Using an advanced card counting strategy can have phenomenal effects. This practice, when implemented properly, can result in something that no other casino game has to offer; turning the advantage over to the player’s favor. Every gambling enthusiast knows what a house edge is. Advanced card counting in blackjack can actually yield a slight "player’s edge".
In this article, we will be discussing a more progressive version of card counting known as the Zen Count. It is more involved than a basic Hi-Lo card counting strategy, using the same method of a positive and negative count, but dividing the valued groups of cards into the 5 groups rather than 3, with values of +2, +1, 0, -1 and -2.
Before attempting to employ or even practice an advanced card counting strategy, it is highly recommended to start with a basic card counting strategy, such as the Hi-Lo count. Doing so will familiarize you with the specifics, the benefits and subsequent betting methods, as well as producing much faster results from the more complex count.
The Zen Count
The Zen Count requires the player to mentally divide the cards into 5 groups, with each group given a numerical value. The groups and values are as follows:
2, 3, 7 = +1
4, 5, 6 = +2
8, 9 = 0
10, J, Q, K = -2
Ace = -1
The idea is to start with a newly shuffled deck of cards and begin the count at 0. For each card that is played, you must follow the value key above and add or subtract the appropriate number. For example, if a 7 is player, add 1; if a 9 is played (value of 0) do nothing; if a King is played, subtract 2, and so on.
To use this counting method on a complete deck of cards will result in a final sum of 0. The object of keeping count is to know how likely you are to be dealt a blackjack. The higher the count goes, the more 10s, face cards and Aces remain in the shoe, thus the more likely a blackjack will land. The lower the count, in the negatives, the worse your odds are.
In laymen’s terms, the higher the count, the higher you should be betting. The lower the count, the lower the bet. When the count drops too low, players are often discouraged from betting at all.
Practice! Practice! Practice!
It is not difficult to keep count of the cards, but in a live casino there can be a lot of distractions, such as the player’s around you. It is important to keep pace with everyone else and appear to be keeping up with everything in the game, even though mentally you are counting and memorizing numbers the whole time. Card counting is not illegal, but casinos are known to kick players out if they are discovered counting cards with any real success. Therefore it is imperative that you practice counting cards, especially with a group of friends, to determine your readiness for counting cards at the blackjack tables in a live casino.