Zen Card Counting System

The Zen count is another type of card counting system used by some of the advanced players in order to get an edge over the casino in probability odds. The Zen system is just one of many other types of systems out there but it uses different indices or assigns different numbers for each card value. This system is also at an intermediate level of difficulty because you are adding and subtracting more than just +1 and -1, which is a level-one or single level count style.

The Zen card counting system is a type of multilevel count or an advanced level II count because the numbers range from (-2,-1,0,+1,+2). Still this system is not the hardest to learn so the difficulty is not that bad. This system first became popular in a book called "Blackbelt in Blackjack" by Arnold Snyder. He described the Zen count in great detail in his book and shows the reader how to get good at it and learn the system down well.

The index or count distributions that you should use in this system are shown below in the chart. The column on the left shows the card while the column on the right tells you what numbers to add to your mental count. Note that you should be doing this count in your head so you do not get caught by casinos as they hate counters and will kick them out of the casino if caught!

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

One notable part of the system is you are now placing a count value on the aces where many systems do not allow this. Aces are often used in side-counts in other types of counting systems where you are actually tracking the aces that have been played. So assigning a value of -2 to the ace cards is actually convenient to the player because you no longer need to count aces on the side with this Zen count system in blackjack.

There is a drawback to the Zen count though, you still need to account for the true count because it is a balanced system. This means you have to make some calculations while playing in order to factor in multiple decks of cards. This is one reason why this system is a little more difficult than other systems that only require you to have the running count instead.

Like all card counting systems, this one should give you an edge over the casino, only if you are also playing perfect basic strategy. The goal is to get a high count and then start betting larger. If you have a small count (or large negative count number), then it is best to switch off to the minimum bets to reduce your losses and wait for the count to get big again.