Uston SS Card Counting System

The Uston SS is another one of Ken Uston's card counting systems that he invented in the early 1980s. The "SS" in the name stands for "Strongest and Simplest". So the Uston Strongest and Simplest count is actually supposed to be a strategy that meets a compromise between systems with the best strength and which ones are easiest to learn and use while playing a real game.

Ken wasn't the only one who developed this method. In fact, it was also created by Arnold Snyder as well as Sam Case and published in the Gambling Times. The system itself is a multilevel count, which is advanced and works at level III (level 3). This means the indexes range from (-3,-2,-1,0,+1,+2,+3). There are seven numbers that are assigned to the cards in the deck. You can easily see how complicated this can be while playing blackjack and trying to count cards at the same time.

The indices are shown below for the Uston SS count system. The table shows the index distribution for the cards or what count points are assigned to each card. For example, when you see one of these cards dealt, you add or subtract the corresponding count points to your running count, which you are mentally keeping track of in your head. Obviously you will need a good mind in mathematics to be able to add and subtract and not lose the count.

Card Value Points
2 +2
3 +2
4 +2
5 +3
6 +2
7 +1
8 0
9 -1
10 -2
J -2
Q -2
K -2
A -2

Notice that the indexes do not include a -3 point. This is something else that you need to remember while using the Uston SS strategy. Also, this is an unbalanced system so you are starting and ending counts will not be the same. As a matter of fact, this unbalanced inherent property actually makes this system easier. As a general rule, you need to multiply -2 by the number of decks you are playing in order to get your starting count. For example, if you are playing with ten decks in a shoe, the initial count would be -20 on a freshly shuffled deck.

Now if you start the count at -20, you just play blackjack using perfect basic strategy and start counting the cards. Once the count goes above 0, this usually means that you have a 1% advantage over the house. Just by following this general rule of thumb, now you know when you should bet higher when card counting. Note that this guideline is not the same with every game of blackjack and it depends on rule variations, but usually it holds true and it works very conveniently.

Although the Uston SS card counting system is a level III strategy, it is still easier than most other level III and IV systems, which are all very advanced and complex. This one recognizes the aces so you do not need to do a side count, plus it is unbalanced. These two factors alone are great for easing up the work. It is also a very strong system with a 99% correlation with betting. Still, this is not the strongest system out there, but the Uston SS is an awesome balance and many experienced players enjoy using this system.