How to Count Cards Using the Silver Fox Blackjack System

Simple Beginners System from Ralph Stricker

The Silver Fox card counting system first appeared in the 1970’s in “The Silver Fox Blackjack System” which was written and published by the Silver Fox himself, Ralph Stricker. In comparison to many other card counting systems, this might be considered one of the easiest, the count uses a straightforward level I system. This means that the values assigned to the cards range from -1 to +1. The cards are neatly split into high and low groups, which makes the count almost automatic once you have used it a few times.

When you use a card counting system, you’ll have a number which tells you if the remaining cards in the shoe are good for the player. A positive count will mean that there are a larger proportion of higher cards to come and this is advantageous to the player as there is more chance of the dealer busting. This will turn the house edge around and the player will now have that edge. A negative count means the opposite and the house edge has grown.

This system is a balanced one, meaning that by the time all the cards have been dealt, the count will have returned to zero – this is because there are an equal number of cards with a +1 value to those with a -1 value. Before taking the system into the live casino setting, it might be an idea to practice it at home, ensuring that you do have a final count of zero after all the cards have been dealt.

Rules of the Silver Fox Card Counting System

With the running count starting at zero, it will update after the turn of each card based on the following values:

Any 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 or 7 is considered a ‘low’ card and will add 1 to the count.

Any 9, 10, J, Q, K or A is considered a ‘high’ card and will subtract 1 from the count.

An 8 is considered the one neutral card, so the count will not be changed.

When using the Silver Fox system, you’ll have many occasions when the cards will offset each other – for example, when you see a seven and a queen appear, the values of +1 and -1 cancelling each other out.

As is the case with many balanced systems, you’ll need to convert the running count into a ‘true count’. This is achieved by dividing the running count by the number of decks remaining in the shoe – estimating the number of decks is usual, as opposed to coming up with an exact number involving a fraction. A ‘true count’ will give you a more accurate assessment of the remaining cards.

When this ‘true count’ is positive, you’ll want to take advantage by increasing the bet size and the higher the count is, the more you’ll want to bet. Of course, the opposite applies too, so if the count is negative, you’ll want to keep the bet sizing low. If the count is a large negative you should consider standing up and leaving.

One way to increase your edge is to keep a side count of the aces. Knowing how many aces are left in the shoe always helps, as if there are a higher proportion than there should be, you’ll have more chance of hitting blackjack. For example, if there are 3 decks left in play and you figure there are 17 aces (when there should be 12) to come, this can be a good time to increase your bet sizing too.

The Silver Fox Card Counting System – In Play Example

You currently have a running count of +2 and there are approximately 2 decks left in the shoe, meaning the ‘true count’ is +1. The current hand sees a 3, a 4, pair of 7’s, an 8, a jack and a king appear. The 4 low cards will add 4 to the running count, to make it +6, while the jack and the king both subtract 2, to make it +4. You’ll now convert the running count into the ‘true count’ again and seeing as there are still approximately 2 decks left, this will now be +2. With this small increase in the ‘true count’ you should consider increasing the bet slightly. However, if the ‘true count’ had jumped to +5, you should consider a heavy increase in your bet sizing.

The Silver Fox Blackjack Card Counting System – Summary

If you are card counting for the first time, the Silver Fox system is a great way to start. The division of ‘high’ and ‘low’ numbers makes the system straightforward and the card counting easier than most. That isn’t to say that ‘seasoned’ card counters can’t use the system too – it might be simple, but it will also give you that all-important edge.