Blackjack Game Guide

Some card counting systems

Blackjack Card Counting Systems – How Blackjack Card Counting Works

Blackjack card counting is a system used by blackjack players to try and predict the outcome of the cards. Here are a few of the popular blackjack card counting systems.

How to Choose a Card Counting System

Card counting in blackjack is a way of tracking the proportion of high cards to low cards in the deck. When choosing a system for card counting it is essential that you choose a system that is simple and easy to remember. Making a mistake when you are counting cards in blackjack can cost you a lot of money.

There are a number of systems for card counting, but the most common ones are:
  • KO Count
  • Hi-Lo Count
  • Hi-Opt I Count
  • Hi-Opt II Count
If you are a beginner to card counting, it is recommended that you learn a simple system first and master that before you move on to a more complex one. The simplest systems to learn are the Hi-Lo Count or the KO Count.

Categorization of Card Counting Systems

  • Single level vs. multi level card counting systems.
    • Single level systems are simple systems in that they involve giving high cards a value of +1 and low cards a value of -1. In this systems, your total only ever increases or decreases by one point at a time.
    • Multi level card systems involve assigning different values to different cards. Cards may be valued at +2 or +3 or -2 or -3. This system is more accurate than the single level system, but they are more complicated to use during play.
  • Balanced vs. unbalanced counting systems.
  • o When using a balanced system, the total points in a 52-card deck add up to 0. o When using an unbalanced system, the total points do not add up to 0.

Hi-Lo Count

Cards are divided into three groups.
Cards 2 through 6 are given a value of +1.
Cards 7 through 9 are assigned a value of 0.
Cards 10, face cards and Aces are assigned a value of -1.
This is a balanced system and a single level system. This means that if you count all the cards in a deck, you will come out at a value of 0. You also only ever add or subtract one value at a time.

KO Count

KO Count is also known as the knock-out card counting system. It is similar to the Hi-Lo system, except that the 7 counts as +1.  This means that:
Cards 2 through 7 are valued at +1.
Cards 8 and 9 are valued at 0.
Cards 10, face cards and Aces and valued at -1.
This is an unbalanced system as if you count all the cards in a deck, it will not add up to 0. It is a single level system.

Hi-Opt I Count

In this system, you will need to learn the values for each card to prevent yourself from getting confused.
2 is valued at 0
Cards 3 through 6 are valued at +1.
Cards 7 through 9 are valued at 0.
Cards 10 and face cards are valued at -1.
Ace is valued at 0.
This system is a single level, unbalanced system.

Hi-Opt II Count

This is the most complicated of the four systems mentioned here as it involves more than the numbers -1,0 and +1. It requires a lot of focus. It is a multi level, balanced system.

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