The 10 Count Blackjack Card Counting System

One of the first Blackjack card counting systems was developed by Edward Oakley Thorp, a retired mathematics professor originally from Chicago. Edward’s 10 Count system is considered by many to be the grandfather of all card counting formulas for the game of Blackjack. While the 10-Count system wasn’t the first, it is regarded as the first mathematically sound system devised to gain an edge at the Blackjack tables. Like many well noted Blackjack experts Edward had an extensive education history. Edward was truly a pioneer in the mathematical analysis of the game of Blackjack. He used an IBM 704, introduced in 1954, to develop and test the 10 Count system. This system was detailed in Thorp’s book “Beat The Dealer”, which was originally published in 1962. In 1966 Thorp and a computer genius named Julian Braun developed the Hi-Lo Blackjack card counting system which replaced the 10 Count system.


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The 10 Count system was designed for single deck Blackjack, so it’s applicable uses are few these days. You might not be able to use this system in Las Vegas, but if a buddy ever offers to deal Blackjack at a home poker game the 10 Count system will come in handy. In any event this article will provide you with an elementary understanding of card counting in Blackjack.

How To Use The 10 Count Blackjack System

The Thorpe 10 Count system does not require you to memorize every card that has been played. It is a rather simple method of determining when you have an edge and when you do not. At the beginning of a fresh deck of cards you will not have any advantage or disadvantage in a hand of Blackjack, if you disregard the house edge inherent in this game. Once you have played several hands the 10 Count system enables you to determine if the remaining cards are in your favor. The 10 Count system assigns a number to each card rank. There are only two different values in the 10-Count system. 10 point cards have a value of -9 and the rest are valued at +4. As you work through the deck you must pay close attention and keep track of the running total.

If the running total is in the positive that means that your odds of receiving a 10 point card are higher. When the remaining deck has a higher number of 10 point cards remaining than average this slightly favors the player. This information is useful when deciding how much you want to wager. When the count is at 0 that means that there are 2.5 +4 point cards for every one 10 point card. Here is an example:

  • Player 1: 3d-5s-3c-5h
  • Player 2: Js-Qd
  • Player 3: 4s-5d-Ah
  • You: 10c-9h
  • Dealer: 3s-6d-8h

In this situation the running count is +17. By placing larger bets while the count is in the positive you will effectively be eliminating the house edge the casino has in Blackjack and in some case you can even push the edge in your favor.