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Blackjack Counters

Michael Konik
From the Print Edition:
Rush Limbaugh, Spring 94

(continued from page 3)

Michael Konik is a writer based in Hollywood, California.

How to Count Cards

These are three widely used--and widely published--blackjack counting systems.

The "10 Count." Popularized by Edward O. Thorp, this system is based on the ratio of tens to nontens in the deck. A fresh deck begins with 16 tens and 36 nontens, a ratio of 2.25 to 1. As the cards are dealt, the ratio changes. When the ratio falls below 2 to 1, the player has an edge of a few percentage points.

The "Hi-Lo" count. Each card is assigned a point value. Aces and tens are minus one; deuces, threes, fours, fives and sixes are plus one, and sevens, eights and nines are zero. A fresh deck begins at zero. When the count is plus two or higher, the player has an edge. The higher the count, the better, especially when there are few cards remaining.

The "Hi-Opt I" count. Threes, fours, fives and sixes are assigned a plus one value, tens a minus one; and aces, deuces, sevens, eights and nines are counted as zero. Like the "Hi-Lo" count, a positive count of two or more often indicates an edge for the bettor.

For more detailed explanations of card-counting systems, books like Million Dollar Blackjack by Ken Uston, Blackbelt in Blackjack by Arnold Snyder and Blackjack for Blood by Bryce Carlson are available from the Gambler's Book Club in Las Vegas. Telephone: (800) 522-1777.

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