Zen Count card counting strategy

The Zen Count is definitely one of my favorite card counting strategies. It was developed by the brilliant Arnold Snyder and he first published details around it in his book “Blackbelt in Blackjack”. What stands out for me is how he has developed a number of really accurate strategies as they are complex enough, but they are actually relatively easy to learn and aply when playing.

It is safe to say that the Zen Count is not the most difficult strategy you will come across, nor is it the easiest. It fits in between in terms of how difficult it is to learn. Something that should be remembered always however is that you should not assume because you have started learning about a strategy that you will become invincible instantly. It requires a lot of practice and most of this you can do at home before you even go to a regular casino. You can also practice by playing online.

The basics of the Zen Count card counting strategy

Before we get into the finer details, you should always remember that you should base your decisions while playing on the blackjack basic strategy. It would cover you in terms of ensuring you play optimally and make the right plays. Where the card counting comes in is in helping you determine when you should change your bets to get the maximum possible wins, while minimizing losses.

Something that really helps in keeping the Zen Count relatively simple is the fact that it is a balanced counting strategy. This means that you will always start your count on a 0 after the cards are shuffled. If you work through all of the cards in the deck and count according to the values of the cards (as in the Zen Count strategy chart below) you will end on 0 again. You can do this at home with a single deck of cards to help you learn the strategy by heart.

When playing using the Zen Count card counting strategy you should employ a running count. This means that you should count every card that gets dealt and either add to your count or subtract from your count. Bet sizes then depend on the value your count is at. If you run into a negative count (-1 and lower) you should bet the smallest amount allowed. On the other side of the scale if the cards are adding up to a positive count (+2 and higher) you should increase your bets. The higher the positive count, the higher you can take your bets.

Non-USPlayers OnlyALLPlayers (incl. US)

Colosseum
750 Euro Free

Aladdin's Gold
200% offer x 7 days

Lucky Emperor
10 Euro Free, 100 Euro match

All Star Slots
100% up to $787

Yukon Gold
1,000 Euro, 1 Hour to play

BuzzLuck
100% up to $868

The card values for the Zen Count strategy

As you can see from the count below Mr. Snyder didn’t try and over complicate the count. The values of the cards were however calculated to ensure as much accuracy and effectiveness as possible without making it too difficult.

Zen Count card counting strategy chart
Zen Count card counting strategy chart

The values are not too wide and confusing at all. What I really like is how they took the Aces into consideration as well by giving it a value of -1. With so many other card counting strategies players often need to keep a separate count going for the Aces. This often becomes a bit confusing and miscounts are the result as you try and keep to many balls up in the air.

Something often employed to make the counting more accurate and eliminate small fluctuations in the count is to work out the true count as you go along. You should always keep your running count going when playing blackjack and you are using the Zen Count. You can however improve your accuracy by determining a true count through taking your count and multiplying it by the number of decks you think are still in play.

This will give you a VERY clear picture of whether or not the odds are in your favor. You will still be able to stay profitable when just using the Zen Count using a running count. I would suggest however that you get a hang of the true count as it can really just improve the overall strength of the strategy.

As with other strategies, we suggest that you put in as much practice as possible so that you can ensure you have a solid grasp of the strategy before moving to bigger limit games. One of the best places to get in some practice are at the online casinos as they offer such a wide variety of blackjack games and it is by far the most convenient option.

ALLPlayers (incl. US)Non-USPlayers Only

High Noon
$60 Free, 200% bonus

Captain Cooks
500 Euro, 1 Hour to Play

Lucky Red
400% up to $4,000 bonus

Golden Tiger
1,500 Euro, 1 Hour to play

Club World
100% up to $777

Vegas Country
245 Euro, Double match bonus

Wong Halves Card Counting Strategy

The Wong Halves is definitely one of the trickier card counting strategies you’ll come across. It is every effective and definitely not a bad option if you are a more experienced card counter though. We would suggest however to start with one of the simpler level 1 card counting strategies if you are new to counting. If you like this one then you can give it a go after you have built up some experience.

The count in this strategy is put together a bit strange and it might confuse more experienced card counters as well. That is why we look at the original version as well as an alternative way to use the same values, but which would be a lot easier to use while playing. But let’s go back a bit and start at the beginning…

Counting cards in general

There has been so many misconceptions created around card counting and we would just like to set the record straight on this. Unlike some movies depict it and the half truths you’ve hear about it, you won’t need to memorize every card in the deck(s) and the sequence of those cards. If you could, that would be amazing, but it is not needed at all.

There are various card counting strategies that we discuss on gamblingcastle.com and all of them have a few things in common:
1. You will count the cards based on the values each card carries for that specific strategy (see the strategy charts below)
2. You will take all of the cards dealt into account when you keep your count
3. You will increase your bets if you have a positive count
4. You will decrease your bets if you have a negative count

There are various levels of card counting strategies you can read about. They start with level 1 strategies that don’t have a great variance in the values of each card and it is ideal for new card counters. On the other side of the spectrum there are level 3 and 4 card counting strategies which have MANY card value variances and is a lot more complex to use. Although the level 1 strategies are good, the level 3 and 4 strategies are better and more accurate.

ALLPlayers (incl. US)Non-USPlayers Only

High Noon
$60 Free, 200% bonus

Captain Cooks
500 Euro, 1 Hour to Play

Lucky Red
400% up to $4,000 bonus

Golden Tiger
1,500 Euro, 1 Hour to play

Club World
100% up to $777

Vegas Country
245 Euro, Double match bonus

How does the Wong Halves card counting strategy work?

The principles discussed above also apply to the Wong Halves strategy. Most other count values are whole numbers, for example +1 or -1. With Wong Halves things get a bit more complicated.

The Wong Halves card counting strategy chart:
Wong Halves card counting strategy chart

Even if you are a bit more experienced at counting, this one would look complicated and the half counts make it difficult to keep up the count easily. The reason why we are discussing it however is because of its betting correlation which is at 99%. This means that it is extremely accurate at estimating a player’s advantage.

How to use the count

As with most unbalanced counting strategies you will work with a combination of both a running count and a true count. The running count is easier as you will just either add or subtract from your count with every new card dealt.

The true count will give you a bit more accuracy and you get the true count by dividing the running count by the number of decks that still need to be dealt. This makes a difference in that you can more accurately determine whether your count is really a strong positive count or not.

To make things a little easier, we have put together an alternative count. We used the original count and simply doubled each of the values to make the half numbers whole.

The ALTERNATIVE Wong Halves card counting chart:
alternative wong halves card counting chart

It is an interesting variation on some of the more popular versions of card counting. You are however better served, in my opinion using one of the less confusing strategies combined with the basic strategy. You are however very welcome to give it a bash at one of the online casinos, which is probably not a bad idea as you will get the chance to play lower limits games if you are experimenting and change your bets around like you want to.

Non-USPlayers OnlyALLPlayers (incl. US)

Colosseum
750 Euro Free

Aladdin's Gold
200% offer x 7 days

Lucky Emperor
10 Euro Free, 100 Euro match

All Star Slots
100% up to $787

Yukon Gold
1,000 Euro, 1 Hour to play

BuzzLuck
100% up to $868

Uston SS Card Counting Strategy

In my opinion the Uston SS card counting strategy might be the best one that Ken Uston developed. It is true that he had a bit of help from Sam Case and Arnold Snyder, but it still carries his name… and rightfully so.

The Uston SS was however not developed for anyone except the experienced blackjack players in mind. It is a level 3 card counting strategy which is a level which is reserved for the most experienced of counters. The “SS” does stand for “strongest and simplest” and even though it is one of the strongest options you will come across it is definitely not the simplest to learn… and quite far from it.

How the Uston SS count strategy works

It starts out simple with players having to establish a running count. Based on the running count you would bet more on a positive count, to maximize on possible winnings and you would drop your betting levels if the count went down into negative territory.

The Uston SS count strategy is an unbalanced counting strategy. In an unbalanced count the count would not begin or end on a 0, where as it would if you were playing using a balanced count. So to determine the starting count you would multiply the number of decks used in the game with -2. So it would be -16 for an 8 deck blackjack game and -12 for a 6 deck game.

The biggest power of a system such as this is that you won’t be phased by small swings in the counts. This would save you money you would have otherwise used a little more unwisely. If you do however get into the positive count, the can ensure a minimum of 1% edge over what the house has… and it has the potential to get better.

The card values for the Uston SS count strategy

Let’s look at how the cards are scored for this one. Below is our chart showing the different values assigned to each of the cards you’ll use in a blackjack game.

Uston SS card counting strategy chart
Uston SS card counting strategy chart

For most blackjack players who look at this chart it would look like quite a daunting chart. The value in getting this count right outweighs the down side quite a lot…

Non-USPlayers OnlyALLPlayers (incl. US)

Colosseum
750 Euro Free

Aladdin's Gold
200% offer x 7 days

Lucky Emperor
10 Euro Free, 100 Euro match

All Star Slots
100% up to $787

Yukon Gold
1,000 Euro, 1 Hour to play

BuzzLuck
100% up to $868

Ace reckoning for the Uston SS counting strategy

Some good news is the fact that you don’t need to keep a separate count of the Aces in the deck. This is because it is already assigned a value of -2 as seen in the chart above.

If you are however getting comfortable with using the Uston SS card counting strategy, you should definitely consider tracking the Aces. This is because there is huge value in knowing if Aces are likely to come at crucial times and you can then bet more accurately to get the best possible return on your bets.

If you want to practice playing with the Uston SS card counting strategy, I suggest you give the online casinos a go. They offer a decent range of blackjack games to choose from with various limits, including some great low limit games for practice. It is a complex method and it will take you some time to get better at it and really to start using it effectively, so practice is definitely going to be necessary.

ALLPlayers (incl. US)Non-USPlayers Only

High Noon
$60 Free, 200% bonus

Captain Cooks
500 Euro, 1 Hour to Play

Lucky Red
400% up to $4,000 bonus

Golden Tiger
1,500 Euro, 1 Hour to play

Club World
100% up to $777

Vegas Country
245 Euro, Double match bonus

Uston Advanced Point Count Strategy

There are card counting strategies and then there are card counting strategies that would kill anything in its path. The Uston Advanced Point Count card counting strategy is definitely one of the most powerful and efficient strategies you could ever hope to learn.

As the name suggests it was also devised by the great Ken Uston and documented in his book “Million Dollar Blackjack”. Where we looked at the much simpler Uston Advanced Plus Minus strategy (Uston APM) in the previous post, this one is an animal of a different color.

The Uston APM was developed with simplicity in mind. Where the simplicity of learning to count using this strategy was found wanting was in how efficient it was. On the other hand the Uston APC is exceptionally efficient and very powerful, but quite hard to learn and very hard to master.

The basics of the Uston Advanced Point Count strategy

Let’s start with a bit of good news. There is no extra difficulty added to how the strategy is implemented. In fact the Uston Advanced Point Count works just like all of the other card counting strategies out there.

It works on a running count based on values assigned to the respective cards in the deck. This can result in either a positive or a negative count as you add and subtract the values of the respective cards. When you start building up a positive count it is always good to bet more and it is best to bet less when the count starts going into the negative. It is even better if you drop down to the minimum bet allowed on the table.

With many of the most accurate card counting strategies you will find that they are unbalanced. This is where the Uston APC differs from the rest as it is a balanced count. With the balanced count you will always start your count on a 0 after the deck has been shuffled.

If you want to test it for yourself, just use the Uston APC strategy chart below and count the cards out according to the given values. Once you have shuffled the cards you can start dealing them one by one and count them. As you get to the last card, you will find that it will end on a 0 as well. This by the way is probably the best way to learn the count associated with the Uston Advanced Point Count.

You can start off by looking at the count as you work through the cards. Then force yourself to use it less and less. Each time you end on a 0 you can then look at the strategy chart a little less until you know it by heart. You should practice in this way from time to time to keep it fresh in your mind and to really understand it and count with ease.

ALLPlayers (incl. US)Non-USPlayers Only

High Noon
$60 Free, 200% bonus

Captain Cooks
500 Euro, 1 Hour to Play

Lucky Red
400% up to $4,000 bonus

Golden Tiger
1,500 Euro, 1 Hour to play

Club World
100% up to $777

Vegas Country
245 Euro, Double match bonus

Uston Advanced Point Count card values

Where we just discussed the easy part in the previous few paragraphs it is now time to get down to the real meat of this counting strategy… sadly also the much more difficult part of it. It will most definitely be a bit much for a novice counter, but if you have some experience counting cards it might come to you a little easier.

Uston APC card counting strategy card values:
Uston advanced point count strategy chart

The first obvious thing about the chart is that the range of card values is much wider than most others. This wider range makes it a lot more difficult to keep the running count while playing the game. That is why practicing the count as discussed earlier can really help you a lot.

When you have smaller indices you work with it makes the count a lot easier also because card cancel each other out a lot. With this level of complexity it happens a lot less, so you need to pay a lot more attention to the values of the cards coming out and your brain will have to calculate constantly.

Why the Ustan APC is such a difficult card counting strategy

The first reason why the Uston Advanced Point Count strategy is so difficult is that it makes use of the true count in addition to the running count (as if it wasn’t difficult enough already). Although the true count adds a lot of complexity to the counting strategy it has the value of adding a lot more accuracy in determining how favorable the deck has actually become.

It really does improve the efficiency of the Uston Advanced Point Count and is worth trying to master. The math that goes into the true count is however not that difficult to understand in theory. All you need to do to get to the true count is to divide the running count by the number of decks remaining in play. It sadly isn’t as simple as that and you will quickly find that out as you play.

This is where it becomes quite a good idea to get in some practice. To improve your skills when using the Uston APC, you can try your hand at online blackjack. You would be able to try it with the chart readily available as well as having instant access to large range of low limit blackjack games which are ideal for practice purposes.

Non-USPlayers OnlyALLPlayers (incl. US)

Colosseum
750 Euro Free

Aladdin's Gold
200% offer x 7 days

Lucky Emperor
10 Euro Free, 100 Euro match

All Star Slots
100% up to $787

Yukon Gold
1,000 Euro, 1 Hour to play

BuzzLuck
100% up to $868

Moving on to the second hurdle: the Aces. You’ll notice that the Aces aren’t counted if you look at the Uston APC strategy chart above. So you will need to keep a count of the Aces. To start this side count you need to first multiply the number of decks in the game with 4 (for each of the Aces in a standard deck of cards). So for a 6 deck game it would be 24. As Aces are dealt you then need to make sure that you subtract them from the total.

As the game moves on and you are getting favorable counts of 3+ and higher the side count of the Aces really becomes valuable. Knowing when you can expect to see Aces come out will help you in determining your bet sizes, which in turn will help you to get the best out of a strong position .

So is it worth all this effort?

If you want a very powerful and accurate card counting strategy, then “yes” the Uston Advance Point Count strategy is the one for you. You just need to remember that it would take quite a bit of practice to really master this strategy, but if you keep at it, it will come in time.

Uston Advanced Plus Minus Card Counting Strategy

The Uston Advanced Plus Minus card counting strategy (or Uston APM as it is widely known) is most probably the card counting strategy which introduced card counting to the masses. Ken Uston wrote about the method in his book “Million Dollar Blackjack” back in 1981. The scary thing is before the rise to fame of the Uston APM, many blackjack players didn’t even know about card counting at all!!!

The biggest flaw in the Uston Advanced Plus Minus card counting strategy is that it was originally designed for use with either single or double deck blackjack games. Back at the time it was introduced, these types of games were still easy to come by. Things have however changed quite a bit and it is quite rare to find a blackjack game using only one or two decks anywhere but in online casinos.

Although most card counters have stopped using this card counting strategy as a result of this problem, it did evolve into the popular Uston APC (Advanced Point Count). This is still commonly used globally by many blackjack players.

It might not be the most up to date system, but did lay the foundation for many of the other card counting strategies out there. You can also use it to practice online to get a hang of card counting in general. From there you can then move on to one of the other strategies and use it to play at higher stakes.

Non-USPlayers OnlyALLPlayers (incl. US)

Colosseum
750 Euro Free

Aladdin's Gold
200% offer x 7 days

Lucky Emperor
10 Euro Free, 100 Euro match

All Star Slots
100% up to $787

Yukon Gold
1,000 Euro, 1 Hour to play

BuzzLuck
100% up to $868

The basics of the Uston Advanced Plus Minus card counting strategy

What is nice about the strategy is its simplicity. It offers players the chance to learn how to count cards easily as it is a level 1 card counting strategy. This means that the Uston APM only has card values of -1, 0 and +1 to contend with, which makes things a lot easier. when using the Uston Advanced Plus Minus strategy, you will play using a running count.

Ken Uston developed a number of card counting strategies, but the Uston Advanced Plus Minus is the only balanced counting strategy he ever developed (with the focus on simplicity). A balanced card counting strategy will always start at 0 and end in 0.

Using the Uston Advanced Plus Minus chart below, you can try it out at home (by the way, this is also the best way to practice using the strategy). You simply take a deck of cards and shuffle it. As with using the system in a casino, you will start your count on 0 after the cards are shuffled. Using the chart below you will then count according to the respective values while placing the cards face up one after the other. When you run out of cards you will be back at a 0 count again.

What a balanced counting strategy like this offers in simplicity, it lacks a bit in accuracy. With the balanced strategies it is easier to fall for a small swing in the positive count and bet too much at the wrong time. So use it with care.

The same betting rules apply however to this strategy and you should keep your bets low if the count is negative. If it however goes into the positive, you should increase your bet sizes. It is better if you start increasing it only if you have a slightly higher count of maybe 2+ or 3+.

Card values used with the Uston Advanced Plus Minus counting strategy

It is extremely easy to use and to learn. The card values just fall into that narrow window ranging between +1, 0 and -1.

Uston Advanced Plus Minus Card Counting Strategy Chart
Uston APM card counting strategy chart

On both sides of the scale there are five cards respectively that have a +1 and -1 count. This goes along with the three cards that carry the 0 value.

Is it still worth using the Uston APM?

Yes and No. If you have never counted cards before, then it is a resounding “Yes”. It will give you the feel of counting cards without making it too complex. You will learn how to read the game and start placing bets according to the count.

It is a resounding “No” however if you have been counting cards for some time. The Uston Advanced Plus Minus card counting strategy offers one of the lowest edges of any card counting strategy.

If you want to get in some practice it would be best to try your hand online. There are many options to choose from… many low limit blackjack games… and you can play whenever you have a few minutes available. So it is a very convenient option.

ALLPlayers (incl. US)Non-USPlayers Only

High Noon
$60 Free, 200% bonus

Captain Cooks
500 Euro, 1 Hour to Play

Lucky Red
400% up to $4,000 bonus

Golden Tiger
1,500 Euro, 1 Hour to play

Club World
100% up to $777

Vegas Country
245 Euro, Double match bonus

Unbalanced Zen II card counting strategy

The Unbalanced Zen II card counting strategy is an intermediate level strategy. It has its origins in two other popular card counting strategies, namely the Zen Count and the Revere Point Count.

It is classified as a level 2 card counting strategy, which means that the range of card values you will come across while counting will be in this range: +2, +1, 0, -1 and -2. It might look a little complex at first, but is still considered an intermediate system. The unbalanced count also makes the Zen II card counting strategy a bit easier to learn.

The count values for the Unbalanced Zen II card counting strategy

The card values differ from a number of other card counting strategies in that it gives a value to both the 2 and the Ace.

The Unbalanced Zen II card counting strategy chart:
unbalanced zen II card counting strategy chart

ALLPlayers (incl. US)Non-USPlayers Only

High Noon
$60 Free, 200% bonus

Captain Cooks
500 Euro, 1 Hour to Play

Lucky Red
400% up to $4,000 bonus

Golden Tiger
1,500 Euro, 1 Hour to play

Club World
100% up to $777

Vegas Country
245 Euro, Double match bonus

The Zen II card counting strategy offers great efficiency and a good correlation of 97%. Many players who enjoy using the KO card counting strategy, move on to using the Zen II count as it is seen as a more powerful strategy with a better edge.

A great time to use this strategy is if you like jumping around between different games using a show as well as hand-held games. It is most effective with one or two decks of cards used in a blackjack game.

How to use the Zen II card counting strategy and betting

With an unbalanced strategy you will never start your count on a 0. That is something that is reserved for the balanced strategies. The very simple bit of math you need to do when sitting down at a table is to multiply the number of decks used in the particular blackjack game by -2. So for a 2 deck game that would mean that your count would start at -4.

What makes this such a great strategy to use especially for players newer to the game is that it safeguards in temporary upswings in the count.

Only when the count then reaches a positive, should you start to increase your bets as it would mean that you then have a 1% edge over the house. This is a great way to know when your edge is higher than the house’s.

The most important thing to remember around your betting is to base it on the count. Don’t bring emotions or hunches into the equation as they are not worth anything. Using the unbalanced Zen II card counting strategy accurately can be very powerful, but then you need to use the count correctly.

Your betting should only increase once your count goes into a positive count. It also gives you a fair indication of when the count is not in your favor and when you should pull back on your bets.

Probably one of the easiest and best ways to learn how to use a blackjack card counting strategy like this is to play online blackjack. What the online casinos offer are a variety of blackjack games that you can try out when the time is available to you. So you can get in valuable practice playing at very low limits and improve your Zen II card counting skills.

Non-USPlayers OnlyALLPlayers (incl. US)

Colosseum
750 Euro Free

Aladdin's Gold
200% offer x 7 days

Lucky Emperor
10 Euro Free, 100 Euro match

All Star Slots
100% up to $787

Yukon Gold
1,000 Euro, 1 Hour to play

BuzzLuck
100% up to $868

Silver Fox Card Counting Strategy

Apart from it being one of the easiest ways to count cards, it is also one of the more recent card counting methods that have been developed. Its creator Ralph Stricker used this exceptionally simple method to really make a fortune in Atlantic City.

So let’s get into the Silver Fox card counting strategy and look at what it’s all about…

The basics of the Silver Fox card counting strategy

To make it easy for anyone to use the system it works on a running count. Based on the running count you keep while the cards are dealt, you will increase bets on the positive counts and decrease them when you have a negative count… or just leave the table.

It is an easy to learn strategy and is seen as a level 1 balanced counting strategy. The intricacies of a card counting strategy goes up dramatically when it is unbalanced and you need to keep counts of Aces separately for example. This is however not the case with the Silver Fox card counting strategy. You simply start your count at 0 after the deck has been shuffled. If all of the cards are dealt in a row, it would then also end on a 0.

The easiest possible way to learn the count and start to remember it by heart is to simply take a single deck, shuffle it, start your count at zero and deal the cards one by one, while you keep up the count. If you end on a 0, you counted correctly. At first you might have to make quite a few runs through the deck with the strategy chart readily available, but with some practice you will learn it by heart sooner rather than later.

Non-USPlayers OnlyALLPlayers (incl. US)

Colosseum
750 Euro Free

Aladdin's Gold
200% offer x 7 days

Lucky Emperor
10 Euro Free, 100 Euro match

All Star Slots
100% up to $787

Yukon Gold
1,000 Euro, 1 Hour to play

BuzzLuck
100% up to $868

Card values for the Silver Fox strategy

With this simple level 1 strategy the card values don’t deviate much. The only 3 numbers you need to remember while counting are +1, 0 and -1.

Silver Fox card counting strategy chart
silver fox card counting strategy chart

As you can see from the chart above, there is only a single card that doesn’t have either a positive or negative value assigned to it. The 8 is the only card that is given a value of 0, while the cards lower than it all carries a +1 and the cards higher than it carries a -1.

Another great way to practice is by playing online blackjack at lower odds until you get the hang of the card counting strategy. After you are more comfortable with it and know it well, you can look to play for higher odds and try your hand at different casinos.

ALLPlayers (incl. US)Non-USPlayers Only

High Noon
$60 Free, 200% bonus

Captain Cooks
500 Euro, 1 Hour to Play

Lucky Red
400% up to $4,000 bonus

Golden Tiger
1,500 Euro, 1 Hour to play

Club World
100% up to $777

Vegas Country
245 Euro, Double match bonus

It doesn’t hurt to take the Aces into account

It is usually only necessary to keep a count of the Aces when you are playing with a strategy that doesn’t assign any value to the Aces. This is not the case with the Silver Fox card counting strategy, as it does carry a value of -1.

However that said… it does make sense to keep a little side count of the Aces still in the deck. They are very valuable and gives you the opportunity to hit blackjack, which pays the best odds at 3:2. If you play and you get to a relatively high count and you know there are still quite a few Aces in the deck, you are in for a nice payday…

You should however not be fooled by the simplicity of the Silver Fox card counting strategy. It is definitely one of the easier strategies you can learn to use, but you need to practice with it often to get the greatest impact from it. Using it as a beginner is bound to get you to fall in love with the idea of card counting and can be the beginning of something really interesting and exciting…

The Revere Point Count Strategy

Mr. Lawrence Revere wasn’t joking about when he developed his respective card counting systems. The Revere Point Count is testament to this. It is a level 2 system, which is something that you should be able to learn to use after a while. Mastering it… well that is a whole other story.

As the genius of the man works, the Revere Point Count works in a number of layers (for lack of a better phrase). You can simply do the counting according to the Revere Point Count chart shown below, or you can take it to a next level. To start off with however I would suggest that you don’t try to do too much too quickly. Get a solid handle on the card counting and once you have that covered and you are playing without a problem using it, then you can go to the next level.

The Revere Point Count basics and counting chart

In its very basic form the Revere Point count is a balance card counting strategy, which is categorized as a level 2 strategy. The card values, as you can see below from the chart fall in a range that covers +2, +1, 0, -1 and -2.

The Revere Point Count strategy chart:
Revere point count strategy chart

The Revere Point Count is not a simple counting strategy and it requires quite a bit of practice to get a good return. One of the first things you will note when looking at the chart above is that the Ace is assigned a value of -2. In many counting strategies the Ace doesn’t get counted and you are then forced to try to keep a side count just for the Aces left in the deck(s).

Where the Revere Advanced Plus-Minus falls short in effectiveness when it comes to multiple deck games, the Revere point count doesn’t. It offers good odds on multiple deck games and as a result you would have many more blackjack games to choose from at regular and online casinos.

ALLPlayers (incl. US)Non-USPlayers Only

High Noon
$60 Free, 200% bonus

Captain Cooks
500 Euro, 1 Hour to Play

Lucky Red
400% up to $4,000 bonus

Golden Tiger
1,500 Euro, 1 Hour to play

Club World
100% up to $777

Vegas Country
245 Euro, Double match bonus

If you are a relatively new player in terms of card counting, you will find this an interesting challenge as it will test your skills and take you to a higher level. It is fine to play using the running count, however if you want to add more efficiency to your game you should definitely use a true count. All you need to do to calculate the true count is to divide the running count by the number of decks used in the game.

From there it simply remains a case of betting higher when you have a positive count and decreasing your bet sizes when you have a negative count.

When you start to get comfortable with this, your next step up would be to start taking the Betting Correlation, Insurance Correlation and Playing Efficiency into account. You should however not try to jump to this too soon. First make sure that you fully understand the Revere Point count and have it memorized. If you have that covered it would be easier to try to pull in more complexities into your game later on.

Non-USPlayers OnlyALLPlayers (incl. US)

Colosseum
750 Euro Free

Aladdin's Gold
200% offer x 7 days

Lucky Emperor
10 Euro Free, 100 Euro match

All Star Slots
100% up to $787

Yukon Gold
1,000 Euro, 1 Hour to play

BuzzLuck
100% up to $868

The Revere Advanced Plus Minus Strategy

The name in itself is quite a mouthful and looks terribly intimidating. It is however a really nice card counting system for beginners and is a level 1 strategy.

Lawrence Revere developed the strategy and although it carries the name Revere Advanced Plus Minus Strategy, it is all for show. There are a number of strategies that he developed and this one is by far the easiest. Some of the others are totally crazy and are classified as level 3 and level 4 strategies… not for the faint-hearted.

The Revere Advanced Plus Minus count and card values

The count is very simple, because it is a level 1 strategy. This means that the values you will add or subtract from your count will only fall into this range: +1, 0 and -1.

The Revere Advanced Plus Minus card counting chart:
Revere advanced plus minus card counting chart

This particular count is what is called a balanced count. What this means is that the count will start and end on a 0. So if you were to run through a whole deck of shuffled cards and you start on 0 and then count exactly the way the above mentioned chart says, you will end on a 0 again.

I have mentioned this on a number of other posts about balanced card counting strategies: if you want to learn the count and practice it, the easiest way is to do the following:
1. Get a deck of cards and shuffle them
2. Have the Revere Advanced Plus Minus card counting chart handy
3. Start at 0 and deal the cards one by one and keep a running count
4. You should then end on a 0 if you did it correctly.

As with many skills in this world of ours, practice makes perfect. Running through a deck of cards regularly using this count will then after a while help you count automatically without needing the chart available.

Another option to try then is to play online blackjack at low limits for practice.

Non-USPlayers OnlyALLPlayers (incl. US)

Colosseum
750 Euro Free

Aladdin's Gold
200% offer x 7 days

Lucky Emperor
10 Euro Free, 100 Euro match

All Star Slots
100% up to $787

Yukon Gold
1,000 Euro, 1 Hour to play

BuzzLuck
100% up to $868

If you want to use this system, you would need to find single deck blackjack games. The strategy loses its effectiveness if you play multiple deck games and this is something you will find more and more in casinos these days.

You should also not be fooled by single deck games that pay 6:5 on a blackjack as it really kills your odds in a bad way. If you find 3:2 blackjack games it would be the best option.

As with most other card counting strategies the Revere Advanced Plus Minus works on the idea of betting higher when the count is in the positive. If it drops into the negative you should drop your bet sizes as well. This is a very common rule, which also applies to this strategy.

Red Seven Blackjack Strategy

I like this one a lot. It is not the most difficult one to learn and combining it with the blackjack basic strategy makes the Red Seven blackjack strategy one of the best card counting options out there.

The genius behind the Red Seven card counting strategy is Arnold Snyder. He also developed another wonderful strategy called the Zen Count (have a look at our blackjack strategy page for more information on that one). It has been widely used by a large number of professionals with great success.

Just a little tip: You absolutely need to have a solid knowledge of the blackjack basic strategy if you want to use the Red Seven strategy.

The basics of the Red Seven card counting strategy

If you are familiar with card counting, you will have very little difficulty with this one. However it is also not a difficult one to pick up if you are relatively new to it.

You will work on a running count to figure out when it is in your favor to bet more and when it isn’t. If the count is on the positive side, you will bet more and when it is on the negative side you will only bet the minimum. The running count is however not the only determining factor when you play blackjack using the Red Seven card counting strategy. It works in combination with the basic strategy to help you make informed decisions. The fact that it is an unbalanced strategy also helps to make it more accurate in helping you to determine how favorable the deck is to you.

The different card values associated with the Red Seven

Each of the cards have a specific value assigned to it that you will use when counting.

The Red Seven card counting chart:
Red Seven card counting chart

Just looking at this chart compared to other charts it easy to see a couple of glaring differences. The most obvious difference is in the values assigned to the Red 7s and the Black 7s respectively (as highlighted in yellow). So where you wouldn’t add or subtract anything from the count if a Black 7 is dealt, you will add +1 if a Red 7 is dealt.

It sounds weird and confusing at first but what it simply does is gives the 7s in the deck a count of +0.5. The rest of the counting you will be doing will however be a lot simpler as you will only need to add 1, subtract 1 or do nothing at all.

In many of the card counting strategies that are commonly used, you need to keep a separate count of the Aces. This is however not the case with the Red Seven where the Aces have a value of -1. Not having to worry about this side count will help you to concentrate on the count and help you to play a lot more accurately.

Non-USPlayers OnlyALLPlayers (incl. US)

Colosseum
750 Euro Free

Aladdin's Gold
200% offer x 7 days

Lucky Emperor
10 Euro Free, 100 Euro match

All Star Slots
100% up to $787

Yukon Gold
1,000 Euro, 1 Hour to play

BuzzLuck
100% up to $868

The blackjack basic strategy and the Red Seven card counting strategy

Now we get to the part mentioned earlier about the effectiveness of the Red Seven strategy when used with the blackjack basic strategy.

There is a specific time whenever a card counting system indicates to you that you should start increasing your bets to take advantage of a favorable deck and this is called a pivot point. In most other card counting strategies this would be if you reach a count of +3 and higher, but then again these ones start with a count of 0. This is not the case with the Red Seven card counting strategy.

Your count will begin by multiplying the number of decks in play by -2. So if you play a six deck game it would mean that your count starts at -12. Once your running count then reaches any positive number, you have reached the pivot. This might sound a bit extreme, but is in fact the reason why the Red Seven strategy is so effective.

Only increasing your betting once you reach this pivot point, would mean that you would very rarely have the problem of misjudging a deck as being favorable when there was only a temporary swing in your favor.

There are also a couple of situations that you might found yourself in with the Red Seven count, which requires you to take on a few specific strategies:

  • If the running count is on 0 or better, you should stand with a 16 if the dealer has a 10
  • If the running count is on 0 or better, you should stand with 12 if the dealer has a 3
  • If the running count is at +2 or better, you should stand with 15 if the dealer has 10
  • If the running count is at +2 or better, you should stand with 12 if the dealer has 2
  • If the running count is at +2 or better, you should double down a total of 10 if the dealer has an Ace
  • These are the only real variations you will need to learn when playing with this strategy. Learning and mastering the Red Seven card counting strategy along with these variations is actually quite easy. The best way to learn is to practice and one of the easiest ways to do that is to play online. There are a number of online casinos that offer a wide variety of blackjack games at low odds.

    It is a really powerful card counting strategy and the effort you put into learning how to use it, will definitely pay off.

    ALLPlayers (incl. US)Non-USPlayers Only

    High Noon
    $60 Free, 200% bonus

    Captain Cooks
    500 Euro, 1 Hour to Play

    Lucky Red
    400% up to $4,000 bonus

    Golden Tiger
    1,500 Euro, 1 Hour to play

    Club World
    100% up to $777

    Vegas Country
    245 Euro, Double match bonus

    The Advanced Omega II card counting strategy

    All card counting strategies are definitely not created equal and the Advanced Omega II card counting strategy stands out as a beast of a strategy. It is an advanced strategy that should not be used by beginner card counters, but it does pack a powerful punch. As a result of its effectiveness quite a number of professional blackjack players started using it.

    The count for the Omega II card counting strategy

    To give a bit of context to the strategy it is best we start with looking at the values that are assigned to each of the cards when using this card counting strategy.

    The advanced Omega II card counting strategy

    The first thing that is clear right from the start is that the values are a lot more complex than most of the other more basic card counting strategies.

    When you are playing blackjack using the Advanced Omega II card counting strategy you will use the same basic rules. For consistency it is always best to start your count with a new shoe right after the cards have been shuffled.

    As the cards are dealt you will then apply a running count using the values as laid out in the Advanced Omega II card counting strategy chart above. With the values being a little all over the place it would take you some time to get used to it, so it might be a good idea to print out the chart, keep it next to you and first play on some of the online casinos offering blackjack for practice.

    ALLPlayers (incl. US)Non-USPlayers Only

    High Noon
    $60 Free, 200% bonus

    Captain Cooks
    500 Euro, 1 Hour to Play

    Lucky Red
    400% up to $4,000 bonus

    Golden Tiger
    1,500 Euro, 1 Hour to play

    Club World
    100% up to $777

    Vegas Country
    245 Euro, Double match bonus

    Apart from the count complicating things a bit, until you get used to it, the betting patterns will be similar than with other counting methods. So if you have a low count you would keep the bets down to a minimum. If the count starts going into the positive direction with numbers of +3 and greater, you can start to increase the size of your bets.

    Even though the card values might make you think otherwise, the Omega II card counting strategy is actually a balanced card counting strategy. This means that if you were in the situation where all of the cards were dealt and you counted all of the cards correctly, you will end up on a 0 once the last card is dealt.

    That reminds me about something I always tell people. A simple exercise you can do quite frequently to learn how the count works for the Omega II is to first take a pack of cards and shuffle it. Then, starting at 0, you start dealing the cards face up counting according to the chart above until you get to the last card. If you ended on a 0 again you counted correctly. After a while you will start remembering the values of the respective cards a lot better and you can then try to count at times without looking at the chart. Slowly but surely you will totally stop using it as it would become second nature. Use it. It is simple, but works.

    Ace Reckoning for the Advanced Omega II strategy

    Here the strategy throws a bit of a curve ball. It doesn’t assign any value to the Aces in the deck or decks. It therefore becomes necessary to keep a side count of the number of Aces still left in the decks that need to be dealt. This is easier said than done as the count by itself is already challenging enough.

    If you can however get it fairly accurate it would really help you in your betting. For example if you are playing a game where they use 6 decks, you would just multiply the number of decks by 4. So this simple calculation tells you that there are 24 Aces you can expect during the game.

    As Aces get dealt you just simply subtract it from the total number of Aces in the decks. The reason to keep a separate count of the Aces is because of the power they posses in getting you more potential blackjacks. Studies done around the efficiency of the Advanced Omega II card counting strategy says accurately tracking the Aces could give you a jump in odds of as much as 3%.

    If you have worked through a few hands and you are sitting on a decent high positive count and there are still many Aces left in the decks, your likelihood of hitting blackjack just becomes so much better.

    With the strategy being one of the more advanced strategies you will find, it always makes sense to practice as much as possible before putting big money on the table. Only once you have mastered the Advanced Omega II count should you even attempt something like that. Remember to use my tip above about practicing the count and don’t discard the value that online casinos offer with low limit blackjack.

    Non-USPlayers OnlyALLPlayers (incl. US)

    Colosseum
    750 Euro Free

    Aladdin's Gold
    200% offer x 7 days

    Lucky Emperor
    10 Euro Free, 100 Euro match

    All Star Slots
    100% up to $787

    Yukon Gold
    1,000 Euro, 1 Hour to play

    BuzzLuck
    100% up to $868

    KO strategy for counting cards

    There are many versions of counting cards and sometimes the strategy you use necessitates you to keep separate counts. This is not something you can easily just fall into. It is honestly damn hard. With the KO card counting strategy things have been neatened up a bit.

    What the KO count strategy does is it just sticks to running count. This doesn’t mean that you will suddenly turn into an unbeatable blackjack winning machine, it just means that it is a system that you can master relatively easy with some practice. All of the different types of counting also takes a bit of fun out of the game.

    The count is very similar to count used in Hi-Lo, with one difference. In Hi-Lo the 7 card carries a value of 0. In the KO card counting strategy it is seen as a low card and carries a value of +1.

    The KO card counting strategy chart:
    KO card counting strategy chart

    What confuses many of the seasoned players who all know the Hi-Lo strategy well, is the fact that this one works well and is comparable to far more complicated card counting strategies.

    The KO strategy is an unbalanced system as as result of this small change (the 1 value for the 7 card). So if you run through all the cards and count all of them, you will end up on +4.

    That said the big thing wit the KO card counting strategy that turns it into a much nicer one to start with and learn to use well is that it just stays on that running count. Without the necessity of jumping between counts and making your brain melt, you can now enjoy the counting while trying to rake in the money.

    As the strategy is an unbalanced one in favor of a positive count, it is no longer such and advantage to just be on a positive count. Working out when it is favorable is very easy. If you are counting with most other strategies, you would take +2 as a favorable count. In the case where you are playing using the KO strategy, you need to take the number of decks in the game, for example an 8 deck game and times it by the +2. So you should only increase your bets when you get to a count of +

    It is also one of the very few card counting strategies where it is sometimes favorable to take up the insurance side bet if it is offered. If the dealer is dealt an Ace and you are offered insurance, the calculation works that you need to have a count of +3 times the amount of decks used in the game. So for a 6 deck game, that would mean you will take up the insurance if the count is over +18.

    The little nuances that the KO card counting strategy has, without making things too complicated is what makes it such a powerful counting strategy. If you would like to practice this and learn how to apply it quickly in a game of online blackjack, you can just play on any of the casinos on the site.

    ALLPlayers (incl. US)Non-USPlayers Only

    High Noon
    $60 Free, 200% bonus

    Captain Cooks
    500 Euro, 1 Hour to Play

    Lucky Red
    400% up to $4,000 bonus

    Golden Tiger
    1,500 Euro, 1 Hour to play

    Club World
    100% up to $777

    Vegas Country
    245 Euro, Double match bonus

    Hi-Opt 2 card counting strategy

    The Hi-Opt 2 card counting strategy is the big brother of the Hi-Opt 1. It takes a very effective card counting strategy and just super-sizes it in the power it holds. The difference in point values used increases both the efficiency and the accuracy of the count.

    The count is not for the beginner counters, but if you are willing to put in the time to practice using it, you are bound to reap the rewards. The Hi-Opt 2 card counting strategy is ideal for those blackjack players who have been playing blackjack for a while and have been doing some card counting. The use of it will just escalate your play to a new level.

    Many of the pro blackjack players still use it and you can really cut into the house edge if you play it accurately. It takes the principles that were taken from the Hi-Opt 1 card counting strategy and takes it to a new level.

    How to use the Hi-Opt 2 card counting strategy

    When you start out it is best to work on a running count. We will discuss the application of the true count for this strategy a little later…

    The way the Hi-Opt 2 card counting strategy should be used is similar to that of other card counting strategies. You will decrease bet sizes with negative counts and increase bet sizes with positive counts.

    That is also where the similarities end. The strategy requires the player to put in a bit more effort in order to continue maintaining accuracy and getting the best possible results.

    How the Hi-Opt 1 and Hi-Opt 2 card counting strategies differ

    The difference can easily be spotted by looking at the values assigned to the respective cards.

    There are the card values for the Hi-Opt 2 strategy
    Hi-Opt 2 card counting strategy chart

    The first obvious change from the Hi-Opt 1 strategy is that the Hi-Opt 2 card counting strategy introduces the +2 and -2 count values. Believe me, adding these small changes into the mix makes it a lot more difficult in live play. In fact, I suggest you first play with it for quite some time at one of the online casinos on our site. Once you have put in quite a few hours and you have memorized the strategy and can apply it almost automatically, you can move on to playing for higher stakes or play live.

    ALLPlayers (incl. US)Non-USPlayers Only

    High Noon
    $60 Free, 200% bonus

    Captain Cooks
    500 Euro, 1 Hour to Play

    Lucky Red
    400% up to $4,000 bonus

    Golden Tiger
    1,500 Euro, 1 Hour to play

    Club World
    100% up to $777

    Vegas Country
    245 Euro, Double match bonus

    In fact if you just deviate from this slightly it actually becomes quite intense and you will be able to see this more clearly if you start looking at the true count and Ace reckoning. Using both has its benefits however.

    Using the true count with the Hi-Opt 2 card counting strategy

    Where the true count is a nice to have if you are able to use it with other card counting strategies, it becomes a bit more of a necessity with the Hi-Opt 2 strategy. If you don’t use the true count you will decrease the effectiveness of the strategy. That said it is not an easy feat to accomplish, which is why this is definitely a strategy aimed more at players who are used to counting cards.

    Using a running count is simple as it is constantly updated as the new cards are dealt and you keep a mental score of the number of cards still in the deck either favoring you or favoring the house. All card counting systems use it and it is especially effective if more decks of cards are used at a time. As it is so simple to learn how to keep a running count it is ideal for beginners… but the true count is a whole other beast.

    To get the true count you would take your running count and reduce its value to give a much more accurate number predicting the nature of the cards remaining in the deck. the reason this is used is because it reduces the house edge even more than with a running count.

    So you start with the running count and you assess the number of cards the should still be dealt versus the number of cards that have already been dealt. You then get the true count by dividing the running count by the number of decks that are still in play.

    Ace Reckoning with the Hi-Opt 2 strategy

    The logic behind keeping a count on the Aces that are still in the deck is sound. If you are keeping a count of the Aces left in the deck(s) and combine this with the true count you are keeping it is easy to see the benefit of it. The combination of a strong true count and lots of Aces left in the deck dramatically increases your chances of getting blackjack and at 3:2 that is good money in the bank.

    As the Hi-Opt 2 card counting strategy assigns a 0 value to the Aces it is not a bad idea to keep that separate count, especially if you are playing a multi-deck game. If you are playing a 6 deck game for example it would mean that there are 24 Aces in play. As mentioned earlier if many of these Aces are still in the shoe and you have a strong true count going, things will get interesting in a very good way!

    Fair warning about using the Hi-Opt 2 card counting strategy, but…

    This is not one that should be attempted by the novices. If you are going to try it with little or no card counting experience it will just turn into more of a nightmare than anything else.

    The Hi-Opt 2 card counting strategy can however be quite powerful in the right persons hands and is still used by quite a few blackjack professionals these days.

    Non-USPlayers OnlyALLPlayers (incl. US)

    Colosseum
    750 Euro Free

    Aladdin's Gold
    200% offer x 7 days

    Lucky Emperor
    10 Euro Free, 100 Euro match

    All Star Slots
    100% up to $787

    Yukon Gold
    1,000 Euro, 1 Hour to play

    BuzzLuck
    100% up to $868

    Hi-Opt 1 card counting strategy

    The Hi-Opt 1 is a great strategy to use for beginner card counters and is a balanced counting strategy. When using the strategy the normal card counting principles would apply. You would base your count on doing a running count on the cards as they are dealt. Based on the value of the count you would then either increase or decrease the size of your bets.

    If you have a high count (+2 or more) you should increase your bets. When the opposite becomes true you should however pull back as far as possible and bet as small as you can.

    As the Hi-Opt 1 card counting strategy is a balanced count you will also start of on a 0. This means that whenever the deck is shuffled you will start on a 0. If all cards are dealt you will the also end the count on a 0 regardless of how the cards come out. You will never see that happening in real live as all of the cards will never be dealt in a game of blackjack at the table.

    Before stepping into a casino using the counting system, there is a very easy way to practice. If you use the Hi-Opt 1 card counting strategy chart, as shown below, and deal all the cards from a shuffled pack you can see that the count is balanced. The added advantage is that if you do this on a regular basis you will start to learn how the Hi-Opt 1 count works and not even need the chart after a while. Practice is one of your best allies when it comes to using a card counting strategy like this. Another good place to practice is by playing online and all of the casinos in the table below offer a number of variations of blackjack you can play for real money or for free. Whatever works for you.

    Non-USPlayers OnlyALLPlayers (incl. US)

    Colosseum
    750 Euro Free

    Aladdin's Gold
    200% offer x 7 days

    Lucky Emperor
    10 Euro Free, 100 Euro match

    All Star Slots
    100% up to $787

    Yukon Gold
    1,000 Euro, 1 Hour to play

    BuzzLuck
    100% up to $868

    As mentioned on our blackjack strategy page, the game evolved from on of the classic counting systems namely the Hi-Lo card counting strategy.

    So what is the difference between the two?

    The major difference between the two systems sit in how the values differ at the bottom and top end of the deck. So basically the Aces and 2’s have different values.

    Here is the Hi-Opt 1 card counting strategy chart:
    Hi-Opt 1 card counting strategy chart

    What makes this count different from many of the more common counts like the Canfield Expert, is that there isn’t an equal number of +1 and -1 value cards. Although this might look a bit strange at first, there is no reason to panic. It actually makes the counting a lot easier when playing live. It actually makes the running count a lot easier when using the Hi-Opt 1 card counting system rather than the Hi-Lo.

    Improving your edge with the Hi-Opt 1 True Count

    We suggest that you give this a bit of practice first at one of the online blackjack tables at either low bet sizes or playing the free version.

    The true count takes a bit getting used to, but if you can master it, it will help you increase your edge a bit. It is important to remember that blackjack is a serious game of inches and any small percentage points you can win by applying strategies such as this, makes a big difference.

    To work out the true count, you will take your count and divide it by the number of cards left in the deck. So if for example you have a count of +4 and half of the cards are still in the deck, you simply divide the +4 in two and you end up with a +2.

    As you get more used to the Hi-Opt 1 counting strategy using the normal running count, a variation like this would become something that would be easier to try out. If you are however not fully comfortable with the strategy and still working on memorizing it and applying it 100%, you should rather stick to the running count for now.

    ALLPlayers (incl. US)Non-USPlayers Only

    High Noon
    $60 Free, 200% bonus

    Captain Cooks
    500 Euro, 1 Hour to Play

    Lucky Red
    400% up to $4,000 bonus

    Golden Tiger
    1,500 Euro, 1 Hour to play

    Club World
    100% up to $777

    Vegas Country
    245 Euro, Double match bonus

    Another powerful option to add to the Hi-Opt 1 card counting strategy is keeping track of the Aces through a side-count. This is however once again something that should be considered carefully and only applied once you are totally comfortable with using the strategy.

    When to use the Hi-Opt 1 Card Counting strategy and how

    The strategy is one that is ideal for players that have a bit of practice with card counting. It is definitely not the best option if you are just starting out as it is a little more complex.

    The strategy does however offer a few variations that can really amp up its power. You can get a decent return on your blackjack investment if you use the Hi-Opt Card Counting strategy accurately and try to work in the true count and possible a side count of the Aces into the mix.

    With some time spent applying the strategy, you are bound to start understanding it more in depth and it will become as simple as eating with a fork and knife after a while.

    Canfield Master Strategy: an advanced level 2 strategy

    If you have come to read up about the Canfield Master Strategy, I am assuming that you have a decent understanding of card counting already and have put in some practice time. If not, I would suggest you start out with the Canfield Expert Strategy, build up a bit of experience in how to count and then come back to this page and give it a go.

    As the name suggests the Canfield Master Strategy or Canfield Master Count is a harder and more complex version of the Canfield Expert Strategy. It is classified as a level 2 strategy and is used by more advanced players. The strategy covers a wider range of cards which covers the following values: -2, -1, 0, +1 and +2.

    Those two innocent looking two’s that have been added to the count look like they might not cause too much trouble, but once you start trying to remember then and apply the count, you will see what I mean. It doesn’t get out of hand with its difficulty levels however as it still forms part of a balanced strategy, which means that count will start on a zero after the deck is shuffled and will end on a zero if all of the card had been dealt.

    An easy way to test this for yourself is just to deal all the cards one by one, while applying the count. If it ends on a zero it means that you applied the count correctly. This is also a great way to get used to the count and to practice it. You can just grab a deck of cards, shuffle them and start dealing them face up. You can then count according to the Canfield Master Strategy chart, as shown below, and work on memorizing it.

    The Canfield Master Strategy Chart
    Canfield Master Strategy chart

    Why you should use the Canfield Master Strategy

    It is true that the Canfield Master is a more difficult strategy to master and it does take time. What you would be sacrificing in easy of use (comparing it to the Canfield Expert Strategy for example) you would gain in the higher betting and insurance correlation percentages. If you can put in the time you will soon find that the extra effort put in to learn how to use it properly will give you an even higher advantage over the house.

    This strategy has been immensely popular over the years and the strategy that Richard Canfield devised lead to the development of the Omega II counting strategy. If you read up about that on our blackjack strategy page, you will understand the close similarities in terms of the indices used especially.

    You should note however that the counting strategy was developed back in the 70s when most casinos were hosting one-deck blackjack games. These days it is something that is rarely found, especially with blackjack paying 3:2 (important note: avoid the 6:5 odds games. They offer horrible odds). Card counting in general is very effective with the newer multi-deck games you will find in casinos, but the Canfield Master system is not as effective in these games. So it would be best to limit your play to the singe-deck games… if you can find them.

    When using the Canfield Master Strategy, you need to make sure that you count the cards that are dealt to all players as well as to the dealer. Based on the Canfield Master Strategy chart above, you should then count the values of the cards based on the numbers indicated.

    The favorable count you are aiming for is a high count (+3 and higher). The higher the count, the better the probabilities become of hitting a strong hand and you should then definitely increase your betting sizes. The contrary is however also true that if the count is negative you should bet as little as possible. The minimum bet is suggested.

    There is lots of fun to be had using the Canfield Master Strategy and the effort you put into learning it will definitely broaden your blackjack horizons. Something that is often overlooked is that many online casinos actually offer single-deck games. You can try it out for yourself (for free if you want to) at any of the casinos shown below:

    ALLPlayers (incl. US)Non-USPlayers Only

    High Noon
    $60 Free, 200% bonus

    Captain Cooks
    500 Euro, 1 Hour to Play

    Lucky Red
    400% up to $4,000 bonus

    Golden Tiger
    1,500 Euro, 1 Hour to play

    Club World
    100% up to $777

    Vegas Country
    245 Euro, Double match bonus