How to find true count?

Great question, and important.

True count is where all the work you do leading up to its calculation comes to fruition. It’s the only value you should work to be paying attention to.

Based on the books and stuff I’ve read online, the consensus is to eyeball it. That’s a good method, quick and practical but not very precise. The denominator being off by 1 could change a hit/stand with 16 vs 10 and make or break the bet, so it’s really important both values are accurate.

I thought the true edge calculation was the best…as it translates directly into a percentage advantage (or disadvantage) for the player that you can use to bet appropriately. You take your running count and divide it by # of decks remaining x 4 (this cuts each deck into quarters for ultimate precision).

Example: @ a six deck game with running count -19 and 4 decks remain (2 dealt) would produce the following fraction in your head:

running count / # of decks remaining X 4 = -19 / 16 = -1 3/16

So I’d interpret that as my chances are -1.2% worse, and probably flat bet and hope for a miracle.

Then there’s another way which I haven’t read about or seen be used…and that’s keeping track of all the cards that get spent through the shoe. What I mean is in 6 deck there’s ~ 300 cards. If you’re at a full 7 handed table, I’ve gathered the following approximation:

One hand = ~ half a deck (26 cards)

So instead of having to guess by eye, you can guess by numerical approximation which, I think is better. But I’m open to the contrary I just don’t know any different.

Like for example let’s say the shoe begins, so I’m always dividing the first hand by 24. I make my decision based on the true edge, and a new hand is dealt. As it comes to me, I’m dividing out of 22 now, because a half deck was spent. I make my decision, and a new hand is dealt. As it comes to me, I’m now dividing by 20 (2 full decks dealt, 4 remain), and so on. What really helped me is eventually just associating # of decks remaining with its corresponding denominator, going down by 2s. If you want to do it by quarter deck, then the denominator is n – 1 every 13 cards dealt to the tooth. In fact, I just thought of something… would this work? The first count is running, the second count to hold is 13 cards to change the denominator by one so at the start its 24. Count 13 cards down and now change the denominator by 1. Wouldn’t this completely eliminate the need for looking at the discard tray? Count 13 cards dealt to change the denominator by 1?

So, depending on the penetration, you can roughly determine the bottom end of what the denominator will be. Really what you want to do is be able to visualize the fraction at all times to compute the true edge which, if you did even decently in high school maths you should be able to simplify, within a second. For example, lets say it’s early in a shoe and 1.5 decks got dealt, and the running count is +24 (real nice start and uncommon lel). So, the fraction is 24 / 18 which simplified is 1 6/18. If not at first, I found with practice anyone can do this, 6/18 should instantly become 1/3, which is a +1.33% increase to your advantage (in this case). Damn nice I’d say haha. Gotta bet it.

But seriously, this final number should be lit up and highlighted with bright neon colors in your head, as you’re socializing and pretending like you’re not doing all of this stuff, by the time the dealer points his bony fingers to you to make a move. In this case, the 6/18 happens to divide evenly, but if you happen to be working with weirder fractions that don’t, just ball park it in terms of halves and quarters. So like a 106 / 203 you can just estimate @ .50, a 73 / [email protected] .30, etc.

I think ideally personally, I’ll be able to hold two separate counts in my head:

1.) The running count

2.) An overall count of each discarded card to accurately change the denominator in the true count conversion. But I Don’t think this is necessary if you just approximate how many hands has to pass before the denominator changes.

Hope this helps lol.

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