The KO (Knockout) Card Counting System

If you are already familiar with Hi/Lo and other basic counting systems, it may be time to learn a new system. This page discusses the Knockout card counting system.

Balanced versus Unbalanced Card Counts

Card counting systems are either balanced or unbalanced. Balanced means counting through an entire deck of cards will bring you to a count of zero (as at the start). An unbalanced count brings you to a number other than zero. Beginner counting systems such as the Hi/Lo system are balanced. The most well-known unbalanced system is the KO or Knockout system.

Unbalanced systems, in general, should not be tried by beginners. This is because it is harder to detect your errors when counting through a deck of cards. However, the KO system is an easy count to use even though it is unbalanced. The downside to this is it is slightly less accurate than the Hi/Lo count.

The Knockout Count

The KO system is not a counting method for boxing knockdowns. It is a blackjack counting system. This count is described in the book "Knockout Blackjack" by Olaf Vancura and Ken Fuchs.

Here is the value table for the KO system:

Card Value 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 +1 8, 9 0 10, Ace -1

The Knockout system is identical to the basic Hi/Lo count except that the 7 card is given a value of +1 just like the low cards. Since there are four cards of this denomination in a single deck, the final count after one deck is +4.

Its developers claim that the KO system makes it possible to eliminate the need to convert from running count to true count.

The Knockout system sacrifices accuracy for convenience. It is good for the casual player who wants to use a friendly system. But it is not the most accurate count available. It is, however, still useful. If you are only playing blackjack for fun, this is a good system to try.

Practice Counting with the KO

Now you can practice the Knockout system with a single deck. Deal one card at a time and count according to the table given previously. Below is an example sequence of dealt cards and how they should be counted.

Sequence 8, 2, 3, J, 9, 5, 6 Value 0 0, +1, +2, +1, +1, +2, +3

When you get to the end of the deck, your final count must be +4. If it is not +4, you made an error in your count. Repeat until you can count flawlessly using the Knockout system in 30-40 seconds.

This is the Knockout card counting system. It is the simplest of the unbalanced systems.

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