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counting cardsMany beginning card counters will easily adapt to Fred Renzey’s KISS III method of card counting if they are familiar with the KISS I and KISS II systems. There are just a few slight differences to be aware of in the KISS III method. The KISS III system can also be found in Renzey’s book, Blackjack Bluebook II.

In order to improve the efficiency of his method, Renzey changed the indices (numerical values) of two cards in the KISS III system. This introduces a new level of difficulty into the method, but beginners should not worry too much. The KISS III is still a very simple card counting method that can be learned quickly and translates well to live play. The name stands for keep it short and simple.

The Basics Of The KISS III System

The KISS III method differs from many card counting systems on the market in the fact that it is an unbalanced system. This means that when all the cards in the deck have been dealt the ending total is not necessarily 0. The reason for this is because the count does not start at 0. You will begin the count in a negative range such as -2, -3, or even -10 or higher. The benefit of an unbalanced system is that it more accurately represents when the deck has become favorable to the player.

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Because it is an unbalanced system the KISS III method works best in single deck or double deck games. The KISS III method becomes less powerful as more decks are used in dealing the game.

Otherwise, the KISS III follows the basic premise of all card counting methods. A running count is created that reflects how favorable the deck is to the player. Because it begins in a negative range, as soon as the running count crosses into positive territory (+1, +2, +3) all bets should be increased in proportion to the favor of the deck.

Card Values In The KISS III System

Let’s take a look at how the cards are assigned value in the KISS III method and then we will discuss the differences between the KISS III and the earlier KISS systems. Here are the values of each card:

Card Value

Red 2Black 2345678910JQKA

Note that the twos in the deck are assigned different values based on the color of the suit. This has caused the KISS III method its share of criticism from blackjack players who find a suit-aware count to be difficult to achieve while playing.

The Differences In The KISS III System

You will notice in the point values that the KISS III method changes the values given to two cards in the KISS I and KISS II. All sevens are now valued at +1 and all aces are now given a value of -1. This might not seem like a big deal, but these slight changes create a significant improvement in the casino blackjack player’s edge. Here is the edge given to the player from all three of the KISS card counting methods:

  • KISS I gives the player an +0.48 % edge
  • KISS II gives the player an +0.64 % edge
  • KISS III gives the player an +0.70% edge

As you can see, there is a significant advantage to using the KISS III method above the others. It is well worth the time and effort to practice the improved count of the KISS III system even though it is more difficult to maintain at the blackjack table when playing blackjack for money.

Aces In The KISS III System

The KISS III card counting method does not require a player to maintain a side count of the aces in play. In the KISS III they are simply added to the running count at -1.

Summing Up The KISS III

If you are new to card counting you might want to explore the KISS I or KISS II methods before trying your hand at the KISS III. It is a very simple method, but there are elements which can be difficult to absorb. More mental process are required in the KISS III because new values are given to two of the cards in the deck and also because the count is suit-aware.

The best way to master the KISS III count is to grab a deck of cards and practice, practice, practice. Also learn blackjack money management before you play!

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