Strategic Insights: Efficiency of Single Deck vs. Multi-Deck Card Counting in Blackjack

Single Deck/Multi Deck Card Counting – How to Determine the True Count


In this article, we will explore the fascinating world of card counting in blackjack. While the principles of card counting remain the same for single and multi-deck games, there is an additional factor to consider when playing with multiple decks – the true count. Understanding how to calculate the true count is crucial for accurately assessing the probability of certain cards appearing in the next hand. In this fifth lesson of Season 6, we will explore single-deck and multi-deck card counting techniques and reveal the secrets behind determining the true count.

Calculating the True Count

To begin, let’s recap the concept of the running count, which you may have learned in previous videos. The running count refers to the total count of cards seen so far in the game. However, when playing with multiple decks, we need to take it a step further and calculate the true count. The true count provides a more accurate assessment of the card distribution by considering the number of decks remaining in play.

For example, imagine your running count stands at plus six, and there are three decks already in the discard tray. If you are playing at a six-deck shoe table, this means three decks are still in the game. To obtain the true count, divide your running count by the number of decks remaining. In this case, the true count would be plus two.

Betting Strategy Based on the True Count

In a multi-deck game, it is essential to adjust your betting strategy according to the true count, rather than solely relying on the running count. The true count takes into account all the remaining decks in play, offering a more accurate representation of the current game dynamics.

Referring to our earlier chart on how much to bet based on the true count, here are the guidelines:
– True count of plus one or lower: Bet one unit.
– True count of plus two: Bet two units.
– True count of plus three: Bet four units.
– True count of plus four: Bet eight units.
– True count of plus five or higher: Bet twelve units.

Consider the scenario from our previous example, where the true count was plus two. According to the chart, we should bet two units. However, if we had solely relied on the running count of plus six, we would have placed a bet of twelve units. As you can see, the difference of ten units can significantly impact your payouts throughout the blackjack session.

Complexity in Multi-Deck Games

Keeping track of the true count adds an extra layer of complexity to card counting, especially in multi-deck games. It requires more mental calculations and attention to detail. In contrast, playing a single-deck game is relatively easier due to the limited number of cards in play. However, casinos mostly feature multi-deck blackjack tables, making it crucial for aspiring card counters to master the skill of calculating and utilizing the true count effectively.


In conclusion, understanding the concept of the true count is vital for successful card counting in multi-deck blackjack games. By calculating the true count accurately, players can make informed betting decisions, maximizing their potential winnings while minimizing losses. Remember, in multi-deck games, the true count should be the guiding factor for adjusting your bet spread, rather than relying solely on the running count. Develop your skills in determining the true count, and you will enhance your chances of winning consistently at the blackjack tables.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is card counting illegal?

Card counting itself is not illegal, but casinos frown upon this strategy and may ask skilled card counters to leave. However, it is not a criminal offense, and you are not breaking any laws by using card counting techniques.

2. Can I use the true count in single-deck games?

While the true count is more commonly used in multi-deck games, it can still be utilized in single-deck games for more precision. However, it may not have as significant an impact on the betting strategy due to the smaller number of cards in play.

3. How long does it take to become proficient in card counting?

Becoming proficient in card counting requires practice, dedication, and a thorough understanding of the techniques involved. The time it takes to reach proficiency may vary from person to person, but with consistent effort, one can develop their skills over several months.

4. Can I use card counting techniques in online blackjack?

Card counting in online blackjack is virtually impossible due to the use of random number generators (RNGs) and continuous shuffling machines (CSMs). These technologies make it extremely difficult to track the count accurately.

5. Are there any legal alternatives to card counting?

While card counting is a popular strategy, there are other legal techniques that players can employ to improve their odds in blackjack. These include basic strategy, which involves making optimal decisions based on the player’s hand and the dealer’s upcard, and using betting systems such as the Martingale or Paroli. However, it is essential to remember that no strategy can guarantee consistent winnings in the long run.

Note: The author’s name, bio, and contact information are intentionally omitted.

Doug I. Jones

Doug I. Jones

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