strike !!

    Perhaps the numbers 4-6 and 9 have been cold and are starting to hit a few times.

    With a small wager you cover 6 numbers, six SOON TO BE HOT numbers, we hope.


    This is a month later and here's an important addition!!
    Once you have chosen the warming numbers , those 6, in a bunch , it's vitally important to bet small SMALL and be very patient with them . You can't expect them to win immediately!!
    Keep betting them for a minimum of 12 spins and see if the ball hits or comes next to your numbers. Close is good!!
    It shows you your numbers will be hitting soon…… End of edit..

    ANOTHER THING TO WATCH IS JUST the % of BLACK or RED, hitting .

    — If black has hit and hit & hit 20/25 spins you don't have to be a genius to know to put bets ON RED. ( tho the bet is bigger than on inside numbers ☔️👎🏽)

    Use this slow patient ROULETTE strategy to have fun and maybe win a few bucks IN THE LONG RUN!!

    The first step is up to you. Go get a pen & paper and keep track of the 'Old Hot #'. And the 'Cold #' . Put them on a the circle on your page and then simply watch and keep track for the next couple of hours ( while you have lunch )

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