The Silver Fox Card Counting System may just be one of, if not the, easiest methods of counting cards in existence. It was created by a gentleman named Ralph Stricker and published in The Silver Fox Blackjack System and released in an updated edition in 1997.
You might be tempted to think that a card counting system as simple as the Silver Fox wouldn’t be very efficient. Well, consider this. The Silver Fox system got its name due to Stricker’s proficiency as a card counter. While using the Silver Fox system to take the Atlantic City casinos for a veritable fortune, Stricker was often chased by heavies hired by the casino to catch counters. One of these men brought in to catch Stricker at card counting gave him the nickname of “Fox.” Stricker somehow always managed to avoid getting caught while his system raked in the cash, and he often grew a beard in an attempt to disguise himself. Stricker named his Silver Fox system after his gray beard and the name given to him by the heavy in Atlantic City.
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How the Silver Fox System Works
The Silver Fox system uses a running count similar to all card counting methods which determines when the deck has become favorable to the player. A positive running count means it is time to increase all bets. A negative running count means it is time to run for the hills.
The Silver Fox is considered to be a Level 1 system, meaning that it can be mastered by the beginner. It is also what is known as a balanced system. In a balanced system the count always begins at 0 with a newly shuffled deck, and when all the cards are dealt a balanced system will yield a count of 0. This is good to know when you are practicing at home. If you count all of the cards and have a total of 0 at the end, you know you have performed the count correctly.
Card Values in the Silver Fox System
Like we said, things don’t get much easier than this when you are counting cards. Here is a rundown of how each card is counted in the Silver Fox:
Here is what makes the Silver Fox system so easy to use. You can see in the table above that each card in the deck, except for the 8 which is given a value of 0 and not counted, is offset by another card. In other words, each card has another in the deck which will cancel it out as you are making the running count.
It cannot be overstated how much easier this makes the job of card counting. When you can look at the cards and immediately eliminate pairs of cards which cancel one another out, it is much easier to maintain the running count in live play. By reducing the number of indices to just 2 (+1, -1), the Silver Fox card counting system makes it possible for anyone to learn and profit from card counting in casino blackjack.
ACE-Reckoning in the Silver Fox System
Something you do need to be aware of when using the Silver Fox system is the reckoning of the aces in the deck. The Silver Fox calls for a separate count of the aces in play.
What this means is that in addition to the running count, the Silver Fox system dictates that you also track how many aces have fallen from the deck. You simply determine the starting number of aces by multiplying the number of decks by four and then reduce that number by one each time an ace is dealt.
The reason why the Silver Fox system and many others use ace reckoning is pretty simple. You need an ace to make a blackjack, and a blackjack is paid at odds of 3-2. When you know that the deck is favorable (has a high positive count) and it also is ace-rich (few aces have been dealt), the chances are very good that you will beat the casino for a big payday.
Who knows? They might even start calling YOU the Fox.
Summing up the Silver Fox System
Card counting is a skill that requires practice. You can practice some methods for years and still not reach perfection. The beauty of the Silver Fox is that it can be learned in a short period of time and is not complicated to execute in live blackjack play. The Silver Fox is perfect for a beginner who just wants to try counting to see if they can increase their edge over the casino and win money playing blackjack