At a high level, the Wong Halves system is a more advanced card counting
system. As you’ll see below, this system is more complicated than others because
many different card values need to be tracked. Perhaps the most challenging fact
is that some of the values are halves, which is why the name of the method
references that. Luckily, we’ve got a tip for you below on how you can use this
system in whole numbers.
On this page about the Wong Halves system, we’re going to bring you all of
the information that you need to know to use the system to count cards
successfully. Below, you’ll find basic fundamentals, how-to guides, and even
tips on how you can practice the system and avoid detection. At the end of this
guide, we’ve also provided some additional blackjack resources and FAQs.
Those of you seeking to get the most out of this page should consider reading
it from start to finish. However, if you already have some knowledge of the Wong
Halves System, or if you’re in a rush, check out the jump links below. You can
utilize these to skip ahead to the sections that matter the most to you.
Before we get into some of the more detailed things about the Wong Halves
system, we wanted first to make sure that we got you up to speed on the basics.
Below, you’ll find a collection of things that you should know about the system
at its core before we dive into how you’ll count cards using it.
Central to most card counting systems is the idea of a running count. For the
Wong Halves system, it’s a level 3 system meaning that there are three levels of
values you’ll need to track. We’ll get into more detail about this in later
sections. For now, what matters here is that each card in the deck will have an
assigned value associated with it. It’s up to you to know that card’s value and
then keep a running tally of the sum of all card values. This running tab is
called your running count.
With the Wong Halves system, you’ll always start your running count with a
value of zero. The same is true for the majority of other card counting systems
in existence. You’ll also reset your starting count to zero whenever the dealer
shuffles the cards.
Many card counting systems like the Wong Halves system require one more step
to help you decide how much to bet. This step is called a true count. The goal
of a true count is to help you adequately factor in how many other decks remain
in play. Without doing this calculation, your running count will give you a
While it seems daunting to need to convert one count into another, it’s a
relatively simple process. To change your running count into a true count, you
need to divide your running count by the number of decks you think remain in the
If your running count is at 10 and you think there are 2
decks left in the shoe, your true count would be +5 (10 divided by 2). Any time
that it’s your turn to bet, you’ll do this math to help you determine how to
size your wager.
The primary goal of the Wong Halves system is to help you know when you
should bet more or less on any given hand of blackjack. While we’ll dive into
more in-depth detail below, we wanted to provide you with a high-level
understanding of the implications of the Wong Halves system here. In short, if
your true count is negative or low, then you’ll want to wager a small amount of
money on the next hand. That’s because the system is telling you that you have a
low chance of getting blackjack.
Conversely, if your true count is a higher positive number, then you’ll want
to wager more money on the hand. With a high count, the Wong Halves system is
signaling to you that you have a good chance of getting blackjack and the higher
How to Count Cards with the Wong Halves System
Up next, we wanted to help you understand how you’ll use the Wong Halves
system to count cards. Now that you know about the basics of the system, we’ll
showcase for you how you can use it to help you gain a small advantage on the
casino when you’re playing blackjack. Up first, here’s a chart of the card
values that you’ll need to memorize to use the Wong Halves system.
Start with a count of 0
When you see an A, K, Q, J, or 10: Subtract 1 from your
When you see a 9: Subtract -0.5 from your running count
When you see an 8: Do nothing (Worth 0)
When you see a 2 or 7: Add 0.5 to your running count
When you see a 3, 4, 5, or 6: Add 1 to your running
For many folks, the idea of using halves is an added complication of the
system. Understandably, it’s much easier for many to work with whole numbers.
Luckily, we’ve got a way to help you convert the system to whole numbers. Just
multiply all values by two, and you’ll end up with the values below. Keep in
mind that if you use the chart below, your running and true counts will always
be twice as high as they should be. That means you’ll need to run another
division calculation to help you determine your true values when betting.
Start with a count of 0
When you see an A, K, Q, J, or 10: Subtract 2 from your
When you see a 9: Subtract -1 from your running count
When you see an 8: Do nothing (Worth 0)
When you see a 2 or 7: Add 1 to your running count
When you see a 3, 4, 5, or 6: Add 2 to your running
For this section, we’re going to focus on using the initial chart with the
half values. Whenever you’re ready to count cards, you’ll always start your
count of the Wong Halves system with a value of zero. Then, as each card is
dealt, you’ll add that card’s value from the chart above to your running count.
Here’s an example for you: If the dealer deals a jack first, you’ll subtract
1 from your starting count of 0. This brings your running count to a total of -1
(0 minus 1). Then, if the next card out is a 7, you’ll add 0.5 to your count,
thus bringing your running count to a total of -0.5 (-1 plus 0.5). If the next
card is a 3, you’ll add 1 to your running count, which will bring your new
running total to a value of 0.5 (-0.5 plus 1).
When it’s your turn to bet, don’t forget that you’ll have to convert your
running count into a true count so that you factor in the number of decks still
in use. As long as you’re using the initial chart above, you’ll just divide your
running count by the number of decks you estimate are still in the shoe.
Before we move on, it’s essential that we point out one final thing. Whenever
you notice that the dealer shuffles the cards, you’ll always reset your running
count to zero. Because a shuffle resets the patterns of the cards, you’ll have
to start your count all over again.
How to Size Your Bets Using the Wong Halves System
Up next, we want to help you gain an understanding of how to size your bets
using the Wong Halves system. After all, that’s the main point of any card
counting system. Keep in mind that the primary goal is to bet as little as
possible when your count is low and vice versa.
The easiest way to size your bets is to use your true count as a simple
Another way you can size your bets is through a tier system. Instead of the
example above that had you multiply your true count, you can create buckets.
You might say that if your true count is a +2 or +3 that you’ll wager
2x the table minimum. Under that same construct, if your true count is a +4 or
+5, you might wager 4x the minimum. With this type of tiered plan, you can slow
down the aggressiveness of your bets compared to the one above.
Ultimately, you should play around with sizing your bets to find the strategy
that works best for you. The two suggestions above are good starting points.
However, you’ll want to make sure that whatever you settle on has you betting
more when your counts are high.
How to Practice the Wong Halves System
Now that you understand the Wong Halves System and how you can use it to size
your bets, we wanted to give you some suggestions on how you can practice it.
Because counting cards may be foreign if you’ve never done it before, you’ll
want to practice it so that you’re proficient when it comes time to use it in a
casino. By following our steps below, you’ll be able to quickly learn how to use
the Wong Halves system when playing blackjack.
Count a Deck of Cards
The first great way to practice the Wong Halves system is to learn how to
count a deck of cards. For this round of practice, you’ll work through counting
an entire deck of cards. As each card comes out, you’ll assign it the value from
the charts above and then add that to your running count. Continue this process
until you’ve counted all 52 cards in the deck.
Start a Clock
After you practiced counting a deck using the Wong Halves system once or
twice, you’ll want to time yourself while doing it. The goal of this round of
practice is to track your improvement. Understandably, things will be a bit
slower when you first get started. However, you should be able to quickly cut
down the time it takes for you to count the whole deck. As an excellent target
to work toward, see if you can cut your initial time in half.
While counting one card at a time is a good start, there’s a better way to
make yourself even more efficient. For this round of practicing the Wong Halves
system, you’ll deal yourself two cards at a time. Then, quickly calculate the
sum of the value of those two cards. Once you have that figure, you’ll add it to
your running count. If you can get this skill dialed in correctly, you’ll be
able to cut down the time it takes for you to count a full deck of cards.
Add Some Distractions
For your next step of practicing the Wong Halves system, you’ll want to try
to distract yourself. In a casino, there are all kinds of distractions. From
lights, noises, and people, there is a ton going on that can distract you from
keeping up with your count. The goal of this step is to help you practice for
operating your counts with distractions happening around you.
An easy way to get started is to turn on the radio. Then, operate a running
count and see how long it takes you. To kick things up to another level, you can
also try turning on the television at the same time. At the end of the day,
you’ll want to know that you’re able to concentrate solely on counting cards
even if other things are going on around you.
Have a Friend Help
It’s also a good idea to have a friend help you practice the Wong Halves
System. When you’re feeling solid about your ability to do a running count, have
a friend observe you as you do your counts. As you do it, they should be
watching closely to see if your body language gives off any body tells. You can
have them keep an eye out for you making any weird facial expressions or
anything else that might signal you’re counting cards. If they catch anything
while observing you, make sure that you work to correct those body tells before
you head into a real casino.
Unless you’re some sort of mathematician, the odds are that you don’t
regularly do division in your head. For most folks, it’s been a long time.
However, since the true count conversion requires you to do division in your
head, it’s vital that you practice it to get the wheels turning again. As you’re
practicing your running counts, occasionally force yourself to do random
division calculations to get everything comfortable and dialed in.
Practice at a Casino
For this next round of practice, you’ll have to head to a casino near your
home. While you’re close to using the skills while you play, you won’t be doing
it just yet. Instead, you’ll practice counting cards while other players play
blackjack. The goal of this round is to help you count cards in a real casino
setting. To accomplish this, pick a table and count cards while standing behind
the table. You’ll want to practice this step until you’re confident that you can
keep up with everything happening in real time.
Use Low Stakes Tables at First
Once you’re feeling confident about using the Wong Halves system with our
practice tips above, it’s time for you to try your card counting skills at a
real money blackjack table. However, we think that it’s vital for you to walk
before you run. To accomplish this, be sure to start at low stakes tables. By
going this route, you’ll be able to work out any bugs and kinks without risking
loads of your money. As you feel more confident in your abilities, you can work
your way up to higher stakes.
Tips to Avoid Getting Caught
Now that you know how to practice the Wong Halves system, we wanted to give
you some tips on how you can go about using it in a casino without getting
caught. Unfortunately, casinos can ask you to leave the table or the casino if
they suspect you of counting cards. The reason for this is that casinos are at a
higher risk of losing money when folks use systems like the Wong Halves system
to get an edge on the house.
One important thing for you to know is that it’s not illegal for you to count
cards. No matter where you live in the world, it’s legal for you to practice it
as long as you’re using only your brain. At the end of the day, you’re just
using basic math in your head to help you calculate your next move when playing
Play at different casinos.
As much as possible, always play at various By doing this, you’re less
likely to get caught as a card counter since you’re playing with many
different employees in different locations.
Play with different dealers.
If you have to play at the
same casino often, be sure to mix up the dealers that you play with. By
playing with one dealer too regularly, it may allow them to catch on to your
card counting tells.
Don’t sit at one table for too long.
Another great way
to help avoid detection as a card counter is to ensure that you don’t sit at
one table too long. If you’ve been at a table for more than an hour, head
over to another one to help change things up with a different set of casino
Be sure to play at different times of the day.
do play at the same casinos regularly, be sure to change up the times that
you play. By playing at different times, you’ll end up with a smaller chance
that casino staff catches on to your card counting antics.
Limit your alcohol.
Something else that you can do to
help not get caught while counting cards with the Wong Halves system is to
limit the amount of alcohol you have. The reason for this is because alcohol
can make it difficult for you to keep track of your counts. While you don’t
have to avoid alcohol altogether, make sure that you’re not inebriated.
Tip your dealers.
Always tip your dealers when you’re
counting cards. Unfortunately, many card counters don’t, which is why you’ll
be eyed as a potential one if you’re not tossing in an occasional tip. Aim
to tip at least once every half hour.
It’s vital that you don’t think too
hard when you’re using the Wong Halves system. If you overthink, you may end
up giving off a body tell with your facial expressions.
Keep your advice to yourself.
Even if you feel like you
have a good read on how you should bet your hand, you’ll want to keep it to
yourself. By advising other players, you’ll get the attention of the dealer.
To help avoid detection, don’t advise other players.
See if you’re being watched.
While you’re always being
observed in a casino, the point here is to see if you’re being watched more
often than you usually If you feel like more eyes are on you than typical,
it could mean that the casino staff is on to you. Should you end up in this
situation, we’d suggest you stop playing for that day and try some other
time. Use a friend to see if you can identify what body tells you may have
been giving off.
Don’t bet too large.
One final way for you to fly under
the radar when using the Wong Halves system is to make sure you don’t place
bets that are too large. Our advice is for you never to bet more than 5x the
table minimum, no matter what your true count might say. By betting more
than this, you’ll get the attention of the dealer and the pit staff.
More Blackjack Resources
So that you’re fully equipped to maximize your blackjack skills, we wanted to
give you a small preview of some other resources we’ve created over the years.
Below, you’ll find a collection of some of our most popular blackjack guides.
Check these out to see how they can help you elevate your blackjack knowledge
Main Blackjack Card Counting Hub
If you’re just beginning your research into blackjack card counting, then you
don’t want to miss our main page dedicated to the subject. Below, you’ll find a
link where you can learn all about card counting. Also, you’ll gain exposure to
several other forms of methods that you might consider using other than the Wong
Halves system. Just click the link below to visit this page now.
Counting cards in blackjack using systems like the Wong Halves system is a
more advanced blackjack strategy. If you’ve ended up on this page with little to
no experience playing the game, then you’ll want to hold off for a bit on trying
to learn how to count cards. A better idea is to head over to our blackjack
strategy guide for beginners. On this page, we’ll get you filled in on all of
the terms and basics you need to know to play the game. Once you’ve got some
experience playing, you can always come back to this page to learn about how to
If you’re a blackjack fan, you should consider playing online if you’re not
already. By playing blackjack online, you’ll enjoy the massive bonuses and
convenience of being able to play from anywhere at any time using your tablet or
smartphone. Using the link below, you can check out our top picks for the best
online casinos for blackjack. If you’re going to play online, make sure that you
use one of these online casinos so you have one of the safest and best
Before we conclude things, we didn’t want to leave you without a small batch
of frequently asked questions about the Wong Halves system. If you’re still in
search of some answers, we hope this section will assist you. Just click on a
question if you’d like to view the answer to it.
Will this system help me get an edge when playing online blackjack?
If you’re playing a traditional form of blackjack, the Wong Halves system
won’t be any help to you. The same is true for all of the other card counting
methods out there. That’s because the majority of traditional online blackjack
games use automatic shuffling after every hand. When that happens, it’s
impossible to track and develop patterns with the cards.
However, if you’re planning to play live dealer blackjack online, you might
be able to use the Wong Halves System. The reason for this is that with a live
dealer format, you’re able to see the full table and the shuffler. As long as
the table isn’t utilizing a continuous shuffling machine, you should be able to
use this method to help you count cards while playing online.
Can I get in trouble using the Wong Halves system?
If you’re unaware, casinos don’t like it when people employ card counting
systems when playing blackjack. That’s because when used properly, systems like
the Wong Halves System can increase the chances of a casino losing money on that
player. Therefore, you’ll want to count cards under the radar so that you’re not
flagged as a potential card counter. If you skipped the section above about how
not to get caught, be sure to check that out now.
From a legal standpoint, it is not illegal to count cards when playing
blackjack. As long as you’re only using your mind to track the counts, you can’t
get in trouble with the law. Just keep in mind that casinos can ask you to leave
if they suspect you are counting cards based on their house rules.
How will I know if this is the card counting system I should use?
If you’ve not investigated any other card counting systems yet, we’d suggest
you start there before attempting the Wong Halves system. The good news is that
there are many different card counting methods out there. What’s vital is that
you find the one that’s the best fit for you. As you look into your options, aim
to find the card counting system that is easy for you to learn and implement.
What matters most is that you can remember how to use it without any major
Does the using the Wong Halves system mean I’ll always win?
No. By using this card counting system, it does not guarantee that you’ll
always win. The same is true for all other card counting systems in existence.
However, use of the Wong Halves system can help you gain an edge on the casino.
That means that when used correctly, you have a higher chance of making money
when playing for an extended period of time.
Is this the best blackjack card counting system?
The Wong Halves system is an excellent card counting system. What’s fantastic
about this one is that it’s more accurate than many other methods out there
thanks to how detailed it is. However, this system isn’t the easiest one to
learn out there with all of the values that have to be tracked. If you feel like
you’re looking for a less challenging one to learn and use, check out others
like the Hi-Lo system. With easier to learn systems, you’ll lose some of the
edge over the house if you can use the system properly compared to the Wong
Halves system. However, you’ll still be better off than using no system at all.
If you feel like you can learn the Wong Halves system and use it in real
life, you’ll benefit from using one of the strongest card counting methods
available. While it may take a little longer to learn than others, it’s well
worth it thanks to the added accuracy of this system over many others. For those
of you that are new to our website, be sure to check out some of the other
blackjack guides that we have here. This page is just the tip of the iceberg
with everything we have to provide you. Thanks for stopping by and best of luck
with your future use of the Wong Halves system.
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