Card counting has become very popular in recent years, mainly because of all the television shows and movies that make it seem so easy. In reality counting cards in blackjack is very difficult and few people can do it well. The KO count was developed to address this problem. It is a simplified version of counting cards that is probably more effective for most players than the more complicated methods that they can’t do correctly.
The KO count was developed primarily because players were having such a hard time with the traditional hi-lo count system that is normally used. The KO count is a little bit easier to implement however it does come with a trade off in the fact that you lose some of the edge that you would otherwise be getting. If you are familiar with the hi-lo count you know that high cards are given a value of negative one, low cards a value of plus one and neutral cards are given a value of zero. The KO count works the same way except that seven is considered to be a low card with a value of plus one rather than a neutral card.
The bigger difference between the KO count and hi-lo count is the fact that the KO count doesn’t require you to keep the true count. This is where most people will get into trouble; it is hard enough keep the running count without having to figure out how many cards are left in the deck. The KO count doesn’t worry about this and you will make your bets based solely on the running count. Obviously this make it much easier to keep the count but it does come with the trade off that you will lose some of the accuracy of the count.
When betting you are going to want to increase your bet whenever the count is in your favor. As a general rule you should be increasing the amount that you bet by the amount that the count is in your favor. So if the count is zero you would be one unit, two units if the count is one and so on. This is the basic idea however you may want to increase your bets by even more than that when the odds are in your favor.
Counting cards is not easy; in fact it is very difficult. Anything that can make it simpler is probably a benefit for most people. While the KO count is not the optimal strategy available it is the best option most of the time. A less than optimal strategy that can actually be used properly is much more effective than an optimal strategy that you get wrong. That being said do not assume that the KO count is easy, it takes a lot of practice to get good at it.
I’m Jason Rockwell. When I’m not winning playing online poker, I enjoy writing about my love of the game. Thanks for visiting!