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Card counting tricks!

Posted by Michael Dalton on 14 April 1998, at 12:54 p.m., in response to K.O. ?, posted by mike on 14 April 1998, at 9:39 a.m.

Yes, you should be able to count down a deck of cards in under 30 seconds. My best time is 17 seconds with no errors, however, most days I can count a deck down in about 20 seconds.

The reason this is possible is because I don't "count" every card. When I have a deck in my hand (face-up) I use my right hand to fan through the deck. I attempt to group cards into small bunches. If I notice a high and a low card these cards cancel out and my brain actually does not have to go through any mental arithmetic. Whenever I see several small cards in a row I wait until I find the "last" small card and then I add 1 number. Same thing for high cards in a row. I also try to find ways to "cancel" cards out. Neutral cards are the easiest cards to count -- you just ignore them.

One last bit of advice - when your count is negative don't say the word "minus" or "negative". These words are way too long and take too much time to say. Just say "mi"! Also, I hope you are not saying "plus" when your count is positive!

Anyway, that's basically it. It just takes practice. I wasn't counting a deck down in less than 30 seconds in a few weeks, but I did manage it within a month or so. I use the Hi-Lo count but the principle is the same for any counting system.


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