The Revere Advanced Plus Minus Card Counting system is an
advantage play technique for blackjack that was originally
presented in Lawrence Revere’s book, Playing Blackjack as a
Business. It’s a simple and straightforward system for
beginners, which makes it unusual among the multiple counting
systems that Revere published in that book.
This page explains how the system works, how you can use it,
and what the pros and cons of the system are.
How The Revere Advanced Plus Minus Card Counting System
All card counting systems work by tracking (in an approximate
way) the ratio of high cards to low cards in the blackjack deck.
When the deck has a higher number of high cards than low cards,
the counter raises the size of his bets. When the opposite is
true, the counter lowers his bet sizes.
Here’s how that works:
The biggest payoff you can hope for in blackjack is for
a natural, or a blackjack. That’s a 2 card hand with a total
of 21. You can only get dealt a blackjack if you get an ace
and a 10.
If a deck of cards has more aces and 10s in it than
usual, your chances of getting dealt a hand with this higher
payoff increases, and vice versa.
By raising your bets when you have a chance of getting
that higher payoff, you reverse the odds. Instead of the
casino having an edge of 0.5% over you, you have AT LEAST an
edge of 0.5% against them. Maybe even as much as 1% or 2%.
And you don’t have to memorize the deck or the cards
that have been dealt, either. You just need a system that
tracks these numbers in a general way. This is done by
assigning values to the high and low cards and tracking a
total count as the cards are dealt.
The high cards count as negative, and the low cards
count as positive. The more low cards that have been dealt,
the higher the ratio of high cards to low cards gets. And
The Revere Advanced Plus Minus Count is a single level,
balanced system. You only have to add + or – 1 for each card you
see. (Some cards are 0.) And there are an equal number of +1s as
there are -1s, so the count at the end of counting through a
deck winds up at 0.
When the count is positive, you raise the size of your bets.
When it’s 0 or negative, you bet the table minimum. The higher
the count, the more you bet. It’s that simple.
Just remember to start over at 0 when they reshuffle the
How to Use the Revere Advanced Plus Minus System to Get an
Edge at Blackjack
The cards in this counting system have the following values:
9s and 10s: -1
2s, 3s, 4s, 5s, and 6s: +1
All other cards: 0
When you see those cards, increase or decrease the
This system works best in single deck games. It doesn’t
really offer any significant advantages over other single level
balanced systems. Most card counters are using something similar
called the Hi Lo System as their starter counting system, but
some players do like Lawrence Revere’s approach.
Be more likely to take insurance if the count is positive,
but be careful. The casino knows that this is a good indicator
that someone might be counting. The reasons for taking insurance
in this case should be obvious—with more aces and 10s in the
deck, the dealer has a better chance of having a blackjack, too.
Playing Blackjack as a Business and the Pros and
Cons of Revere’s Systems
Playing Blackjack as a Business is one of our
favorite blackjack and card counting books. It features a number
of beautifully colored and drawn tables which explain the
intricacies of basic strategy and the changes you should make
based on the count. An even more interesting but related book is
Lance Humble’s opus, The World’s Greatest Blackjack Book.
In it, he relates several anecdotes related to his experiences
playing with and learning from Lawrence Revere, who was
apparently quite a character. In one story, Revere showed him
that he had filched the 5s from a deck of cards and was throwing
them away in the bathroom. The 5s have the biggest negative
effect on the players’ odds of any card in the deck, so by
eliminating them from the deck, Revere had insured better odds
for all the players at the table. The accuracy of that story is
unknown to us.
Most of the systems in Revere’s book are quite a bit more
complicated than this one. In fact, I’m not sure why he billed
this as being “advanced” when he named it. Maybe he thought that
would make it seem more valuable to prospective customers.
This system is strong enough to use with a single deck game,
but it’s not well-designed to be used in a game
with multiple decks.
If you do use it for such purposes, you’ll
need to convert the running count into a true count. That’s not
too hard to do—here’s a quick primer on that:
The running count is the true count in a single deck game,
but in a game with multiple decks, the effect of one card being
dealt is diluted by the number of cards in the deck. It’s easy
to understand how dealing one card has the effect based on 1
card out of 52. But in a game with 2 decks, it’s only 1 card out
of 104—so it doesn’t have as big an effect on your odds. That
dilution effect increases with more decks in play.
To account for this, you take the running count and divide it
by the number of decks left in the shoe. (You have to learn how
to estimate this.) That will give you the true count. It’s more
complicated this way, but it provides you with a better estimate
of your edge. If you raise your bet in an 8 deck game according
to the running count, you can run into big trouble.
The Revere Advanced Plus Minus Card Counting System is a
little bit of antique in today’s advantage play market. It’s
simple enough to use, but other more modern systems provide a
better bang for your buck. The book, Playing Blackjack as a
Business is worth reading, though—the presentation is excellent.
The author, Lawrence Revere, was one of the true characters of
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