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The Counting Process
 

When counting cards, you must always begin off the top of a fresh deck, or shoe. If you're playing against a single deck, begin your count before you see the first card with the number "18" in your mind. That'll be your starting point. For other decks.............

:In double deck play; begin at "17"
:With four decks; begin at "14"
:With a six deck shoe; begin at "10"
:With eight decks; begin at "6"
This will be called your running count.

Now - every time a 4, 5, 6 or black deuce comes out, add one point to your total. And with each face-card that is dealt, subtract one point from your total. Just ignore any 3's, 7's, 8's, 9's, 10-spots, Aces or red deuces! Got that?

Okay, let's practice counting a few cards. You've just taken a seat at a table where they're dealing from a six deck shoe. The dealer is shuffling, so clear your mind and pre-load your count by putting the number "10" in your head. Place your minimum bet (because the house always has the advantage on the first hand off the top of a fresh shoe). There are two other players at the table with you.

The cards you count here are the Jack the 6, the 4 and the dealer's 5. Ignore all the other ones even though they may matter. They are not within the scope of this "entry-level" count system. Your running count would now be "12". Let's say that the next three cards to get turned up were all 8's to finish the hand -- leaving your running count still at "12". you would count the King, the Queen and the deuce of spades to put your running count at "11". Do not count the deuce of hearts or the 10! Three consecutive 8's again were then exposed as the hands played out to finish up this round. Okay now, you tell me; after all the cards below came out on the next couple of rounds, Look carefully. If you didn't get a count of "14", go back and check again. When you're playing, be sure to notice every card that gets turned up. Don't worry about missing the burn card at the beginning of the deal, or one that may get burned while the dealers are switched at your table. It's not enough to make a significant difference. Any burned card is in the same category as all those behind the plastic cut-off card; unknown and theoretically available.

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Endgames. Where the Money Awaits
 
By now you understand that in the long run the cards break even and those players who employ superior strategy take the money. This is never more true than during the last few rounds of a tournament when the tacticians wheel and deal their way past their inexperienced opponents just when it matters most. This chapter will show you a number of key strategies, including how you should take advantage of larger blinds and inexperienced players.
 
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