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True Count

What is 'True Count'?

True count is a term used to describe the score assigned to a game of blackjack for players who are card counting. This form of advantage gambling requires players to assign a numerical value to each card - usually -1, 0 or 1. As cards are dealt from the shoe, a 'running count' will be kept, with each card adding or subtracting to the count. For example, if the first cards to be dealt were 2, 6, Q, 7, 3, 5, K, 8, 5, 6, 2 then the running count would be 1 +1 -1 +0 +1 +1 -1 +0 +1 +1 +1, giving a total of 5. In order to obtain the 'true count', this number is then divided by the number of remaining decks - if there are three decks remaining, the count would be 5 divided by 3 - giving 1.66. The higher the true count, the more favorable the game becomes to the player, and thus higher bets are used (with lower bets when the count is low) to gain an advantage.

'True Count' Explained

As card counting techniques became more well known to casinos and pit bosses, they started to use a greater number of decks in blackjack games to reduce the advantage of card counters. The true count attempts to make up for this by taking this into account, although it does still greatly reduce the advantage the player has over the casino.Card counting, while not illegal, is frowned upon by casinos and floor staff and pit bosses will often prevent players from playing blackjack or even ask them to leave the casino or ban them if they are caught. As a result, many card counters attempt to disguise the fact they are betting according to a system by a variety of means.