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Knock-Out Blackjack: The Easiest Card-Counting System Ever Devised Paperback – October 1, 1998
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An excellent book for any player looking or one of the easiest and strongest professional-level systems ever published. -- Arnold Snyder, Blackjack Forum
K-O is a simple and powerful card-counting system...clearly and entertainingly presented. -- Edward O. Thorp, Ph.D., Author of Beat the Dealer
This revolutionary card-counting system will KNOCK YOU OUT...and wait until you see how easy it is to use. -- Casino Player, Oct.1998
From the Publisher
An excellent book for any player looking for one of the easiest and stongest professional level systems ever published.
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Top Customer Reviews
But I have finally made my decision, and I feel this advice might help others trying to make the same decision. Is the K-O good enough to learn, or should you look elsewhere? Well, I'm no expert, but I have come to the conclusion, after reading much about counting systems, that it really makes no difference which system you use. The difference in expectation is very small, not to mention the potential for error in the more complicated systems like Omega II or APC. Even in a simpler level-1 count like High-Low, there remains that god-awful true count conversion (more room for error and delay). Of course, if you really want to play professional blackjack, you might want to eventually (or even right from the beginning) move to a balanced count system. But I have decided that while I want to play blackjack with an advantage, I never want the game to become a chore. I don't want to hate playing it. Therefore, it is not necessary for the recreational/casual player to learn anything more than an unbalanced count. Even if it's not the K-O system, you shouldn't worry about learning an advanced balanced count. The K-O system performs on par with all other similar systems, so the decision between which to learn is up to you (there is the Red 7 count and the Black Ace count, for example).
Now, as far as this particular book goes, I think it is fantastically written and presented. I read another review that says the book is poorly organized, but I honestly don't understand where that person is coming from. The book presents the K-O in steps, and by the end you will understand it. (My only complaint is that there are a few incarnations of the K-O count, eventually all coming together to form the K-O Preferred system, and it is not always easy to know what exactly is involved with each incarnation.) It may be necessary to re-read it, but if you plan to seriously learn to count cards, then you should expect to read it several times anyway. Another complaint I saw was that the authors do not explain why they assign the values that they do to particular cards. But this is also simply not true. Vancura and Fuchs give you a chart that shows the player/dealer expectation when certain cards are removed from the pack, and it is on the basis of this information that they assign +1 to 2-7 and -1 to 10, J, Q, K, A.
Anyway, if you are interested in learning a simple but powerful count that will perform well for recreational play, you definitely should read this book. It is wonderful. But not only that, the K-O is also considered a "professional" level count, so it cannot be written-off as a system not to take seriously. There is work to be done to learn it efficiently. And as Stanford Wong said in "Blackjack Secrets" (I believe it was that book), as long as you know a count that keeps track of low cards compared to high cards, then you are using a good system and do not need to move up to one that is supposedly more "powerful". (Of course, he wrote this before the K-O count was created, but I would still include it in his assessment). Besides, these systems that are "more powerful" are only theoretically so, and I think a lot can be said for the fact that because K-O is so simple, it may work more efficiently than even more advanced count systems.
I wrote a simulation that showed that with a 1 to 10 betting spread over 83 million hands, this system averages a 4.46% return - given a 6 deck shoe and the best common casino rules. Given the simplicity of the system, the rate under "real" conditions probably comes much closer to the optimum than most systems.
The only bone I have to pick is that the explanations of the system were a little unclear, but after careful reading I was able to figure it out without too much trouble.
There may be better systems, but this has got to be the best at balancing the human error rate against the efficiency of the system.