counting cards The Uston SS Card Counting System is the creation of card counting expert, Ken Uston. When it comes to counting cards, no one knows more or does it better than Ken Uston. The Uston SS is just one of several methods developed by this blackjack legend. Others inclide the Uston APM (Advanced Plus/Minus) and the Uston APC (Advanced Point Count)

Uston actually had a little help in creating the Uston SS. He was joined in the project by fellow card counters Arnold Snyder and Sam Case. After working together to create this advanced card counting method, their effort was published as The Uston SS Count in 1986.

Ken Uston and his partners definitely had the experienced blackjack player in mind when they developed the Uston SS. The system is considered to be a Level 3 which means that it is more suited to those who have a pretty strong understanding of card counting. The SS stands for “strongest and simplest,” but beginners will find mastering this method to be a challenge.

How the Uston SS Works

In theory, the Uston SS operates just like any standard card counting method. The player seeks to establish a running count. This running count alerts the player when the time is right to increase their bet. A positive running count (+1, +2, +3) indicates the deck is hot and favorable to the player. Any running count below 0 should alert the player to keep their bets at a minimum.

Card counting methods come in two basic varieties, balanced and unbalanced. The Uston SS is considered to be an unbalanced system. In an unbalanced card counting system the count does not begin at 0 and will not necessarily end at 0 when all of the cards have been dealt. To get your starting count in the Uston SS you will multiply the number of decks used in the game by -2. That means in a six deck game your starting count is -12. In an 8 deck game it is -16.

The advantage of an unbalanced system such as the Uston SS is that it gives the blackjack player a more accurate representation of the deck because the count starts in a negative range. This prevents false indications created by short-term swings. When the running count crosses over into positive territory, you can be assured that you have a minimum 1% edge over the house.

The Card Values in the Uston SS

Here are the numerical indices given to the cards in the Uston SS:

Card Value


If you know anything at all about card counting you will immediately recognize the inherent difficulty of the Uston SS method. There are a fewer number of cards in the Uston SS which cancel each other out. This means that you will need to be tracking more cards in live play which will then combine to form your running count.

ACES in the Uston SS

The efficiency of the Uston SS card counting system does not depend upon a side count of the aces. This is good given the added difficulty of the indices.

When counting the aces in the Uston SS you just need to assign the aces a count of -2 and add them to the running count.

Even though the aces do not need to be reckoned separately in the Uston SS, if you choose to do so then you can even add to the accuracy of this impressive method. In any unbalanced system a side count of the aces is beneficial because it gives you a clearer picture regarding your odds of hitting a blackjack at a generous 3-2 payoff.

Summing up the Uston SS

Before you decide to try your hand at the Uston SS, you would be wise to pick up some experience with a less-complicated system. Let’s not forget that Ken Uston is a recognized master of card counting. The systems he develops are designed with a serious card counter in mind.

Many professionals use systems like the Uston SS because they are powerfully accurate and efficient. Systems like this require more practice to master and can be very difficult to execute properly in live blackjack play. The time and effort you invest in learning the Uston SS is worth it, however, because a powerful system like this can ultimately put more blackjack profits into your pocket when playing casino blackjack!

Grab a few decks of cards, shuffle them up, and practice the Uston SS at home to see if you have got what it takes to become a card counting legend like Ken Uston, and don’t forget to check out the Counting Edge reviews of Ken Uston’s other powerful card counting methods. To play blackjack for money online we recommend that you try one of the recommended & trusted casinos.

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