Bryce Carlson’s Level II System from ‘Blackjack for Blood’

The Omega II card counting system first appeared in Bryce Carlson’s book, ‘Blackjack for Blood’ in 2001, so in comparison to some other systems you could say it is one of the newer ways to employ card counting.

This system is high on accuracy and is said to have a moderate difficulty level, as it’s a little more complicated than a more standard hi-lo system. As such, this might not be an ideal system if you’re trying card counting for the first time, but certainly one you could move on to having gained some experience.

This system is a balanced one, meaning that when you reach the end of the deck(s), the count should be zero. This makes the Omega II system highly accurate.

The Theory behind the Omega II Card Counting System

Every single card in the deck has a value so every time a card appears you will add (or subtract) that value to your running count. The higher the running count is, the more the deck will be in your favor, while the lower the count, the more the deck will be in the favor of the dealer. If the deck is in your favor, you can take advantage of this by increasing your bet size and obviously, lowering your bet size when it’s not.

To complicate matters slightly, you’ll also have to be aware of how many decks there are remaining in the shoe, as this will form part of the calculation. If you have a high running count with just one deck remaining you are in much better shape than if you have the same count with four decks remaining.


How the Omega II Card Counting System Works

Every card has a value.

4, 5 and 6 each have a value of +2.

2, 3 and 7 each have a value of +1.

A 9 has a value of -1.

Any 10 card has a value of -2.

Aces and 8’s each have a value of 0.

As you can see, the maximum amount you’ll add to the count for any card is 2, while you’ll subtract two for any 10 or picture card. As you keep the score in your head, this is known as the ‘running count’ and forms the basis of the system. However, players will need to add an extra step to the process to find the ‘true count’, which is the number on which you will base your betting decisions.

To find the ‘true count’, you’ll need to divide the ‘running count’ by the number of decks left in the shoe. If you are playing with 6 decks and you’re already through the first couple of decks, then you’ll divide the ‘running count’ by 4. If you are playing a single deck game, or if you are playing a game with more than one deck but you are down to the last one, the ‘running count’ and the ‘true count’ will be the same.

Having found the ‘true count’, if this is higher than zero, you should look to increase your stake and if the number is lower than zero you should look to decrease your stake. The Omega II system doesn’t tell you how much or how little you should change your stake, although after using the system for a while, you will gain a good understanding and feel for how much you should be betting.

Counting the aces while using this system can give you an added edge. If you know there are a higher proportion of Aces left in the deck(s) than there should be, this is a favorable situation for the player and another reason to increase the bet size.

The Omega II Card Counting System in Action

You are playing at a table where there are 6 decks in action and two-thirds of the cards have been dealt, meaning there are 2 decks remaining in the shoe.

Your current ‘running count’ is +6, so after dividing this number by the amount of decks in the shoe, you now have a ‘true count’ of +3. This is obviously a favorable situation, so at this point you should be increasing the bet size, although a ‘true count’ of between 1 and 5 is a relatively small edge, so the change in your stake shouldn’t be dramatic.

The player is also counting the Aces and knows at this point that there are 10 aces left in the two decks remaining. This is more than the eight aces you should expect in two decks, so this is another reason to slightly increase the stakes.

This system is a little more complicated than some, but with practice it becomes easier and can increase your counting edge against the house compare to the simple systems