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Card Counting System: Classification/Comparison

Card counting systems can be classified as single level or multi-level and balanced or unbalanced. Let's take a look at these classifications.

A single level card counting system is simpler and easier to understand than a multi-level card counting system. We would recommend that beginners to begin with a single level card counting system before moving on to more complex systems.

A single level system would assign low cards with a value of +1 while high cards would get a value of -1. What you would do, basically, is to get a running count. You would start from zero at the beginning of the game.

When you see low cards being dealt you add +1 to your count. Whenever you see high cards being dealt you make a -1 for every high card you see. When your count goes up to a certain amount in a single level system (sometimes the count goes pretty high for blackjack games that use more than one deck) you would know that you have the advantage.

When the advantage in a game of blackjack shifts to your side you then raise the amount of your bet. The logic behind this is that there are now more high cards left in the blackjack deck, therefore you have more chances of getting a 21.

But when you have less high cards (meaning that your count drops to a very low total). You then decrease the size of your bets. Since you expect less chances of getting a blackjack. Basically, that's how a single level card counting system would work.

A single level card counting system has its strengths and its limitations. A multi-level card counting system would be a step up to a single level system only with an added advantage.

A multi-level card counting system would work almost the same way as a single level system. Basically, a multi-level system would use a +2 and +3 for specific low cards and -2 and -3 for specific high cards (the value assigned to each card or group of cards varies from one multi-level system to the next).

By doing specific value assignments, a multi-level card counting system would be more accurate. It would also be more complex and a bit harder to learn.

A card counting system can also be a balanced or unbalanced. In a balanced card counting system your total (if we just do a count of all the cards) would add up to zero. An unbalanced card counting system would not get that total.

A balanced card counting system, for it to be useful, would require you to do a conversion of your running count to a true count. A balanced card counting system works perfectly in a single deck game. For blackjack games that use more than one deck other considerations beside the running count must be accounted for.

In an unbalanced system, the number of decks is already taken into account. Unbalanced systems work pretty well with blackjack games that use multiple decks. Balanced card counting systems would usually start with zero while an unbalanced card counting system would start with a value relative to the number of decks played in a blackjack game.

These are the different classifications of card counting systems. Generally we begin with the simplest one and move on to more complex systems as we gain experience.


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