The Silver Fox Count system was developed and introduced by Ralph Stricker, in his book The Silver Fox Blackjack System. The moniker fox was thrust upon him by a pit boss who felt he was slick as a fox, and Stricker himself added the “silver” as his beard hair started to turn gray.
It is a level one, balanced system, considered one of the easiest systems to learn, yet effective enough to reduce the house edge.
How it works
While the system is considered easy, it does require the use of a true count, not just a running total count. Use of a true count basically helps you take into consideration the number of decks being used.
The true count is determined by dividing your running count by the estimated number of decks left in the shoe. For instance, if you had a running count of +12 and you estimate there are 4 decks left in the shoe, the true count would be 12/4 or +3.
There are only 3 card values: -1, 0 or +1 and your count starts at 0 and continues until there is a shuffle, where you again start the count at 0.
The card value chart is:
As with all counting systems, the higher the count, the more you should bet. As the cards are dealt, you assign the above appropriate values to the card and keep a running total count. That running count is then converted to a true count. You make your next bet based on that true count being positive or negative.
What makes it one of the easier systems is that you’re literally tracking low and cards and high cards, and not the middle 8’s. You just have to remember if it’s a low card, you add 1 and if it’s a high card, you subtract 1.
Sizing your bets
Because of the simple nature of the system, using the true count as a multiplier is considered good practice. For example, if the running count is +4, your bet should be 4 times the table minimum. Conversely, if the running count is +1 or less, your bet should remain the table minimum.
There is also a less aggressive method called bucketing. This is where you would create a “bucket” that would be a range of counts, like (+3 or +4), (+5 or +6) or a larger range (+3 to +5), (+6 to +8) and each bucket has it’s own multiplier. For instance, a true count that falls in the first bucket would have you multiply the minimum bet by perhaps 2 or 3, and not until the true count gets to the next bucket, would you increase the multiplier.
Ideally, sizing your bet should be done by whatever method fits your individual playing style. By using a bet sizing system, it’s easier to disguise the fact that you’re counting cards because your bet sizes won’t vary wildly.
The Silver Fox Count system is a good system to try as a beginner. It’s simplicity makes it perfect to see if card counting will improve your win percentage. With just a little bit of effort, you can lessen the house edge and that should at least make it more fun to play.
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