### Unbalanced Counting Systems

Home Blackjack Card Counting Systems Unbalanced Counting Systems

Almost all the counting systems we’ve examined up to this point are difficult to learn. Not impossible, but certainly not easy, either. If you’ve been discouraged by all the adding and dividing and memorization that it takes to fully utilize these counts in a casino, take heart. An unbalanced count can easily be learned by anyone who can operate a computer and guess what? You’re on a computer right now, so you can certainly learn one of these.

They are called “unbalanced” because, while they still assign ‘point’ values to the cards, when you add all the point values up in a deck or decks, it doesn’t result in zero. By doing this, these counts allow you to play without a ‘true count’ conversion which many people find to be the hardest part of balanced counting systems to learn. Yet, these are still quite effective in 4-, 6- or 8-deck games and the fact is, most ‘casual’ Blackjack players who go to casinos where the games offered are dealt from four or more decks should probably use an unbalanced count. I cannot recommend them for single- or double-deck play because they have their limitations in those games, but otherwise the unbalanced counts are pretty good.

## How Effective are Unbalanced Counts?

Of course, we have to first define the word “effective” and throughout this series I’ve quoted a lot of statistics for Playing Efficiency, Betting Correlation and so forth. How the unbalanced systems stack up against all the others will be covered in each individual count’s section, but “effective” as it relates to unbalanced counts has to also be defined as “ease of use”. If you go to a casino only once or twice a month, you probably play for quite a few hours at a time, but I live half-an-hour from 6 casinos, so it’s easy for me to play for an hour at one particular place and move on. Spending more than an hour or two at a game while using a complicated counting system is mentally taxing and, inevitably, mistakes are made. Throw enough mistakes into the equation and the result may be that you’re not gaining any edge over the casino for all your effort. Unbalanced counts are easy to use for long periods of time because they don’t require a lot of memorization or mathematics to be effective. You still have some work to do if you want to make any \$\$\$ using an unbalanced count, but not nearly as much as it takes to master one of the balanced counts. Naturally, you’re giving something up, but in a ‘typical’ 6-deck, the dealer hits soft 17, double after split allowed-type game, it’s not much. In return for just a bit less advantage, you can have the whole family counting! Think of it: grandma, the kids, the significant-other; all can become counters. But seriously, there’s really very little excuse for not at least giving one of these a try. You came to this site, I assume, to learn how to win at the casinos, so if you’re a Blackjack player who’s been losing for years, you can change that now.

## The Primary Unbalanced Systems

There’s really just two of these and each compares favorably to the other as well as to other single-level systems (which is what these are), at least in multi-deck games. Good books are available on both of these systems and there’s a lot of additional information available besides that out on the ‘Net. Both of these counts have been analyzed to death, each has its loyal followers and each will get the \$\$\$ if properly used, so I don’t really have a favorite. Your first decision is to stop losing at the casino and the next decision is to pick one of these systems; hell, even the cost of the book is about the same.

## The Red 7 Count

Point Values 2-6 = +1; red 7s = +1, black 7s ,8,9 = 0; 10, A = -1

The “standard” comparisons of Betting, Playing and Insurance Efficiencies don’t really apply here because of how these work, but when used in simulations against the Hi/Lo and other single-level systems in 4+ deck games, the win rates are similar.

Most Effective: When used in 6-deck games where at least a 1-12 bet spread can be achieved.

Good Points: Easy to learn, yet can also be enhanced by an “advanced” version.

Bad Points: Not very effective in single- and double-deck games.

The Book to Buy: Blackbelt in Blackjack by Arnold Snyder

## The K.O. Count

Point Values 2-7 = +1; 8,9 = 0; 10, A = -1

The “standard” comparisons of Betting, Playing and Insurance Efficiencies don’t really apply here because of how these work, but when used in simulations against the Hi/Lo and other single-level systems in 4+ deck games, the win rates are similar.

Most Effective: When used in 6-deck games where at least a 1-12 bet spread can be achieved.

Good Points: Easy to learn, yet can also be enhanced by an “advanced” version.

Bad Points: Not very effective in single- and double-deck games.

The Book to Buy: Knock-Out Blackjack by Vancura & Fuchs

Well, that about wraps this up. I really hope you find a counting system that suits you, because it feels great to walk into a casino knowing that you have a good chance to win and that feeling comes from knowing how to play the game properly. You can learn it all right on this site but don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.

See you here next time.