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Q: Card Counting - a historic curiousity ( No Answer,   6 Comments )
Subject: Card Counting - a historic curiousity
Category: Science > Math
Asked by: merlocke-ga
List Price: $5.00
Posted: 15 Jun 2006 23:01 PDT
Expires: 15 Jul 2006 23:01 PDT
Question ID: 738619
I'd love to learn the old MIT Card Counting system for BlackJack.
If anyone has the information, please drop me a line. I know that
Vegas has already created counters and what not against it, etc - but
it's more for "Just Knowing" how it works, like magic tricks, that
drive me nuts.

Request for Question Clarification by pafalafa-ga on 16 Jun 2006 19:43 PDT
Here's a good writeup on the MIT team of card counters:

though it sounds as if you'll need to take one of their courses -- or
at least, buy one of their books -- to get more details on the actual
system used.

Let me know if that's helpful,


Clarification of Question by merlocke-ga on 20 Jun 2006 10:55 PDT
Hi pafalafa,

Well it's a start. I guess there isn't some handy MIT system handbook
out there in the public domain as of yet. I'm currently sharpening my
skills on the red 7 count system, but was hoping to see the guts of
what caused the MIT one to gain so much popularity.
There is no answer at this time.

Subject: Re: Card Counting - a historic curiousity
From: myoarin-ga on 16 Jun 2006 01:57 PDT
I am sure a site can be found that explains.  Basically, one just
notes mentally the cards that have been played, thus knowing the cards
remaining in the dealer's hand, which allows one to greatly increase
his odds at reckoning if he will be dealt a low card or face card as
the game progresses.
Subject: Re: Card Counting - a historic curiousity
From: kottekoe-ga on 16 Jun 2006 07:29 PDT
I don't know the details, but memorizing every card that has been
played from a stack of multiple decks is a tall order. The schemes
that I have seen involve counting aces and face cards and then
memorizing rather complex tables of when to take a hit, when to stay,
and when to make large bets. My guess is that the highly successful
MIT group had a very complex counting scheme that took a great deal of
training and memorization.

The key is making large variations in the size of the bet, so that you
are only making substantial bets when the odds are clearly in your
favor after many cards have been played. Unfortunately, this betting
behavior is very unusual and easy for the dealers to detect. The
standard ploy is to have teams of players involving low bettors and
high bettors. The low bettors relinquish their seats to the high
bettors only when the odds are clearly in their favor.
Subject: Re: Card Counting - a historic curiousity
From: thither-ga on 16 Jun 2006 13:31 PDT
I think you'll find the following link informative:

Have a good day.
Subject: Re: Card Counting - a historic curiousity
From: berkeleychocolate-ga on 16 Jun 2006 19:20 PDT
The first system was invented by Thorpe (James, I think) approximately
in 1963. He wrote a book called "Beat the Dealer". His basic idea was
that one should keep track of ten-count cards (10,J,Q,K) that had been
played since the last shuffle and the non-tens: two numbers. All his
decision tables were based on the ratio of these two numbers. When the
deck is unusually rich in ten-count cards, everyone has a higher
chance of going broke when drawing a card. The dealer must draw on 16.
The player doesn't have to. This makes conservative play more
profitable with a ten-rich deck. That's when you increase your bet

He arrived at his tables by computer simulation. One drawback is that
one had to keep a running count of two numbers and make approximations
all the time to one decimal place of the ratio and to memorize all the
critical ratios. This made play difficult. I remember trying it at the
time. I got my Dad to sit in front of me to slow down the process so I
would have time to do the necessary calculations. I did not get rich.

I don't know about the MIT system, but there were several improvements
on Thorpe's basic ideas after him.
Subject: Re: Card Counting - a historic curiousity
From: stanmartin1952-ga on 17 Jun 2006 13:16 PDT
There are two ads on card counting on this page.
Subject: Re: Card Counting - a historic curiousity
From: jack_of_few_trades-ga on 19 Jun 2006 06:13 PDT
The counting of 10s vs low cards (3,4,5,6) only requires you to
remember 1 number [low cards minus 10s].  When this number is greatly
positive then there are alot of 10s left in the deck, this is when you
bet much greater amounts.  I won some money doing this.  It does take
some practice, and winning is far from consistent.  This is a long
term technique and you will have many ups and downs in your cash when
attempting it, but in the long run you will come out slightly
One website I read said that playing the odds without counting cards
you lose 50 cents per 100 dollars bet on average.  With counting cards
and adjusting your bet accordingly you can win 50 cents per $100.

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