Blackjack card counting has a great deal of misinformation about what it will do for the player, how it is done and what the system will reward a player that takes the time to learn any one of the methods that are on the Internet. Keeping the count on a six-deck shoe in Blackjack seems at first to be a daunting task. However, once a system is explained and a limited number of elements are learned, the mystery of Blackjack card counting is dispelled. Let me state upfront that the cards that make up the deck in a shoe do not need to be memorized to play a winning card counting system. The way most systems work is that each card is given a point value. A running total of the points are kept as the dealer deals the cards out. This takes hours of practice to do right and keep an accurate count of the points. A high low system is also called a plus or minus system. Couple this activity with playing correctly based on the hand dealt has to be done with little thought. It has to be an automatic response to the cards that are showing between the single dealer card and the two player cards.
The first break down of systems is which game of Blackjack do you play. Are you playing a single deck game or multi-deck shoe game? The system must accommodate one or the other as the meaning of the deck count is radically different in these two Blackjack games. It is the makeup of the existing deck as the cards are dealt that determines when the deck favors the house or the player.
The other factor on which a system to used is the playing time you routinely give to Blackjack play. Long hours are easier on the player with a simple system, while short intense sessions can use a more complicated system. Card counting takes concentration and long hours of play will ware on a players concentration. The easier the system the less ware on the player due to playing time.
Some players would do well to learn two systems that will allow them to play either single deck or multi-deck Blackjack. Another factor that card counters face is the fact that casinos are not very friendly to card counters as they only want to let dummies play and not players that can beat them in any game. Card counting is not illegal, but casinos can legally bar any player from their casino since playing is a privilege and not a right. This situation is unfair, but the casinos are in the business of winning and the gaming commission is on their site in most states.
Card counting systems are compared by their efficiency in betting and playing. It is a fact that the higher the betting efficiency, the lower the playing efficiency. The better systems are either very good for single deck or very good for multi-deck games. The value of an Ace is a big determinant in whether a system is good for one type game of the other. Aces are much more valuable in a multi-deck game. Since there are only four aces in a single deck game they are rated lower in a single deck system.
In a plus or minus system the point count for cards are listed as follows.
2, 3, 4, 5, 6 = +1
7, 8, 9 = 0
10, J, Q, K, A = -1
This system has a rating high in Betting and almost half in Player efficiency. The Ace in a multi-deck system is counted as a high card and counted as neutral in a single deck system. Another fact about playing is this when the deck is rich in high cards; the Blackjack insurance bet is worth taking. At any other time the player should refrain from this wager.
This method of card counting is not as elegant as some, but it has the advantage or being a winning system and is easy on the concentration when playing for extended sessions.