Blackjack - Card Counting
Blackjack Card Counting – How to Use Blackjack Card Counting Strategy
An analysis of blackjack card counting, how to use blackjack card counting systems and a brief look at some of the systems.
In blackjack if there are more of the high value cards left in the deck then the player is at an advantage and if there are more of the low value cards left in the deck then the dealer is at an advantage. Blackjack card counting is a measure of the ratio of high value cards to low value cards. Hence card counting reveals whether the next deal is expected to be in the player’s advantage or the dealer’s advantage. This enables players to decide whether they want to play the next deal or not and also whether they should place a large bet or a small bet. The card count is also instrumental in deciding whether the player should stand or hit.
Classification of Blackjack Card Counting Systems
Blackjack card counting systems can be classified in several ways. Some common classifications are given below
- Single level systems give high cards a value of –1 and low cards a value of +1. As cards are dealt a running count of the values is kept. A positive running count indicates that a higher proportion of high value cards are left in the deck and a negative running count indicates that a higher proportion of low value cards are left in the deck.
- Multi level systems assign a greater number of values to cards ranging from –3 to +3. This enables a more accurate prediction of the situation but keeping count becomes slightly more difficult because more numbers are involved.
- Balanced systems are those in which the total of all the points of the 52 cards in a deck add to zero. That is the negative and positive points cancel out. Balanced systems start from a count of 0 and work well for single deck games only. For multiple decks the running count has to be converted to a true count.
- Unbalanced systems are those in which the total of all the points of the 52 cards in a deck do not add to zero. In unbalanced systems the count starts from the number of decks being used.
List of Blackjack Card Counting Systems
- Hi Lo
- KO (Knockout)
- Hi-Opt I
- Hi-Opt II
- The Red Seven Count
- Zen Count
- Omega II
- Uston Advanced Point Count
- Revere Advanced Point Count
- Ed Thorp's Ten-Count
Hi Lo System
The Hi Lo system is the simplest card counting system. It is a single level balanced system. Cards from 2s to 6s are given a value of +1, cards from 7s to 9s are given a value of 0 and the remaining cards are given a value of –1.
The Uston Advanced Point Count
This system was described by Ken Uston in his book Million Dollar Blackjack. The points are assigned as follows. 5s are assigned a value of +3; 3s, 4s, 6s and 7s are assigned a value of +2, 2s and 8s are assigned a value of +1; aces are assigned a value of 0, 9s are assigned a value of –1 and the remaining cards having a card value of 10 are assigned a value of –3. This system is thought to be one of the most accurate systems but it is the most difficult to follow because of its asymmetric distribution.