Unbalanced Blackjack Systems

Unbalanced Blackjack Systems
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In 1969, a Berkeley math professor, using the pseudonym “Jacques Noir,” wrote a book called Casino Holiday, which contained an “unbalanced” ten count system which required no true count conversions. Within a few years, more refined versions of Noir’s running count system were published by Stanley Roberts, and then John Archer. The power of the Noir count derives from its built-in imbalance, which makes it very simple to play. Tens are counted as -2, and all non-tens, including aces, are counted as +1.

We call this an unbalanced count because of the value of the complete deck, when all point values are added together, does not equal zero. Because of the imbalance, however, no true count adjustments are necessary for many important playing decisions.
If you count down a deck using this count, any time your running count is +4, then the ratio of non-tens to tens is exactly 2 to 1, making this running count a perfect insurance indicator. This count has one major weakness—its betting efficiency: that is, the count is weak at telling you how much to bet. The ten-count has a betting correlation of only 72%. Compare this to the Hi-Lo count’s 97% correlation.

Quite a few players still chose to use this unbalanced ten-count, despite its betting weakness, because they did not consider their abilities in making true-count conversions to be very accurate anyway. Both Roberts and Archer advised players to keep a side-count of aces, which could greatly improve the poor betting efficiency of the Noir count, but because it was that much more difficult to keep a side count, then use it to adjust the primary count, many Noir counters simply ignored their advice.

Why I asked myself, was this unbalanced ten-count, which had been around for more than a decade, the only unbalanced count system ever invented? Why not an unbalanced point count system designed to indicate perfect betting by running count, rather than perfect insurance?

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