Counting cards in Texas Holdem is much different than counting cards in blackjack. The key difference lies in the fact that the deck isn’t shuffled after every hand in a blackjack game, but it is during Texas Holdem. This shuffling prevents Holdem players from knowing card positions at a given moment. However, players can still determine which cards will give them the best chance of winning. Though this strategy may help a player win games that they may have otherwise not won, it isn’t a great strategy for every type of poker game—if you’ve seen Rounders with Matt Damon, you’ll know that blackjack and card-counting don’t mix!
Counting cards during a Texas Holdem game involves a player calculating the probability that their strategy will work based on (1) the number of cards that are left in a suit and (2) the number of cards that have yet to be seen. When learning how to count outs, it is important for a player to avoid counting cards twice, also known as “double counting.” It’s actually easy to make this error, as you are likely not 100 percent sure which cards your opponents have, and these calculations must be made in your head. The only way for a player to gauge the cards of their opponent is to observe their reactions, words, previously played cards, the situations in which they played those cards, and how much money they are betting. If you’re good at reading bluffs, you’ll likely excel at this part!
There are rules to how much money a player should bet when counting cards. These rules will maximize the profit for the player while they build a winning hand throughout the game. To calculate this pot equity, you’ll have to follow the “Rule of Two and Four” dring the flop and river stages of a round. During the flop stage, a player should multiply the number of outs they have by four, whereas during the river stage a player should multiply their outs by two. These figures tell the player how much equity they have. The resulting number, in turn, determines your probability of getting that equity, which tells you whether you should play it safe, bluff, or take a risk.
Fortunately, counting cards isn’t illegal in Texas Holdem. In fact, it’s a great supplemental strategy to give you a leg-up over skilled opponents. So long as you can do quick math in your head and have a solid grasp of probabilities in relation to cards, you’ll be able to calculate pot equity, outs, and odds with a perfect poker face!