Running Count vs True Count

As cards are constantly dealt by the dealer, the count changes. In single-deck games, in which the cards are dealt face down, it’s often difficult to know the exact count, since we have to surmise what players hold by their actions. So, generally, in single-deck games (and most double-deck games where the cards are dealt face down) our count is based on the last round of play.

The running count is easier to use in multiple-deck games. Remember now, in our count we gave a +1 to all small cards 3-6 dealt out previously, and a -1 to all 10-value cards previously dealt. Suppose we’re now at a crowded six-deck game in Atlantic City, and we see the following hands dealt face up.

The dealer shows a 7. A6, 9J, 3-4, 8-7, 5-5, 2Q, KJ. Suppose this is the first round. We can take a quick count here and get a +1 reading. Let’s assume further that after all the players and the dealer has acted on his hand, the count is 0, absolutely neutral, and we make a minimum bet of one unit.

For our next bet we must use this information of a neutral bet. As new cards are being dealt out, we can say that our running count is 0. Perhaps after the next round of play, our running count is -4. Again a minimum bet is made.

There’s no problem as long as the deck is minus or neutral. We won’t raise our bet at all, but keep it at a minimum. But when the deck gets to a plus area, the true count gives us a quick and accurate fix on the relative value of the cards remaining in the deck. Here’s how the true count is made.