new member and a couple of quick questions
  • Dear All,

    Although I just registered, I've thoroughly enjoyed reading and learning much about our favorite game from this site for the past couple of months. I fell in love with the game in Vegas last May. A friend of mine bought me Ed Thorp's book and I learned Basic Strategy. Using that strategy alone, I ended up $150 after four days by quickly cashing out after I got up 3-4 units ($5 and $10).

    Since that time, I've tried to learn the Hi-Lo counting method that Thorp introduced, however I realized the difficulty of trying to estimate the number of remaining decks. So although I learned how to accurately count the running count in a 6 deck game, I had trouble accurately estimating the true count. Then I read about these unbalanced methods such as the KO and the KISS-III methods that eliminate this disadvantage. Since I found out about these methods, I did some searches to see how they assigned values to the cards. I'd like to choose one of these that will be the easiest to apply. Here is what I determined from my research:

    The KISS is easier than the KO in that you don't have negative running counts...How many times have we all gotten caught up in a pivotal decision only to lose concentration and make mistakes when the count went from positive to negative and vice versa. It would seem to me that the KISS would have an advantage here.

    The KO however, is closer to the hi- lo in the points that are assigned to the cards with the only difference being a 7, which is counted as +1 in the KO. The KISS III also assigns a +1 to the 7, but adds an additional wrinkle of complexity in that red 2's get a value of zero rather than +1. Coming from the hi-lo, I think this would really take some getting used to and the KO seems to have an advantage for me here.

    My question to the list is: which system would you recommend? I've thoroughly enjoyed Fred's posts on this list as well as his very thoughtful articles he has written online. I think his system will elminate mistakes by keeping a positive running count but will increase the complexity for me as I've never treated black and red 2s differently. I honestly don't know which would the best choice for me and I'm seeking your advice.

    I'm going to Vegas for the weekend and will either buy Fred's book or the KO book...which would you buy?

    Thanks so much
  • Msfurness,

    If you like everything about KO except the negative counting, that can be taken care of very easily. All you have to do is shift the initial running count, key count and pivot point into positive numbers to begin with. Here's how I do it: In an 8 deck game, my IRC is 28 which makes the KC 50 and the PP 60. For 6 decks, the numbers are 36,52 and 60. I find this easy for a few reasons. First of all, no negative counting. Secondly, 50 and 60 are good even numbers to remember. And the betting system set forth in the KO book is also easier (at least for me) with these new numbers. In an 8 deck game, bet 1 unit for any count of 49 or lower. 2 units for counts of 50, 51 and 52. 3 for 53, 4 for 54, 5 for 55... right up to 10 for 60. For 6 decks it's just 2 for 52, 3 for 53... again up to 10 for 60. And in both instances, insurance should be taken at 59.

    I've read Fred Renzey's book and enjoyed it very much. I read Knock-out first though, which is why I use that method. The red and black 2s of KISS seem like it would take a little while to get the hang of. Although I'm sure after a while it would just come naturally.

    I hope this helps.

  • Leon,

    Thanks so much for your suggestion. Your suggestion really makes sense. Having said that, I think I will just buy both of the books as I've really enjoyed reading Renzey's posts and articles. But right now, my long term goal is to go with the KO. I tried practicing the KO and had little trouble adjusting from the hi-lo. I tried practicing counting a simple deck with those red and black 2's of the KISS system and it kept throwing me off. But since I knew the hi-lo running count system cold where you never have to pay attention to the color, it makes sense that a change like that would be difficult.

    Thanks again for your help and all the best to you,
  • There's virtually no performance difference in the two systems, so I think whichever you're more comfortable with is the way to go. Both are quality unbalanced systems and quality books.

    One thing I like about the Renzey count is that your "pivot" is at a true count of +2, with KO its at +4. Since conditions are at or near a count of +2 more often than +4, Renzey's count is giving you exact information a little more often.

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