KO Count

K.O. Count is a strategy for playing Blackjack which is designed to give the player a slight advantage by helping them to predict when they are likely to be dealt strong hands. With this knowledge, one can make more accurate decisions about when to bet larger amounts, thus increasing total overall profit.

K.O. Count falls under the category of Blackjack card counting. It is not specifically illegal, because it relies on the skill of the player deploying it to be successful. It’s a fine point, though, because casinos don’t like players to card count, as it places the advantage with the player.

Multi Decks

Casinos are aware of the phenomenon of card counting – considering the millions of dollars they have lost to card counters, they could hardly not be. Since it’s a mental skill, they can’t ban it outright, but they do try and make it more difficult to pull off.

One of the ways they do this is by filling a card shoe with multiple decks of cards – it’s not uncommon to find 4 or even 8 decks in one shoe. Since there are now up to 416 cards in play (instead of 52), how do you deploy a card counting system?

Simple. You use the K.O. System.

K.O. Count to the Rescue

The K.O. Count is what is know as an “unbalanced” system. Many traditional card counting techniques operate on the assumption that if you deal through all 52 cards, counting accurately, you will wind up with a running count of 0.

But the K.O. Count system deliberately offsets the values applied to certain cards. Additionally, it employs what some people like to call “starting indices” – kick-off numbers that are larger than 0. The K.O. Count system sets the starting index to the number of decks in the shoe.

This offset, combined with a point system that’s more brutal than the popular Hi-Lo Count method, yet just as easy to learn, makes K.O. capable of handling multi deck Blackjack.

How The K.O. Card Counting System Works

K.O. Count works much like the popular system Hi Lo Count, with one exception: 7s are considered positive. You start by determining your Initial Running Count, which is based on the number of decks being used. 1 deck? Set it at 0. For 2 decks, set it at -4. For 6 decks, at -20, and at -28 for a big casino 8 deck shoe.

Then, as the cards are dealt, look at all the visible face cards, and based on what they are, either add to or subtract from your initial number.

Card values are as follows. For 2s through 7s, add 1 to your count. Ignore 8s and 9s. For 10s through the Ace, subtract 1.

The system is not foolproof, but is a good way of getting a statistical idea of when it’s a good idea to bet high. And this point is revealed what your running total currently is.

The trigger point varies depending on your Initial value, but it’s +2 in a single deck, +2 in a double deck, -4 for a 6 deck shoe, and -6 for an 8 deck shoe. Regardless of the deck, higher numbers reveal a more primed deck.

Blackjack Attack – Playing the Pros’ Way (2005) by Don Schlesinger is a sophisticated book aimed at advanced card counters. Click here for more detail on it in our blackjack media section.