KO System - Effective or Not?

Ive pretty much been studying the KO system but havent tried it out in a casino yet. It seems to be logical and make sense.. just wanted to see what people's thoughts on it are... also would like to hear from KO users who are successful with it and don't use any other system.. If anyone is interested in the system but hasnt heard of it the website for it is www.koblackjack.com (Archive copy) ...
I just used KO for the first time in combat conditions -- after months of practicing. For me it seems to be a good system and is effective. I was a straight basic strategy player for many years and now use KO as my count preference. This board generally has a good opinion of KO, including The Mayor. The one critcism that I have heard about KO is that there are other count systems that are more powerful and accurate. KO is good for the casual player seems to be the general consensus. For me it works fine and I have no complaints. Good luck.


Well-Known Member
I fit your criteria pretty well. Been using KO about three years, have not tried any other system, though I have read a lot about the characteristics and pros and cons of most of the popular systems. I have gradually customized, learned 25 indices, and exit strategy. All these things are in the book. You don't have to learn them all at once. My experience has been positive and I would recommend KO for anyone, at least up to the serious recreational level.
The newer books often mention KO and give it positive ratings, comparing well with other level one systems and with the advantage of simplicity.
Hope this helps.
(P.S. See also my post above in response to "How many hours" )
Well about other systems being more accurate i don't know about that.. because if you read in some chapters of the KO book.. it says that other more difficult systems can fatigue you with the difficult counts you need to keep so can lead you to make more mistakes in your count therefore your count can be inaccurate... or even simple systems like the Hi/Lo can be inaccurate because when you convert the running count to the true count.. your "estimating" how many decks are left in the shoe (i'm on the east coast so only 6 and 8 deck games here) ... since your estimating (guessing pretty much no matter how good of a guess it is.. still a guess) you don't have a absolute totally accurate count... as for the KO system.. your only keeping one count.. running count of course.. no conversion to true count .. and if your a good counter and dont' miss any cards in your count i cant see how they can say the KO system can be innaccurate <shrugs> ... anyways want to hear other thoughts... if you check out the KO website (www.koblackjack.com) ... im thinking about getting there simulation software to practice.. do any of you have it and how is the software in your opinion? ..


Active Member
I use it...and love it!

I, too, was a ploppy using BS for a number of years. Last August I decided to take my game to the next level.

I got and read all the books, got involved on the websites, and was, generally a sponge for information on counting.

Knockout is NOT a sissy in the blackjack counting world. It holds its' own with the best of them. Don Schlesinger has since come around to espouse its' virtues.

You have to remember, KO was not around when Anthony Curtis, Wong, Schlesinger, Andersen and some of the more renowned Pros started. Because they don't use it, doesn't make it an inferior system. Many of them, probably would have, if it was around then. Check Blackjack Attack for comparisons...

Anyway, back to my story. I practiced and practiced and started in the casinos playing KO from the 1st of January, this year. I have played 60 hours using the system and my results are +17 units. Results don't mean anything here, just wanted to show how I have done, since I am relatively new.

Here's something to consider in addition to the other things that have been posted here. Yes, KO is an unbalanced system...and yes, there is less fatigue due to TC conversions, etc...but the best part, I believe is this...COVER.

Most surveillance crews know only Hi-Lo so if you use any system other than that, it will throw them off. Most people don't consider this, but once you get to green/black action, anything for cover helps...

The biggest downside with KO is wonging in. At a 6 deck game you start at -20 and -24 for the 8 deckers...it takes forever, sometimes, to get to a positive count.

I play only DD games, so it is not as bad.

Hope this helps...my 2-cents!


Well-Known Member
Re: I use it...and love it!


Above you said: "Most surveillance crews know only Hi-Lo so if you use any system other than that, it will throw them off. Most people don't consider this, but once you get to green/black action, anything for cover helps..."

I would have to say that this is not really true. It does not matter if you are using High/Lo, KO or Red7 (like me) the biggest give away is the bet variation. And as we all know the basis of any count is to tell us when we have a deck (or shoe) rich in 10's and changing the bet accordingly. So it does not matter what your count is, although some counts may tell us this better than others, this is what is looked for to detect a counter.

As I mentioned above I use the Red7 count which is also an unbalanced count devised by Arnold Snyder and presented in Blackbelt in Blackjack. It is also documented to perform very well and has severed my needs as a recreational counter extremely well.

Good luck,
Re: I use it...and love it!

I heard that a drawback to the Red 7 system is that you have to keep a separate count for 7 cards that are red (diamond and heart) ... in a multiple deck game.. could be a drawback.. but i heard the KO authors got inspiration for their system from the Red 7 system <shrugs> ... anyways how many months/hours did you practice before attempting the KO system in a casino environment... if i havent mentioned it yet i plan to get the KO software that complements the book for training/practice...


Active Member
It was my opinion...

Like I said, I am NEW...but, most people upstairs do use Hi-Lo and you're right, bet variation plays a big part, but it sure can't hurt to be playing any other system BESIDES Hi-Lo...

Now how much it helps (or doesn't help), I leave that for you pros...


Well-Known Member
Re: I use it...and love it! *LINK*

"I heard that a drawback to the Red 7 system is that you have to keep a separate count for 7 cards that are red (diamond and heart)"

Actually you do not keep a seperate count for the red 7's it is just that they are added as +1 and the black 7s are ignored. It is still just one running count. This becomes second nature after you practice it, just like knowing that a 3 adds 1 to the running count.

Tags are:
A -1
10 -1
9 0
8 0
B7 0
R7 1
6 1
5 1
4 1
3 1
2 1

Now here is the beauty of the RED7 over KO.

The initial starting count (IRC) is -2 per deck. If you were playing a six deck shoe your IRC is -12 (i.e. 6 x -2). Double deck game the IRC = -4. The KO system has you remember various numbers depending on the number of decks you play.

By using this to determine your IRC and the card tags given above your pivot point (when you start to get the advantage) is always zero now matter how many decks are in play! In KO they call this key count and again have you remember different numbers depending on the number of decks in play.

I also initially started out looking at using KO, actually still have the book, but then on the Cardcounter Cafe many years ago Zengrifter suggested that I look into this count. I'm glad that I did and have had good success with it over the 4 or 5 years that I have used it.

Good Luck,


Well-Known Member
From a newbie to others regarding count systems

Just a little note here:

It has often been repeated to me that to really get good at this endeavor...before you start considering other counts, you should play with Hi-Lo for 200 hours at the table.

Why do that? Because it's the standard by which all other counts are measured. If you drill it into your brain, you have built a foundation of knowledge...

Then you'll be ready to consider the Red Sevens or KO or Zen or any of the other counts out there.

If you're like me...you're always thinking faster, higher, harder....what will give you that extra edge?

In the long run...the biggest edge comes from unshakable knowledge gained by experience. In order to get that, you have to slow down a bit and pay your dues by learning the fundamentals.

Have I looked at KO and other unbalanced counts? Yep. Will I learn to use them? Yep.....after a few more hours of Hi-Lo. Should I throw caution to the wind and just learn KO before I've put in my hours on Hi-Lo? Well, if I listen to and trust the opinion of the pros...absolutely not.


Well-Known Member
Re: From a newbie to others regarding count systems


If you learn and get proficient at the HiLo count then I would say you would not want to take a step back and learn Red7 or KO unless you are looking for an easier count.

HiLo needs a TC conversion and is a little more difficult than using a unbalanced count at the tables. But yes, it is the "industry standard".

Re: From a newbie to others regarding count systems

I really dont see the reason for learning the Hi/Lo so u can master KO, Red or other counts... like Pill said Hi/Lo uses 2 counts... a running count that then converts to a True count... KO and Red7 are strictly unbalanced counting systems that only utilizes a running count.. no conversion.. so if you can add or subtract 1 thats all there is to it.. no dividing by estimating how many decks are left in play <shrugs> .. if your playing/practicing 200 hours of Hi/Lo and have mastered it.. then there is no sense in mastering KO or Red7... unless like Pill said you want to go backwards and use a unbalanced simplier system ... without 2 counts... the running count in Hi/Lo is pretty much same as KO/Red7 .. 10 - A = -1 ... 2,3,4,5,6,7 = +1 ... 8,9 = 0 in KO ... and Pill already described Red7 which if i remember right.. its 10-A = -1 ... 2,3,4,5,6,7R = +1 ... 7B,8,9 = -1 ... so if you only learn the running count with a small variation (7R is +1 and 7B is 0) depending on the system you dont need to master the Hi/Lo to master the unbalanced 1 level systems... you either prefer one or the other.. <shrugs> ....


Well-Known Member
Re: From a newbie to others regarding count systems

"and Pill already described Red7 which if i remember right.. its 10-A = -1 ... 2,3,4,5,6,7R = +1 ... 7B,8,9 = -1"

Should be 7B,8,9 = 0



Well-Known Member
Re: From a newbie to others regarding count systems

I'll be learning KO after I perfect Hi-Lo purely for the sake of knowledge and flexibility. The fact is...it might be helpful to me at some point to change counts...

I don't think that there's any harm in learning the hardest skill first, then building up less taxing skills as feathers in my proverbial cap.

I know people who can keep two or three counts running simultaneously. I know people who change their count mid-play to accomodate their needs.

How you choose to do it is up to you...and clearly everyone learns differently. I was just passing on the advice *I'd* been given by those far more proficient than myself.