How to Count Cards Using the Revere Plus Minus Blackjack System

A Single-Deck Balanced Blackjack System from Revere

This blackjack card counting system first appeared in 1980 in the book “Playing Blackjack as a Business” written by Lawrence Revere. This system has proved very popular over the years – though it does have a major drawback in the fact that it is only designed for single deck games. In recent years, one way casinos have tried to tackle card counting is to increase the number of decks in play, rendering this system unplayable at many venues. Nevertheless, if you can find a single deck game, the Revere Advanced Plus-Minus system has stood the test of time well.

How to Card Count using the Revere Advanced Plus-Minus System

The first thing you should note about this system is that it’s a balanced one. This means that for every card with a positive value there is another with a negative value. When all the cards have been counted, you’ll end up with a zero count. This can be useful to the beginning card counter, as practicing at home before putting it in action in the live casino setting is recommended. Simply take a single deck and ensure that you do end up with a zero count after all 52 cards have been dealt.

The idea behind this system is straightforward. A positive count tells you that the remaining cards in the deck are good for the player, meaning that it’s a good time to increase the bet size. A negative count tells you that the remaining cards are good for the dealer, so it would be a good time to reduce the bet size. If used correctly, this system can turn the house edge on its head, and give the same edge to the player.

The Revere Advanced Plus-Minus System in Action

You’ll start the count at zero when a new deck of cards is placed in the shoe. You’ll now update the running count based on the following values:

Any two, three, four, five or six add 1 to the count.

Any nine, ten, jack, queen, king or ace subtract 1 from the count.

Any seven, eight or ace are considered neutral, so the count remains the same.

For example, if the first hand of the game sees a four, a six, an eight and a queen appear, you’ll add 1 to the count for the four and the six, subtract 1 from the count for the queen and ignore the neutral eight – which leaves the running count at +1.

With a running count of +1 the rest of the deck is slightly to your advantage, so you could increase the bet size now, but a running count of +5 or more is when the system really gives you an advantage.

To help make the system even more profitable you can also keep a count of the Aces. These cards are deemed neutral with regards to the count, but if there are a higher proportion of aces left in the deck than there should be, it’s a good idea to increase the stake. For example, if half the pack has now been in play and you haven’t seen an Ace yet, your chances of hitting blackjack are much greater than usual.

How Effective is the Revere Advanced Plus-Minus System?

Despite the word ‘advanced’ in the title of this system, this is one of the most straightforward systems developed by Lawrence Revere. Due to the simple nature of the system, it won’t quite give you the same edge as other card counting systems, although it will certainly give you a little of that all-important edge over house.

The fact that it is designed primarily for single deck games is a drawback, as actually finding somewhere to use it can be tough. However, having found a game, this system is one of the easier ones out there, especially as you have just a single count (many other similar systems need an extra calculation to convert the running count into a ‘true count’). This system is rare in the fact that it is both balanced and doesn’t need conversion to a ‘true count’.

Putting the Revere Advanced Plus-Minus System into use

You’re sat at a blackjack table and your running count is +3, so you’ve already increased your bet size slightly. The next hand sees the running count increase to +5. You should now increase the bet size further as the remaining cards are even more profitable for the player. You should aim not to make the bet sizing look too much like you are following a plan, as it can arouse the suspicion of the house, so mixing up your bet sizing can be a good idea.

The Revere Advanced Plus-Minus System is a good starting point when it comes to card counting, and having got to grips with it, you could move onto other systems developed by Lawrence Revere such as the ‘Revere Point Count’ and the ‘Revere RAPC’.