Let’s start with a very simple system. After you have mastered basic strategy play, this system should only take a couple of dozen hours play to learn but it will dramatically increase your results. This system will involve a simple count, a running count, bet progressions and a few minor adjustments to play.

First the count. Our count will keep track of 10′s and A’s on one hand and 2′s, 3′s, 4′s, 5′s, and 6′s on the other. Start by keeping a running count of your advantage or disadvantage. In the interest of simplicity we will start with a single deck.

A deck of cards has 4 A’s and 16 10′s ( 4 each of 10, J, Q, and K) for a total of 20 cards that benefit the player. The deck also contains 20 cards that are advantageous to the dealer ( 4 each of 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6). As noted earlier, 5′s and 6′s are “bet-ter” for the dealer than 2′s, 3′s, and 4′s but this is a simple count.

Much more sophisticated counts exists and the reader is encouraged to master this one first and then begin to look at more complex systems.

So, we know we start with a running count of zero. Twenty cards for the player, twenty for the dealer – no advantage – zero. As play begins, you will add 1 to your “count” for every 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6 that is dealt. For each 10 or A, subtract one. The idea is simple. If a 5 is dealt, the deck now contains 20 “10s” and 19 of the “other” cards. More tens is to your advantage so you add one. If a 10 (or J, Q, K, or A) is dealt next, the advantage is back to 0 ( 19 to 19 ). Now you have a running count. As long as play continues with the same deck you will add 1 for every 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6 you see and subtract one for every 10 or A you see.

The next step is to adjust the running count so that you have a “real” count for the entire shoe…

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