If you play blackjack, why aren’t you counting cards? It’s a proven mathematical way to eliminate the house edge, and some players are so good at it that they make money in the long run. Is it because you think counting cards is too hard or you have to be a mathematician to do it?
I’ve got good news for everyone who plays blackjack that isn’t counting cards yet. The first thing is that the statement above about using card counting to break even or beat blackjack is true. You can use counting to win playing blackjack.
The next piece of good news is that it’s much easier to get started as a counter than almost everyone believes. You can use one of the simplest counting systems ever designed to break even or better, and I can teach you how to use it in just a few minutes. You don’t have to be a gifted math student or anywhere close to a genius.
If this sounds too good to be true, just take a few minutes to read the rest of this article. I’m getting ready to prove it to you.
The final piece of good news is that, once you start counting cards at any level, it’s easy to keep learning and working until you’re counting at an advanced level and beating blackjack on a regular basis. Everything you need to know to get started is included below.
1 – Ace Five Count
The ace five card counting system is as simple as a card counting system can get. Anyone can learn how to use it in just a few minutes, and once you start using it, you can eliminate the house edge every time you play. It’s easier to learn how to use than basic blackjack strategy.
You can use the ace five count in any blackjack game, but if you want to benefit from it as much as possible, you need to do two things. The first thing is either get a blackjack strategy card and use it or memorize basic strategy.
The other thing you have to do is find blackjack games with good rules. The best games have as many of the following rules as possible. You won’t find games with all of these rules often, but you want games that have most of them.
- Dealer stands on soft 17
- Can double after splitting
- Can split three or more times
- Blackjack pays 3:2 (never play at a table that pays less than 3:2 for a natural blackjack)
- Can double down on any two cards
- Can double down on any hand even after hitting
The ace five blackjack system is based on the fact that the ace is the most valuable card for the player and the five is the worst card for the player. When a five is removed from a deck, it increases the player’s chance to win. This effectively lowers the house edge.
When an ace is removed from the deck of cards, it hurts the player’s chance to win and raises the house edge. Using these two pieces of information, you can track the aces and fives and use the information to alter your bet amounts. This can eliminate the house edge.
Here’s how the ace five card counting system works:
You start with a count of zero. If you don’t like to work with negative numbers, you can start with a count of 10, and adjust the count where you raise your bets by 10. Every time you see a five, you add one to your count, and every time you see an ace, you subtract one from your count.
It doesn’t matter if the ace or five is in your hand, another player’s hand, or in the dealer’s hand. You add or subtract for every five and ace that gets played.
You start with a base bet amount, and when the count reaches +2 (or 12 if you started at 10), you double your bet amount. Every time the count goes up, you double your bet again, and when it goes down, you reduce your bet accordingly. Any time the count is at +1 or below, you bet your base amount.
The only downside to the ace five card counting system is that it’s a relatively weak system compared to more advanced systems. It will help you overcome the house edge, but it’s not going to do much better than allow you to play a breakeven game. Of course, playing breakeven blackjack is better than losing.
2 – Speed Count
The next system is the speed count, which was developed by Frank Scoblete and is included in a couple of his blackjack books. The basic way to use the speed count is to track low cards and compare the volume of them to the number of hands that are dealt on each round.
The reason I include it in this article is because it’s an easy system to learn. It’s not quite as easy to learn as the ace five count, but it’s easier than most advanced counting systems.
I’m not going to spend a great deal of time with the speed count here, because it’s also a weak system compared to many others.
In other words, most blackjack players should go directly from the ace five count system to a more advanced system like the KO, Red 7, or Hi Lo. I cover the KO in the next section.
If you want to learn more about the speed count system, you can follow this link. Here are the basics of the system before you move on to the next section.
You track all of the cards valued two to six that are dealt every round and subtract the number of hands that are dealt on the round. You then use this number to adjust your overall count and adjust your bet size based on the running count, just like in the ace five system.
3 – KO or Knock Out
If you understand how to use the ace five and speed count systems, you’re ready to learn the KO system. This isn’t a system you find on most pages designed for normal blackjack players, but it’s not much harder than learning how to use basic strategy. In my experience, most regular blackjack players can quickly learn how to use it.
If you look over the KO system and don’t care for it, the Red 7 and Hi Lo systems are also good systems you can learn how to use. Any of these three systems teach you how to make money playing blackjack.
The difference between simple systems like the first two on this page and advanced systems is the number of cards you track. In the ace five system, you track two cards. In the speed count, you track five cards. In the KO system, you track 11 cards. Every time you see any card from a two to seven, you add one to your count and every time you see a 10 to ace, you subtract one from your count.
Once you learn how to track a few cards, it only takes a little bit of practice to learn how to track more. You don’t need to memorize the cards. You simply subtract or add one at a time to your count.
The main advantage that the KO system, and the Red 7 system, has over the popular Hi Lo system is you don’t have to calculate your count based on the number of decks remaining during play. This is handled by starting your count at a set number based on the number of decks before you start counting.
Don’t worry about all of this right now, because you don’t have to worry about it unless you learn how to use the Hi Lo system.
In a single deck game, you start your count at 0. In a double deck game, you start your count at -4. In a six-deck shoe game, you start your count at -20, and in an eight-deck shoe game, you start at -28.
When the count is at 0 or negative, you make your minimum bet. When the count gets to +1, you double your bet. You keep doubling your bet as the count goes up until you reach your maximum bet amount.
You can start using the ace five system today. It’s an easy way to play a breakeven blackjack game against the casino, and anyone can learn how to use it. Once you’re comfortable using the ace five, start learning how to use the KO system. If you want to take it slow, you can learn the speed count before using the KO. But if you can use the speed count, you can use the KO, and it’s a better overall system.