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Blackjack: know the basics of the Knock-out system in blackjack

Blackjack: know the basics of the Knock-out system in blackjack


Card counting is often seen as a form of magic. When players mention card counting, there is almost always a hush in the room. Half of the people believe that it is impossible to do and the other half believe that you will be instantly arrested. The facts are that both halves are completely wrong. Card counting is possible – it is very difficult to do at a high level though.

It is also completely legal. While counting cards and keeping a running count takes a huge amount of practice to master, there are certain strategies that can make it an easier task. One of the most popular is the Knock-out system, which is mainly used for blackjack. So, how exactly do you use the Knock-out system, and how well does it work?

How to carry out the Knock-out system

The Knock-out system is one of the most widespread card counting systems around. Just like other card counting systems, it does not require the ability to memorise specifics in terms of which cards have come out of the deck and which are left. It uses an estimation method that attaches a score to the deck. This score is then used to calculate what level you should be setting your wagers at.

It should be used in conjunction with basic blackjack strategy to ensure that you maximise your potential for winning. This means that essentially, the Knock-out system is a bankroll management system, but it does guide basic blackjack strategy at times. If the point score of the deck means that blackjack strategy is less likely to be successful, you can change the way that you would normally play in order to increase your own edge against the house.

The Knock-out system is one of the simplest card counting systems out there and as such it does sacrifice a small amount of accuracy. However, it does offer players who are new to blackjack and card counting the ability to learn a card counting system that will improve their chances of winning.

The system itself is incredibly simple to understand – it is putting it into practice that is difficult. For the system, the Ace, royal cards and 10 are all worth -1. The 2 through to the 7 are all worth +1. The 8 and 9 are worth 0. Depending on how many decks the game starts with depends on what your score starts at. For one deck, the score starts at 0; for two decks, the score starts at -4; for six decks, your score starts at -20; and for eight decks, your score starts at -28.

When the game is running, you will update your score based on the cards that are dealt out. In order to get the true score, you just need to divide your current score by the number of decks that you think are left in the shoe. Then, based on what your score is, you will adjust your wager accordingly. If the score is low, then you will decrease your wager. If the score is high, then you will increase your wager. It really is as simple as that.

Does it work?

The Knock-out system does increase the edge in favour of players. This means that in terms of being effective, it is more successful than just using basic blackjack strategy alone. However, the player edge can be improved even more by combining the knowledge of the Knock-out system with basic blackjack strategy to know the right moves to make in every situation.

If you manage to do this, then the house edge will be decreased by much more than just using hunches and intuition to make your blackjack decisions. There is a slight issue with that though. There are more effective card counting systems out there that would take a similar amount of time to master as combining the Knock-out system and basic blackjack strategy. So, despite it offering an excellent introduction to card counting for beginner players, there are a number of other options out there that offer a superior system for more advanced players.

This is not to disparage the Knock-out system. It will improve your playing, and for beginners, it is definitely one of the best methods out there to start learning how to count cards efficiently.

Is it for blackjack only?

The Knock-out system, and all card counting systems in general, are solely useful for blackjack. This is mainly based around the fact that it is the only game where you can see all of the cards that have been dealt and you are in charge of all of your own decisions. Even though baccarat is a very similar game and poker requires having an idea of what cards are coming next, card counting is not particularly helpful in these situations.

This means that if you do not play blackjack, then learning any card counting system is unlikely to offer you any benefits. Because of this, stick to tried-and-tested methods to improve your chances with other games and only use card counting systems when playing blackjack.

The best online casino to play blackjack

When it comes to finding the best place to play blackjack online, there is only one real choice. Bitcasino offers the best selection of online blackjack in both standard and live versions. If you are a lover of blackjack, or if you have just mastered the Knock-out system, then a visit to Bitcasino is the only choice to make.

It is more than just blackjack that is on offer at Bitcasino though. We have a wide range of other games. If you love video slots, or find the realism of live casino games enthralling, then here at Bitcasino, we have a wide selection available for you. No matter what games you like to play, we can provide something for you – there is literally something for everyone at Bitcasino. A trip to Bitcasino will make your day!

Words: Sean McNulty

Images: Shutterstock


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Blackjack: know the basics of the Knock-out system in blackjack
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