Revere Advanced Plus Minus System
The Revere Advanced Plus Minus Card Counting system is an advantage play technique for blackjack that was originally presented in Lawrence Revere's book, Playing Blackjack as a Business. It's a simple and straightforward system for beginners, which makes it unusual among the multiple counting systems that Revere published in that book.
This page explains how the system works, how you can use it, and what the pros and cons of the system are.
How The Revere Advanced Plus Minus Card Counting System Works
All card counting systems work by tracking (in an approximate way) the ratio of high cards to low cards in the blackjack deck. When the deck has a higher number of high cards than low cards, the counter raises the size of his bets. When the opposite is true, the counter lowers his bet sizes.
Here's how that works:
- The biggest payoff you can hope for in blackjack is for a natural, or a blackjack. That's a 2 card hand with a total of 21. You can only get dealt a blackjack if you get an ace and a 10.
- If a deck of cards has more aces and 10s in it than usual, your chances of getting dealt a hand with this higher payoff increases, and vice versa.
- By raising your bets when you have a chance of getting that higher payoff, you reverse the odds. Instead of the casino having an edge of 0.5% over you, you have AT LEAST an edge of 0.5% against them. Maybe even as much as 1% or 2%.
- And you don't have to memorize the deck or the cards that have been dealt, either. You just need a system that tracks these numbers in a general way. This is done by assigning values to the high and low cards and tracking a total count as the cards are dealt.
- The high cards count as negative, and the low cards count as positive. The more low cards that have been dealt, the higher the ratio of high cards to low cards gets. And vice versa.
The Revere Advanced Plus Minus Count is a single level, balanced system. You only have to add + or – 1 for each card you see. (Some cards are 0.) And there are an equal number of +1s as there are -1s, so the count at the end of counting through a deck winds up at 0.
When the count is positive, you raise the size of your bets. When it's 0 or negative, you bet the table minimum. The higher the count, the more you bet. It's that simple.
Just remember to start over at 0 when they reshuffle the deck.
How to Use the Revere Advanced Plus Minus System to Get an Edge at Blackjack
The cards in this counting system have the following values:
- 9s and 10s: -1
- 2s, 3s, 4s, 5s, and 6s: +1
- All other cards: 0
When you see those cards, increase or decrease the count accordingly.
This system works best in single deck games. It doesn't really offer any significant advantages over other single level balanced systems. Most card counters are using something similar called the Hi Lo System as their starter counting system, but some players do like Lawrence Revere's approach.
Be more likely to take insurance if the count is positive, but be careful. The casino knows that this is a good indicator that someone might be counting. The reasons for taking insurance in this case should be obvious—with more aces and 10s in the deck, the dealer has a better chance of having a blackjack, too.
Playing Blackjack as a Business and the Pros and Cons of Revere's Systems
Playing Blackjack as a Business is one of our favorite blackjack and card counting books. It features a number of beautifully colored and drawn tables which explain the intricacies of basic strategy and the changes you should make based on the count. An even more interesting but related book is Lance Humble's opus, The World's Greatest Blackjack Book. In it, he relates several anecdotes related to his experiences playing with and learning from Lawrence Revere, who was apparently quite a character. In one story, Revere showed him that he had filched the 5s from a deck of cards and was throwing them away in the bathroom. The 5s have the biggest negative effect on the players' odds of any card in the deck, so by eliminating them from the deck, Revere had insured better odds for all the players at the table. The accuracy of that story is unknown to us.
Most of the systems in Revere's book are quite a bit more complicated than this one. In fact, I'm not sure why he billed this as being "advanced" when he named it. Maybe he thought that would make it seem more valuable to prospective customers.
If you do use it for such purposes, you'll need to convert the running count into a true count. That's not too hard to do—here's a quick primer on that:
The running count is the true count in a single deck game, but in a game with multiple decks, the effect of one card being dealt is diluted by the number of cards in the deck. It's easy to understand how dealing one card has the effect based on 1 card out of 52. But in a game with 2 decks, it's only 1 card out of 104—so it doesn't have as big an effect on your odds. That dilution effect increases with more decks in play.
To account for this, you take the running count and divide it by the number of decks left in the shoe. (You have to learn how to estimate this.) That will give you the true count. It's more complicated this way, but it provides you with a better estimate of your edge. If you raise your bet in an 8 deck game according to the running count, you can run into big trouble.
The Revere Advanced Plus Minus Card Counting System is a little bit of antique in today's advantage play market. It's simple enough to use, but other more modern systems provide a better bang for your buck. The book, Playing Blackjack as a Business is worth reading, though—the presentation is excellent. The author, Lawrence Revere, was one of the true characters of the sport.