# CARD COUNTING

When I first began structuring the Star System specifically toward the game of blackjack, the thought of card counting never entered my mind. Early results, obtained via using an old race track system that I have a copyright on, had convinced me that card counting wasn't necessary. I had also heard that it was quite difficult to learn so I wasn't the least bit interested.

During the development stages of the system I read many books on the subject of blackjack. There is one topic that they all elaborate on. They all said that in order to become a consistent winner, card counting was an absolute necessity. Although the advent of the Star System now disproves that theory, I suppose a seed was planted in my mind. After the system was completed, I found myself with some spare time. As a matter of curiosity, I decided to learn how to card count.

It was discovered that card counting will improve your profits if used when playing the Star System. As a result, the necessary changes were made so that card counting could be smoothly integrated into the system and used by those who wish to. Once again I reiterate, card counting is not a part of the system. But, if you wish to use it then it is simple to do.

If you can card count, and play the system as described in this chapter, you should be virtually unbeatable. I seriously doubt that you would lose your daily bankroll even one percent of the time.

The only problem with card counting is just as I suspected. The stories I had heard about it being difficult to learn were all true. It takes a lot of work and concentration.

Due to the fact that the Star System mechanically dictates your betting for you, a lot of the sophisticated and complicated card counting systems I looked at were not applicable. As a result, I came up with my own system. All you need to know is simply whether or not the deck is plus, minus, or neutral. The method I am about to show you is the simplest of simple systems. Nevertheless, it achieves the purpose for which it was intended.

Another thing that makes card counting easy to learn is that in multi deck games, all cards except the dealers down card are dealt face up. Couple this with the fact "that you always count the dealers down card as a ten, then in essence, all cards are dealt face up. Card counting now becomes a piece of cake.

For your purposes, the high cards (which are to your advantage), consist of the red eights, plus all the nines, tens and aces. The low cards will be the black eights and below (7, 6, 5, 4, 3, & 2).

A positive deck contains more high cards than low cards. A negative deck contains more low cards than high cards, and a neutral deck contains about the same number of high and low cards.

You will consider a neutral deck as being from a zero to a plus two running count. If you don't know what is meant by running count, don't worry, it will soon be explained. Before getting into the details of this card counting system there are a couple of things that you need to memorize.

First and most important is that the basic strategy for card counters is different from the basic strategy for non card counters. The basic strategy chart for card counters who use the Star System will be found on the last page of this chapter.

The second thing you need to do is memorize the following six courses of action to the point of automatic recall.

- Positive deck win; Let your bet & winnings ride.
- Positive deck loss: Advance one step up the progression Ladder.
- Neutral deck win: Pull your winnings. Leave original bet out as your bet for next hand.
- Neutral deck loss: Advance one step up the progression ladder.
- Negative deck win; Pull your bet & winnings off the board. Back up two steps on the progression ladder. [Example using a $5 base bet] 5=L, 10=L, 15=L, 25=win. You pull your $25 bet & $25 winnings. The $25 win replaces the previous 10 & 15 dollar loss. Back up to the ten dollar step and start up the progression ladder again. The idea at this point is to simply wait out the negative deck.
- Negative deck loss: Advance one step up the progression ladder, but take the next bet and divide it into four smaller bets. Play the same as you would play your preprogression numbers. Play until you lose it or double it.

If you double it, then it's a win and your next bet will be either number 1, 3, or 5 above. If you lose it, then you advance one more step and repeat the procedure. Number six of the above looks as though it would be difficult to do. It is very simple if you do it via the following manner. Let's say you just lost your $15 bet and the deck is negative. It should just be an unconscious recall that your next move is to advance to $25. You will do that, but you will divide it up into four smaller bets (just as you do your P . P . # s ) , and play it just as you would your pre-progression numbers.

Twenty five divided by five equals five so your $25 bet now becomes four individual bets of 5-5-5 & 10 dollars. If you prefer you could make them something like 2-4-7-12. The important thing is that they total up to be 25 or less. Both of the above examples will show a profit at any point when using the Rider. The key to keeping track is to pull the $25 worth of chips and keep them separate from your other chips. I prefer to hold them in my hand. You may prefer to put them in a separate stack and play from that stack only. I also prefer the 5-5-5-10 version. Then it is simple. Just hold them in your hand and play five at a time until you are down to your last ten and then bet it all. Remember to let your wins ride until you have either doubled your twenty five dollars or lost it.

Possibly you are already a proficient card counter. If so, then all you will need to know is the preceding six courses of action and you can skip the rest of this chapter.

For the sake of simplicity, a running count is what you are going to use. Other books on the subject will tell you it is necessary to always convert running count to true count. Forget about it. When using the Star System, a running count is easier to use and just as accurate. The reason is that there are only a couple of numbers that you are interested in. They will be your reference numbers used to figure a neutral deck and they can easily be figured via the running count.

The two count numbers that you are interested in are zero and plus two, times the number of decks being used. If one deck is being used you will use 0 and +2 as your reference numbers. If two decks are left in the shoe you will be using 0 and +4 for your reference numbers. If there are four decks left in the shoe then a running count of 0 and +8 is what you are interested in.

Anything between those two reference numbers is a neutral deck.

Anything out of those parameters will either be a positive deck or a negative deck. All that is required is that you know how many decks are in the game. If you know that, then it is just a simple matter of looking at the discard tray and estimating how many decks are left in play. For example, you know there are six decks in the game. You look at the discard tray and estimate there are four decks still left to be played. You should know that any count between 0 and plus 8 will be considered a neutral deck. As the cards are dealt, the spread between your reference numbers will diminish.

## The Count

Red Eights & above {9, 10, & Ace} = -1

Black Eights & down { 7 , 6, 5, 4, 3, & 2} = +1

As the high cards are removed from the deck there will be an excess of low cards remaining. That is the reason they are counted as a minus. This results in a negative deck. That is good for the dealer, but bad (or negative), for you. Take ten face cards out of a full deck and the deck is minus ten. That is a highly unfavorable deck as far as you are concerned, but highly favorable for the dealer.

Make no mistake about it. Even this simplest of simple systems is going to take some time to master. If you practice every day, it will probably take a month or so before you will become proficient at it. As with anything, the more you practice, the better you will get and the easier it will become.

To begin with, get yourself several decks of cards, and put them in places where you will always have access to one. When I first began learning to card count I tried to keep one at home, one at work, one in the car and one in my pocket. Whenever I found myself with some free time I would get one and begin to practice.

There are several good exercises that you can do. The first of these is designed to train your mind to trigger itself to subconsciously count only when specific cards are seen and by-pass the rest.

Exercise # 1: Get yourself a deck of cards. If you are right handed hold them face up in your right hand. Deal them out one at a time and just count the red eights and above. In a 52 card deck there will be 26 such cards, and that should be your count when you reach the end of the deck. Pick a speed that is comfortable.

Increase your speed as you gain proficiency. Eventually, your mind will only key in on the red eights and above, and will be oblivious to the other cards. One could even have a picture of a sexy person on it, and you wouldn't even be aware of it being there.

When you get to where you can go fairly fast, start timing yourself. Try to get to the point where you can count as fast as you can deal. If you can do that, you will be as good as you can get, and better than you need to be. That should be about 17-20 seconds for a 52 card deck. You may be thinking that you could never do it in 17-20 seconds. Think of it this way. If the other half of the deck was blank cards could you? Sure you could. All it takes a just a little practice. Anything around 30 seconds should be good enough, but strive for less. Then, when you get in actual playing conditions it will seem like you are playing in slow motion.

The second exercise is designed to teach you to keep the running count via cancelling out high and low cards. As you progress you will unconsciously begin to count via cancelling out anyhow, so let's go ahead and learn it that way to begin with.

Exercise # 2: Hold the deck of cards in your hand face down. Remove them two at a time and turn them face up. Count as you go. The count can only be plus two, minus two, or zero. Zero will be the result of a high card and a low card cancelling each other out.

Keep a running total as you go. For example: Four high pairs (8 high cards), would not be counted as -2,-2,-2,-2, but -2,-4,-6,-8.

Soon your mind will automatically by-pass all pairs that cancel out just as though they never existed. When you reach the end of the deck the count should be zero. Once again, practice until you can count via this method about as fast as you can turn pairs over. You may find it easier to call a 0 count as even instead of zero. Let's say that the first ten pairs you turned over were:

A-10, Bk.8-9, 3-7, red 8-6, 10-10, 9-K, Q-4, 2-7, 3-3.

Your mental count should have been: {X= cancel}

A-10, Bk.8-9, 3-7, red 8-6, 10-10, 9-K, Q-4, 2-7, 3-3.

2 X even X -2 -4 X -2 even.

As with exercise number one, you will soon be automatically by-passing the cancel out hands. The previous count would have gone through your mind about as fast as you can read the following:

minus 2, even, minus 2, minus 4, minus 2, even. Start training yourself now to keep your count mentally.

In addition to being much faster, it is also much harder for the house to detect. Believe it or not, I occasionally see (and so will you), somebody that is obviously in deep concentration, and their lips moving as the cards are being dealt out.

Speed is not the important thing now. Strive for accuracy. As you gain proficiency your speed will come automatically. When you get to where you are easily doing the entire deck in one minute or less, you are in good shape. Then you will be ready to throw in a couple of variations.

Do the same as above only use three cards instead of two. Now your count can only be: plus three or plus one, minus three or minus one. Try it using four cards. Soon you should be able to go through the deck varying the number of cards dealt with no problems.

Exercise # 3: This exercise is designed to build up your speed. It is the same as exercise number two only this time the deck is held face up. Deal the cards out as fast as you can accurately count in pairs via the cancel out method. In the beginning it may take you about a minute to count the entire deck. You would like to eventually get it down to about thirty seconds if you can.

In my case, it took several months of constant practice to achieve that goal. I thought I would never get to that point. Once you do, you will probably zip right past it and down into the low twenties. That kind of speed is really not necessary and can never be achieved unless you are counting strictly mentally, but why not strive for it. If you ever achieve it, counting in actual game conditions will become a piece of cake. You will almost get bored waiting for the next card to come out. As long as you are playing blackjack, that should be an exercise you practice in order to maintain your proficiency level.

You have now learned two methods of counting. As long as you are able to maintain the count as learned in exercise number one, you should never have to use the cancel out method. It is highly unlikely that you will always be able to maintain the count. For one reason or another, even the best will occasionally lose the count. When that happens, you should be able to quickly get yourself back up to date via the cancel out method. It is also good to have a back up method to use as a double check when you want too. Once you become accustom to counting you will probably use a combination of both, and not even be aware of it.

Let's deal a hand out and practice the count via the cancel out method.

XX = Dealer’s down card. Always count as a ten.

Remember, at this point, a hand can only be a plus 2, minus 2, or a cancel (you skip it). With this in mind, let us begin at pos # 1 and proceed through pos.# 6 with the dealers hand being last. Your count should be: minus 2, skip, skip, skip, minus 4, minus 2, and the dealers hand equals a skip because a 10 down and a 2 up equals a cancel. As you can see, you immediately know that the deck is minus 2.

That is why I prefer to sit at position one when I can. By sitting there you have an exact count, and can make your decision whether to draw a card or not. Then your hand is over with. All you need to do is just sit back and relax while you keep track of the other players hit cards. It's as simple as ABC.

There are two areas that may give you problems in the beginning. Both are caused because you forgot something. The first thing you don't want to forget is to check the dealer's hole card when they turn it over. Remember, you have already counted it as a high card. If it is a high card then everything is fine, and you don't need to do anything. If it is a low card than you muat add two to your count. In the above example, if the dealer turns over a low card, the deck will become zero (or even), instead of minus two. Make this a hard and fast rule: If the dealer's down card is a low card, add two to your count.

The second thing that is quite easy to forget, until you get some experience, is what the carry over count from the previous hand is. In the above example your count at the end of the hand was minus two. Now it 13 time to deal a new hand.

Let's presume that after the initial deal the count is a plus eight.

It is now time to adjust that count by either adding or subtracting the carry over count from the previous hand. The count at the end of the previous hand was minus two. The count of the present hand is plus eight. Plus eight and minus two equals plus six. The deck is plus six.

After counting down the hand in progress you may sometimes forget what the count from the previous hand was. Practice will solve this problem if you have it. Also, in the beginning, you can keep a stack of chips as a visual aid if required, but strive to always do it mentally. Mechanical aids should not be a necessity for the good! player, they can be a great help when learning.

The previous method of count is via the cancel out method.

It will be your primary way of double checking your count or regaining a lost count. There is actually a much faster and easier way to card count. It is via the method you learned in exercise number one. It only involves the counting of red eights and above.

Here is the way to do it.

First, you need an accurate way for keeping track of the number of hands in each playing round. Just because there are five players at the table doesn't mean there will always be five hands in each round. Someone will occasionally sit out a hand, or will play two or three hands at the same time. The number of hands in each round is one figure that needs to be absolutely accurate. Here is the best way to do it. Simply count the number of hands being dealt when the dealer deals everyone their first card. Don't worry about whether it is a low card or a high card. Just count the number of hands being dealt.

Seven hands. That is all your interested in. Seven is your key number, don't forget it. It stands to reason that if there are seven hands being played, there are going to be fourteen cards on the table after the deal. It also stands to reason that if seven are high cards, seven have to be low cards. That would be a neutral deck.

If there are only five high cards in the deal, there has to be nine low cards left, and the deck will be plus four. If there are eight high cards in the deal, there has to be six low cards left, and the deck will be minus two.

Everything hinges off your key number (7 in this instance). As the dealer deals everyone their second card, you will then begin to count all red eights and above. If the number is higher than seven, the deck is going to be on the negative side. If the number is lower than seven, the deck is going to be on the positive side. By how much depends on the difference between your high card count and your key number. It will be twice that number. For example, If your key number is seven, and your high card count is nine (a difference of 2), the deck is minus four." If your high card count is six, the deck is plus two. A few more examples using 7 as your key number are: High card count of seven = neutral deck. A high card count of five = plus four deck. A high card count of ten = minus six deck. A high card count of two «= plus ten deck.

It's as easy as falling off a log. The hardest part of the whole procedure is to remember to carry over and apply the count from the previous hand. If the count for the present round is plus four, and the count from the previous round was minus four, then the deck is now even. In the beginning you may find it helpful to use some chips as a crutch to help you remember the previous count.

Eventually, you should do it by memory alone. The following example is the way it is done.

Let's assume that the first card has already been dealt to everyone and you have determined that there are seven hands in the round. Seven is your key number. The dealer begins to deal the second card to everyone. You now begin to count all red eights and above. Start with position one, and follow right along behind the dealer one hand at a time.

The dealer deals the second card to pos. 1 (no high cards). You don't count. The dealer deals the second card to pos.2 (a red eight). Your count is one. The dealer deals the third player their second card (two tens). You count 2 & 3. The dealer deals to pos.4 (one high card). You count 4. Position five - no count. Position six = a count of 5 & 6. The dealer's card is a 6. You always count the dealer's down card as a high card, so the count becomes seven high cards. Your key number is seven, so the deck is neutral at this point in the round. Now you apply the carry over count from the previous hand, and you have an up to date running count. As you can see, the instant the dealer deals his last card, you know what the count is. If you are sitting at position one, you can make your decision and have your hand over and done with. All you need to do then is just sit back and count the hit cards, one at a time, as they come out. When the round is over you will need to remember that count and apply it to the next round after the deal.

To continue with the previous example: After the deal is completed you find the deck to be plus two. Now comes the time for the players to draw their cards. The first player draws a ten.

Subtract one, and the count becomes plus one. According to basic strategy, the second player does not draw a card. The third player does not draw a card. The fourth player does not draw a card. The fifth player draws a four and a ten. They cancel out. The sixth player does not draw. The dealer turns over their hole card and it's a low card. As soon as you see it's a low card you add two to the count (that is always automatic). The count now becomes plus three. The dealer draws a ten. The count becomes plus two and the round is over.

Don't forget the plus two count because you must apply it to the next round after the deal is over. To help you remember, you may want to move two chips, or two stacks of chips over just a little, or even hold two chips in your hand.

The previous procedure will be exercise number three for you to do. You need to sit down at a table and practice, practice, practice. From time to time change the number of players in the round. Sometimes deal out ten or eleven hands just for the practice. Practice until everything becomes automatic and there is no doubt in your mind as what to do next. When you get to the end of the deck the count should be zero. If it is not, you probably forgot to count the dealer's hole card (if low), or their hit card in one of the rounds.

If you practice those three exercises until they become no problem at all for you, you should be a proficient card counter as far as this system is concerned. When you can keep track of the count and know basic strategy perfectly, plus the six courses of action for card counters, then you are in the drivers seat.

Figuring out your next bet via the Star System becomes as easy as saying the alphabet.

Don't get discouraged, remember, you didn't learn the alphabet to the point of automatic recall over night. I am sure you have heard the expression: "You will get out of it what you put into it." That is certainly true concerning the Star System. If you put forth the effort and learned everything in this book, you could probably quit your job and make a living playing the casinos. Why is the average player a loser? The answer is, they don't know any of the above. They are there to have fun and hope to get lucky.

Sometimes they will get lucky, but they will surely lose in the long run. For you, that lucky streak can just be additional gravy on an already silver platter.