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Card Counting vs. Strategy Charts: What Is The Best Strategy For Blackjack?

Card counting is a blackjack technique that gives a significant upper hand to the players with a statistical advantage

Winning and earning what you wagered for is the best goal you can have for blackjack games. Although it may look like a game of chance, at first sight, this popular casino game is a perplexing one that reels its players in. 

It has numerous strategies to put the players on the edge of their seats. Two of the most popular strategies are card counting and strategy cards. Both of these techniques have led several people to win. So, which of these two blackjack strategies is the best one?

What Is Card Counting?

In playing any game, a strategy puts them at a greater advantage. To play blackjack online is no different. Card counting is a blackjack technique that gives a significant upper hand to the players with a statistical advantage. The players that count cards let them know if they have the advantage on the next hand or the dealer.

Players that determine their advantage will bet higher amounts. If card counting is played correctly, they can get higher odds. Moreover, there are different card counting systems, but the most popular is the Hi-Lo or High-Low strategy. It is a simple strategy that you can undertake mentally by tallying the three groups of cards. 


To explain, the card counting "tags" the cards. For Hi-Lo, cards 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 are tagged as a plus one. So, every time you see those numbers, you would add one to your count. On the other hand, a ten or ace are tagged as subtract 1. So, you reduce the amount to your running count. Meanwhile, cards 7, 8, and 9 are considered neutral and thus tagged as zero. 

After the cards are dealt, you will then start the running count. The running card works by either adding one or subtracting one to all the cards face up. In other words, you tag every card that comes out of the shoe until the cards are shuffled.

If the running count starts to decrease and goes negative, the odds of the dealers are increasing. Contrastingly, if the running count is rising, then the advantage is to the player.

Keep in mind that the essence of blackjack is the bet. Now that you are aware of the possible odds, you must then move your bets in relation to them. You need to make use of the advantage that is presented to you. Bet big if the odds are in your favor and otherwise if not.

What Are Strategy Charts?

Blackjack strategy charts are considered the most basic technique that involves charts that contain every possible scenario and the decisions you must make to perfect the results. You will only need to learn these charts and memorize them to have the advantage.


Moreover, several charts depend on the blackjack versions being played. The primary difference between all strategy charts depends on what type of blackjack game you are playing and your strategy.

What you will see in the table are key abbreviations that play an important role in this strategy:

  • H = Hit
  • S = Stand
  • P = Split
  • Ds = Double down if allowed, if not stand
  • Dh = Double down if allowed, if not hit
  • Rh = Surrender if allowed, if not hit
  • Rp = Surrender if allowed, if not split
  • Rs = Surrender if allowed, if not stand
  • Pd = Split if double after hit is allowed, if not double
  • Ph = Split if double after hit is allowed, if not hit
  • Ps = Split if double after hit is allowed, if not stand

Additionally, the dealer's card is on the first row of the chart, located with the player's total on the left side. The player's totals are also classified as soft totals, hard totals, and pair splitting. Your hands are considered soft totals when the ace is present and hard totals if the ace is absent, so you determine the total number of your cards.

After recognizing the cards on the table, you will need to find the point where the dealer's card and your card intersect, which will indicate what move to do next. Keep in mind that the chart also depends on how many decks you are playing, which significantly adjusts the strategy chart.

Card Counting vs. Strategy Charts

Card counting and strategy charts primarily differ from each other. While card counting involves mental counting, strategy charts also only need to familiarize tables.

Furthermore, both strategies are not illegal, but there are still things that are at stake. For counting cards, as long as the players do not use any devices that aid them in counting, they are clear. However, casinos have the right to deny services to people that count cards and ban players that violate them.

On the other hand, strategy charts are allowed in the betting table, and you can use these tables online or in the casino.  Keep in mind that every gambling house has a different set of rules. So, if the casino forbids it, playing with the charts will be impossible. 

This now makes card counting and strategy charts risky strategies that can kick you out and, sometimes, get you listed in their database. The establishment will be warned about your presence and reduce your chance to sit at any table to play. 

Final Thoughts

Ultimately, the best strategy is the technique that works best for you. Regardless of the type of strategy you try, card counting and strategy charts give you an advantage. So, it would be best to stick to one or two techniques to maximize your wins.