Wong Halves – Blackjack Card Counting

The Wong Halves card counting system was developed by Stanford Wong and was introduced in his book, Professional Blackjack, in 1975.  Stanford Wong is actually an alias for John Ferguson, a well-known, professional blackjack player.

The Wong Halves is a level 3, balanced system which means it is one of the most complicated systems devised.

It values some cards at fractions of a point, so a lot more concentration is needed, and more advanced mathematical logic is required.  Also, because it is a balanced system, a conversion of running count to true count is required.

The indices range from -1 to +1.5, which is why it’s a level 3 system and very difficult to learn.  Just the idea of using fractional numbers, would make you think it is probably much more accurate than many other counting systems.  The betting correlation (calculation of accuracy in determining player-favorable situations) for this system is 99%, so almost perfect.

Your count will start at zero and will also reset to zero after the cards are shuffled.

What else makes this system difficult is that a true count, instead of a running count is used.  Fortunately, getting a true count is not all that difficult, it’s just one more step in the process.

True count is determined by dividing the running count by the estimate of the number of decks left in the shoe.  A true count is designed to give the player a more accurate representation of the remaining cards and how favorable or not it is to the player.

How it Works

Each card in the deck is assigned a value of -1, -.5, 0, +1, or +1.5.  The chart of values is:

As the cards are dealt, a running count is kept.  The starting count will be zero.  You will then need to convert the running count to the true count before deciding on your bet.

Once you reach the shuffle, you revert back to the starting number of zero.

In order to make it less complicated, some people multiply the values by 2, so there are no fractions.  Despite doing that, it still is a complicated system to learn and use.  You have to be aware by doing that, your running count and true counts will be twice as high as they should be, so you’ll have to do another round of division to get the true values for betting.

ACE TRACKING

Fortunately, keeping track of aces on the side is not part of this system because they are given a value within the system.  This system is complicated enough without adding something else to track.

As usual, once you reach a positive count, you can increase your bet.

While the count remains negative, only bet the minimum or consider moving to another table if it keeps going down.

Keep your betting spreads narrow, as to not draw attention to your playing style.  Play with a betting system, but not one that will have you betting extremely high when the count is high.  Don’t start betting 10-20 times the table minimum because the count has become extremely positive.

Casinos understand that players will bet more if the cards seem to be “running good,” just don’t let them figure out why you know the cards are running good!

FINAL THOUGHTS

The Wong Halves system is definitely for an experienced card counter who wants an extremely accurate system.  It is very hard to use, which is why it is not used a lot, but quite effective when compared with most other systems.

UNBALANCED ZEN COUNT 2 (UBZ2) – Blackjack Card Counting

The Unbalanced Zen Count 2 card counting system was developed by George C. and is very similar to Arnold Snyder’s Zen Count system.  The basic difference is that the UBZ2 is an unbalanced system, while the Zen Count is a balanced system.

The Unbalanced Zen Count 2 is a level 2, unbalanced system that was actually designed to be a combination of the Zen count system and the Revere Point Count system.

The indices range from -2 to +2, which is why it’s a level 2 system and it’s considered unbalanced because the starting count depends on the number of decks in play.  You would start the count by multiplying the number of decks in play by -2, giving you the start number.  For instance, in a 6 deck game, your count would start at -12 and go up or down from that point.

It works like that because the effect of a particular card being dealt out of a single dealt is more significant than a card being dealt out of multiple decks.  If you think specifically about aces, and 4 aces are dealt out of a single deck, the chances of getting a blackjack drops to 0%, however, if 4 aces are dealt out of 6 decks, you still have chances to hit a blackjack.

What else makes this system difficult is that a true count, instead of a running count is used, making it slightly more difficult.  Fortunately, getting a true count is not all that difficult, it’s just one more step in the process.

True count is determined by dividing the running count by the estimate of the number of decks left in the shoe.  A true count is designed to give the player a more accurate representation of the remaining cards and how favorable or not it is to the player.

How it Works

Each card in the deck is assigned a value of -2, -1, 0, +1, or +2.  The chart of values is:

As the cards are dealt, a running count is kept.  The starting count will depend on the number of decks in play.  You will then need to convert the running count to the true count before deciding on your bet.

Once you reach the shuffle, you revert back to the starting number of -2 multiplied by the number of decks.

ACE TRACKING

Fortunately, keeping track of aces on the side is not part of this system because they are given a value within the system.  This is what the more advanced players like about the system, one less thing to track.

As usual, once you reach a positive count, you can increase your bet. With this unbalanced system, when the count is above 0, your edge over the house is about 1%, so you definitely want to bet more.

While the count remains negative, only bet the minimum or consider moving to another table.

Keep your betting variances moderate, as to not draw attention to your playing style.  Play with a betting system that will keep your bet spread fairly even, in order to not look like you’re counting cards and know the deck has become quite favorable to the player.

Casinos understand that players will bet more if the cards seem to be “running good,” just don’t let them figure out why you know the cards are running good!

FINAL THOUGHTS

The Unbalanced Zen Count 2 system is best used by an experienced card counter who wants a powerful system.  It is relatively hard to use, but quite effective when compared with other systems.

THE ZEN COUNT – Blackjack Card Counting

The Zen Count card counting system was developed by blackjack expert Arnold Snyder and was introduced in his book Blackbelt in Blackjack.  This is just one of a few card counting systems Snyder developed.

Though he was a master card counter, Snyder developed systems that were simple enough for a beginner to work with, yet effective and efficient enough that an advanced player would be willing to work with it.

The Zen Count is a level 2, balanced system with parts that would require some practice at home before trying to use it at a live table game.

The indices range from -2 to +2, which is why it’s a level 2 system and it’s considered balanced because if you were to count down a deck, you would start and end with zero.

Because a true count, instead of running count, is used, it is considered slightly more difficult to learn.  Figuring out the true count is not really that difficult, it’s just adds to the process, making it a little more involved.

True count with this system is determined by dividing the running count by the estimate of remaining decks in play. A true count is designed to give the player a more accurate representation of the remaining cards and how favorable or not it is to the player.

One point about this system is that using a true count is actually optional, The Zen Count can be used profitably with just the running count, but if you incorporate the true count, it will definitely give you an even greater edge.

How it Works

Each card in the deck is assigned a value of -2, -1, 0, +1, or +2.  The chart of values is:

As the cards are dealt, a running count is kept.  The count does start at 0 and is increased or decreased per the value of the card dealt. You will then need to convert the running count to the true count (optional) before deciding on your bet.

Your running count will revert back to zero once the cards are shuffled.

ACE TRACKING

Fortunately, keeping track of aces on the side is not part of this system because they are given a value within the system.  Snyder figured that accounting for aces with a -1 value, was just as effective as eliminating them from the running count or tracking them separately.  This is what the more advanced players like about the system, one less thing to track.

Whether you’re using the running count or true count, a positive count is the signal to increase your bet and a negative count is the signal to bet the table minimum.  Consequently, as the number increases, you want to increase your bet, in hopes of winning more, and if the count goes negative, bet the minimum or even think of moving to another table.

Try not to dramatically increase your bet if the count increases significantly, because you will probably draw unwanted eyes to your play.  Play with a betting system that will keep your raises moderate, in order to not look like you’re counting cards.

As long as you don’t make wild jumps in betting amounts, you should be okay.  Casinos understand that players will bet more if the cards seem to be “running good,” just don’t let them figure out just how much you know!

FINAL THOUGHTS

The Zen Count system is best used by an experienced card counter who wants to take their skills to the next level.  You can first learn it using the running count, and then take the next step and add the use of the true count.  Lastly, it works well with single deck or multiple deck games.

REVERE POINT COUNT-Blackjack Card Counting

The Revere Point Count (RPC) card counting system was developed by Lawrence Revere and was introduced in his book Playing Blackjack as a Business.  It’s been around since the early 1970s.

Interestingly enough, Lawrence Revere is actually one of the “pen names” of prominent professional blackjack player, Griffin K. Owens.  His other aliases were Paul Mann and Leonard “Speck” Parsons.

There are 3 other systems Revere developed with partner Julian Braun.  Those are: Revere 5 Count, Revere Plus Minus Count and The 10 Count. The Revere Point Count is considered his best.

It is an advanced, level 2, balanced system that can be difficult to master, but is extremely effective.  Because it is considered very powerful and accurate, it is still used to this day.

With the indexes ranging from -2 to +2, and tracking aces encouraged, though not required as part of the system, there is plenty to keep track of during a hand.

Extra math is involved with this because a true count is used, instead of the running count, when determining how to size your bet.

Fortunately, the Revere Point Count system is a balanced system, meaning if you were to count down an entire deck, you would end up with 0 at the end, making it easy to practice by counting down decks.

Considering it was developed during the times of primarily single deck games, it is most effective for that, however, it can be adapted for multiple deck games.

How it Works

Each card in the deck is assigned a value of -2, -1, 0, +1, or +2.  The chart of values is:

As the cards are dealt, a running count is kept.  The count does start at 0 and is increased or decreased per the value of the card dealt. You will then need to convert the running count to the true count before deciding on your bet.

Determining the true count with this system is slightly different than other systems.  With RPC, the true count is determined by dividing the running count by the number of half-decks are left.  For most other true count systems, the running count is divided by the number of full-decks left.

When the next hand is dealt, you add the new card values to the previous running count, not the true count.  But once again, when you’re ready to bet, convert the running count to the true count and bet based on the true count.

Your running count will revert back to zero once the cards are shuffled.

ACE TRACKING

While ace tracking is not a true part of this system, if done, it will increase the effectiveness of the RPC system.  Many advanced players feel it is not necessary because of the inherent effectiveness of the system.

It means extra work to keep a separate count of aces, and the increase in effectiveness is not great enough to justify the extra effort.