In the Knockout Card Counting (KO Count) system, all card values are the same as in the Hi Low system, except for the value of the 7 [take a look at the book Knock Out Blackjack for a more detailed look at the system]. In the KO system, the seven is considered a low card and a plus value, while in the Hi Low system it is considered a neutral card. Another difference between the two strategies is that the KO Count System is not a balanced strategy whether the Hi Low Count and Hi Opt strategies are.
The fact that it is unbalanced makes KO Count a Level One Strategy. This means that if you begin at zero and count down the entire deck using the Knock-Out Card Counting Strategy, you are not going to finish on zero. In the Hi Low method, the seven is neutral –however, it is a plus one in the Knock out blackjack counting method– so it adds four more points to the deck. If you’ve counted the cards correctly with this system, you’ll finish on a positive four.
To use the Knock Out card counting system you will want to keep a running total throughout the game. So if you start at zero and a low card is played, you’ll add one. Now your total is 1. If the next card comes low, add another point; when a high card is dealt you can subtract one. When a new hand is started the count continues — it does not refresh until a new shoe is shuffled. A count that is high in either direction indicates that the deck is heavy on the high or low side. A high positive count indicates smaller cards are left in the deck, while the opposite is true with a high negative count.
Where to begin the KO Count
A formula called “Initial Running Count” or IRC is used to determine what number the count will start on for blackjack rules. If you’re only playing with one deck of cards, the count will begin at zero; however, when using the KO System, the count does not automatically start at zero –you’ll want to refer back to the specific IRC for your situation.
As with any blackjack card counting system, you will want to practice the system at home with a deck of cards over and over again until you have it perfected. To cross check yourself, remember that after you’ve counted down the entire deck you’ll end up with a positive 4. You need to be able to keep a running count of the cards without moving your lips, pausing or making any expensive mathematical mistakes.
Once you’ve become accustomed to this system, there are some things that you can effectively train yourself to do to pick up your counting time.
Tips to improve your game
Train yourself to recognize cards that cancel each other; for instance: a negative card cancels out a positive. So a two and a king would cancel each other out.
Deal and learn to count cards in pairs, using this method like flash cards. Once you train your brain to know that 2 + k = 0 and k + k equals 2 and so forth, you will find your counting time significantly reduced. A good goal when playing blackjack for real money would be to count an entire deck two cards at a time in 25030 seconds.