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The Canfield Expert card counting system is an old system that has stood the test of time. It was detailed in the 1977 book entitled Blackjack Your Way To Riches written by blackjack expert Richard Canfield. When it comes to card counting methods, things don’t get much simpler than the Canfield Expert counting system. The simplicity of the method makes it a perfect choice for the blackjack player that is just learning how to count.

counting cards

Tip: You should also check the following: Edge Sorting, Hole Carding, Shuffle Tracking, Wonging in Blackjack, Camouflage Betting, Team Play, Betting Spread, & Risk Of Ruin.

Richard Canfield knew what he was talking about. He served as a pit boss in a casino and wrote extensively on the subject of casino blackjack. Canfield actually developed two methods of counting. The other system is known as the Canfield Master Count and is slightly more complex than the Canfield Expert. Counting Edge recommends that you stick with the Canfield Expert system until you become more familiar with the basic principles of card counting.

You might be tempted to think that the Canfield Expert method is less effective because it is simple. You would be wrong. The Canfield Expert system is powerful when applied properly and can increase your chances of winning at the blackjack table.

How The Canfield Expert System Works

The first thing you need to know about the Canfield Expert card counting method is that it uses the basic rules of card counting. Point values are assigned to each card in the deck and the player then keeps a running count as the cards are dealt from the shoe. When the positive count is high (+3, +4, +5) it is time to increase your bets for maximum profit. When the count becomes negative (-1, -2, -3), it is time for you to reduce your bets or find another blackjack table.

The point values assigned to the cards in the Canfield Expert system use only three indexes which means you only need to remember three values which are -1, 0, and +1.Here’s how the cards are valued in the Canfield Expert:

Card Values


As you can see, maintaining the count in the Canfield Expert system is easy even for the beginner. Certain cards cancel each other out, such as a 3 and a 9. When you see the cards fall during the game you can eliminate all of the cards which cancel one another out and simply count what is left.

The process might sound difficult but it isn’t. Just like every other skill, learning how to apply the Canfield Expert counting method takes practice. A good way to practice counting the cards with the Canfield Expert method is to deal hands to yourself at home. You’ll soon improve your speed and easily maintain an accurate count.

Ace-Reckoning In The Canfield Expert

Unlike many other card counting systems which are more complex, you do not need to keep a separate count of the blackjack aces left in the deck for the Canfield Expert system to work. You simply assign aces a value of 0 in your running count and proceed. This is one of the things which makes the Canfield Expert card counting system so easy to use.

It should be noted, however, that keeping a separate count of the aces left in play does increase the effectiveness of the Canfield Expert. The edge from doing so is small-only a few percentage points-but once you have the basics of the system down we recommend that you practice reckoning those aces.

Summing Up The Canfield Expert

Among the counting systems available to blackjack players, the Canfield Expert is classified as a Level 1 Balanced Count System. What this means is that the Canfield Expert is very easy to learn and use (Level 1) and that it is based upon what is known as a balanced count. A balanced count is one that begins at 0 with a newly shuffled deck and ends at 0 when all of the cards have been dealt. If you are practicing at home this is a good way to determine if you are counting properly. When you deal the last card your count should be at 0. If it is, you have executed the Canfield Expert correctly.

It might be old but the Canfield Expert card counting method still works. The fact that it has remained popular for so long is a testimony to how effective it is. If the Canfield Expert method didn’t work so well, blackjack players would have stopped using it years ago. To play blackjack for money online we recommend that you try one of the recommended & trusted casinos.

3 Response Comments

  • helenDecember 5, 2013 at 12:12 pm

    Hi, I read somewhere that the Cranfield Expert would only work for a single deck game. I can’t quite see why I wouldn’t simply divide the running count by the number of decks remaining to get a true count…

  • TardoPoochMarch 26, 2014 at 4:54 pm

    Why does it show a +1 for the 9 if the 3 and 9 cancel one another out?

    • countingedgeMarch 26, 2014 at 5:11 pm

      Thank you for taking your time to post about the obvious error in the table above. People like you help make the site better! I have now corrected the table and the correct value for 9 is a negative 1. Have a great day!


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