There have been many card counting systems designed over the years, but the Canfield Expert Count has stood the test of time. It is still popular today despite first appearing in 1977. The system was the backbone of the book ‘Blackjack Your Way to Riches’ and is one of two systems made popular by the author – the other is the slightly more complicated “Canfield Master Count”.

This system has been devised for blackjack games played with a single deck. Being a ‘single deck’ system, the process is straightforward as you’ll only need to keep a ‘running count’. Many other systems make use of an added ‘true count’, adding another layer to the calculation.

The Canfield Expert Count is a balanced system, meaning that when all the cards in the deck have been counted, the final count should be zero. If you are card counting for the first time, it might be an idea to practice with a deck of cards at home. This will help you to ensure that you have a count of zero every time you finish a deck.

How the Canfield Expert Count System Works

When a new deck comes into play the ‘running count’ will be zero. You’ll now add or subtract values to and from the count based on the following:

3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 are ‘low numbers’ and add 1 to the count

9, 10, Jack, Queen and King are ‘high numbers’ and subtract 1 from the count.

2, 8 and Ace are considered ‘neutral numbers’ and have no effect on the count.

The higher the running count is, the more likely you should be to increase your bet size. The opposite takes place if the count is negative, you should lower your bet size (stay at your base bet) or just leave the table.

The size of the staking is determined by the player and you’ll want to ensure that the higher the count is, the more you increase the bet size. However, you should be aware that the house is always on the lookout for systematic play, so you have to play smart when using this or any other system.

With Aces being ‘neutral numbers’ using the Canfield expert count you don’t need to worry about them when employing this system. However, when you have got to grips with the system, it is a good idea to keep a count of them in addition to the running count. Once you reach this level you can start a side count based on those in a number of other systems.

The Canfield Expert Count – Example

You’re in the middle of a game and the running count is +2. During the current hand you see an Ace, a nine, a six and a three appear. As the nine has appeared, you’ll subtract 1 from the count to make it +1, but the appearance of both the six and the three will each add 1 to the count, making it now +3. The appearance of the Ace makes no difference, so the count remains at +3.

This +3 count is favorable, though not yet hugely so – a player could choose between increasing their bet slightly or staying at their base bet here and waiting for a further increase.

Advantages and Disadvantages of the Canfield Expert Count

The main advantage of the Canfield Expert Count is the simplicity of it. The system has two simple values to work with in +1 and -1 and with just a running count, there are no additional calculations to make. The system is a balanced one too, which adds to the accuracy of the count, leading to a more effective system.

A disadvantage of the system is that although it can give you an edge over the house, the edge is slightly smaller than you will find when using other slightly more complicated systems. Another problem with the Canfield Expert Count is that it is designed for blackjack games with just a single deck and these can be tough to come across in most casinos. Not to mention that in the higher stakes games which do have one deck – security is more vigilant against counting than usual.

The Canfield Expert Count System Summary

For the beginning card counting blackjack player, this might be an ideal system to use. Keeping the count is very easy as the low numbers simply add 1 while the high numbers simply see 1 subtracted – and that is all there is too it. No, it won’t quite give you the same edge as some other systems, but this is a system where even the novice card counter won’t make many errors. If you can find a game with just one deck, the Canfield Expert Count might be the way to go.