Selecting a counting system for blackjack

It’s important to remember that to be a consistent winner at blackjack, you must play mathematically correct (basic strategy), and add card counting to the skill of the player. With that combination, a player can consistently move the house odds to his favor. The question then becomes which counting system should one select. In my book KISS Guide to Gambling I list 55 different counting systems. Some are simple and easy to learn, while others require lots of work memorizing and high concentration while playing.

The easiest counting systems are those called “level-one”. These counts only assign values of +1 and –1 for the various cards in the deck. Multi-level systems, on the other hand, may assign values of plus or minus 2, 3 or 4 for the various cards. Another consideration to bear in mind when choosing a system is speed. You must keep the count accurately, even against a very fast dealer. It’s been found that problems with speed arise when using a multi-level count. We know that a more complex system will result in a more accurate count. However, when using a multi-level count it requires more concentration and opens more of a chance of making mistakes during play.

One simple and easy count and one that is still very powerful is called the Hi-Opt I. That system is a level-one count and can be learned very quickly and is easy to use at the table. Consider it when you go looking for a good counting system that you can handle.

2	3	4	5	6	7	8	9	X	A
0	1	1	1	1	0	0	0	-1	0

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