by Norm Wattenberger

Glossary/Card Counting FAQ

What do all those terms mean?

  • Betting Correlation – BC is defined as the correlation between card point values and the effect of removal of cards. It is used to predict how well a counting system predicts good betting situations and can approach 1.00 (100% correlation). BC is particularly important in shoe games (six or eight decks).
  • Cover/Camouflage – Betting or playing in a manner meant to hide that you are a card counter.
  • DAS – Double after Split allowed. This rule allows doubling down on hands that have been created by splitting a pair.
  • Depth – The number of cards or rounds that have been dealt so far.
  • Flooring – In True Count calculations, rounds fractional numbers down.
  • H17 – Dealer hits soft–17
  • Hi-Lo – The Hi-Lo Blackjack strategy is a Level 1, balanced strategy optimized for betting originally created by Harvey Dubner in 1963. The Hi-Lo strategy was later refined by Julian Braun, published by Edward Thorp and published again by Stanford Wong.
  • Ill18 – Illustrious 18 are the 18 most important indexes as defined by Don Schlesinger.
  • KO – KO stands for Knock Out Blackjack and also Ken and Olaf, the designers of the KO Count. A very easy, yet powerful, unbalanced strategy optimized for betting.
  • Level – The level of a strategy refers to the number of different positive values assigned to cards. For example, Hi-Lo assigns -1, 0 or +1 to cards and therefore is a level 1 strategy. Level 2 and 3 counting strategies are more efficient, but quite a bit more difficult for most people. Level 4 & 5 card counting strategies also exist. But this is overkill.
  • LS – Late Surrender allowed. The common form of Surrender. The player can Surrender a hand (throw it in) for half of the bet after the dealer has checked for Blackjack. If the dealer is not allowed to peek and does not know if there is a dealer Blackjack then the Surrender occurs only after the dealer checks for Blackjack and finds that it does not exist.
  • Penetration – the minimum number of cards dealt before a shuffle.
  • Playing Efficiency – PE indicates how well a counting system handles changes in playing strategy. Playing efficiency is particularly important in hand–held games (one or two decks).
  • Risk of Ruin – The probability that you will lose your entire bankroll.
  • Round – In True Count calculations, round fractions to the closest integer. Round up if exactly between two integers.
  • Running Count – The sum of the tag values for all cards seen in the shoe.
  • SCORE – Standardized Comparison of Risk and Expectation. This is a methodology used to rate Blackjack strategies and games that includes risk. Essentially it is your win rate in dollars per hour assuming 100 hands per hour and a $10,000 bankroll using optimal betting and a risk of ruin of 13.5%.
  • Spread – Your maximum bet divided by your minimum bet.
  • Sweet 16 & Fab 4 – The 18 most important indexes minus splitting Tens. Most card counters avoid splitting Tens as it is noticed by pit bosses. Plus the Fabulous 4 top 4 Surrender indexes.
  • True Count – The running count usually divided by the number of remaining decks. Some card counting strategies divide by remaining half–quarter or double decks and other methods of calculation also exist.
  • Truncate – In True Count calculations, for positive numbers, round fractional numbers down and for negative numbers round up.

Where are all the numbers?

I decided not to publish the numbers behind the charts because they can change substantially depending on numerous variables. The attempt here is to describe general relationships — not exact numbers. I also did not want to get into long discussions on the fourth decimal point of some number.:)

How were the charts created?

  • Penetration charts were created with the Casino Verite CVCX Blackjack simulator Charts function.
  • Bankroll/Hands/Risk charts were created with the Risk Calculators function of the CVData and CVCX Blackjack simulators.
  • Shuffle Tracking charts were created with the CVData/ST simulator.
  • All other charts were created with the CVData custom charting function.
  • For practice software see Casino Verite Blackjack Card Counting Games.
  • For a comparison of strategies see Card Counting Strategies.


copyright © 2007, 2024, Norm Wattenberger, All rights reserved