Silver Fox Card Counting System

If you're looking for a simple blackjack card counting method, it's worth checking into the Silver Fox system. While not nearly as widely used as some other systems, it's an excellent one that's easy to learn and implement.

Developed by Ralph Stricker, the Silver Fox system was coined after a nickname for its creator. Stickler was known as a fox by a pit boss in Atlantic City that later went on to ban him from the casino. In his later years, Stricker's hair began to gray. In turn, his blackjack card counting system became known as the Silver Fox system.

On this page, we're going to get you up to speed on everything you need to know about the Silver Fox blackjack card counting system. We'll kick things off with an explanation of the basic fundamentals. After that, we'll move onto how you can size your bets and practice using the system. You'll also get the scoop on how you can avoid getting caught counting cards in addition to some frequently asked questions and more.

Are you looking to get the most out of this page? If so, then be sure to stick around to view everything we have to offer. However, if you're only looking for the details on a particular aspect, be sure to utilize the jump links below. Thanks to these, you can skip ahead to the sections you'd like to visit:

The Basics of the Silver Fox System

To get things started, we wanted to help give you a firm understanding of the fundamentals that encompass the Silver Fox blackjack card counting system. By reviewing this section, you'll begin to grasp the core things that matter the most if you're going to use this system to count cards at a blackjack table.

Chips on Top of Ace and Jack of Spades

Running Count

At the core of the Silver Fox system lies the concept of a running count. The running count is something you'll update after you see each new card while playing blackjack. With this count, you'll be keeping track of what cards have come, and in turn, it will assist you in predicting what cards may be out next.

We'll go into much more detail on how you can operate a running count in the next section below. At a very high level, each card in the deck has a value associated with it as part of the Silver Fox system. You'll continuously add these values together to formulate your running count when playing blackjack.

Starting Value

Like the majority of blackjack card counting systems, your running count with the Silver Fox system will always begin with a 0. The handful of card counting systems that don't start with a 0 start with a negative number to help offset the number of decks in play. However, with the Silver Fox system, you'll account for that with the true count conversion you'll learn about in the next portion below.

True Count

Before it's your turn to place a wager for the next hand, you'll need to convert your running count into a true count. The purpose of this step is to help the Silver Fox system account for the number of decks still in play. Basically, if there's a large number of decks still in play, it means there's the possibility of many more cards that can impact your count. By converting to a true count, the Silver Fox system gives you a more accurate representation of your likelihood of getting blackjack.

If you're worried about needing to do a calculation, it's not something super complicated. To calculate a true count from your running count, just divide your current running count by the estimated number of decks left in the shoe.

Example

If you had a running count of +16, and you think there are four decks left in the shoe, you'd divide +16 by 4. This would give you a true count of +4.

Implications

The primary goal of the Silver Fox system is to help you know when to bet more. Whenever your count is high, that's the system signaling to you that you have a high chance of getting blackjack. In turn, you'll want to bet more in this scenario in the hopes of scoring the higher payout that comes along with getting blackjack. On the flip side, when your true count is low or negative, the Silver Fox system is telling you that there's a low chance of scoring blackjack. That means you'll want to bet a small amount on those hands.

How to Count Cards with the Silver Fox System

Now that we've covered the basics, let's dive into how you'll use the Silver Fox system to count cards. To get things started, you'll want to familiarize yourself with the chart below. This chart includes the card values you'll need to memorize to implement the Silver Fox system properly.

  • Start with a running count of 0.
  • When you see an A, K, Q, J, 10, or 9: Subtract 1 from your running count
  • When you see an 8: Do nothing (worth 0)
  • When you see a 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, or 7: Add 1 to your running count

As you can see, except for eights, each card has a value associated with it. It's these values you'll add to your running count as you execute the Silver Fox card counting system. In short, when you see a card, you'll need to remember what the value for that card is and then tack it on to your count.

Example

If the first card dealt is a queen, you'll move your running count from the starting 0 to a -1 since queens have a value of -1 according to the chart above. Then, if the following card dealt is an ace, you'll subtract 1 once again, making your new running count -2. If the next card is a 3, you'll then add 1 back to your running count, bringing you to a new total of -1. You'll repeat this process repetitively for the entire time you're playing blackjack while using the Silver Fox system.

You'll continue tracking your running count until it's your turn to bet. At that time, you'll need to do a quick true count calculation to help you determine how much you'll wager. As a reminder, it's easy to calculate your true count by dividing your current running count by the number of decks you estimate are left in the shoe. You can view the next section for tips on how you'll go about sizing your wagers when using the Silver Fox system.

Finally, there's one last thing you'll need to remember when using the Silver Fox system. Whenever the dealer shuffles the deck of cards, you'll want to reset your starting count to zero. Since the shuffle establishes a new pattern for the cards, you have to essentially start your pattern all over again. Once you reset to zero, continue to repeat the same steps discussed above until the next shuffle.

How to Size Your Bets Using the Silver Fox System

Since the Silver Fox system is built to help you determine when you have the highest chances of getting blackjack, we wanted to help you sort out how you can size your bets. Below, we've added two potential ways you can size your wagers when using this system, so you can get some ideas on how you may proceed.

Dealt Hand of Blackjack

The simplest way to size your bets when counting cards with the Silver Fox system is to use your true count as a multiplier. Let's say your true count was +3 when it's time to bet. In this case, you'd wager 3x the table minimum. Under this setup, if your count is +1 or less, you'd just bet the table minimum since you have a low chance of getting a blackjack.

There's also another way you can size your bets when utilizing the Silver Fox system. Instead of using it as a multiplier per the suggestion above, you can operate within buckets.

Example

You might create a bucket that says you'll bet 3x the table minimum if your current true count is either +3 or +4. In that same setup, you could bet 5x if your current count was a +5 or +6. By using a buckets method, you can create a less aggressive betting model than the sample above.

The good news is that there's no right or wrong way to size your bets when using the Silver Fox blackjack card counting system. You should try different things out and identify how you're more comfortable placing your wagers when counting cards. Just recall that the most vital thing is for you to increase your bets when your count is high and to keep things minimal when your count is low.

Practicing the Silver Fox System

If you've never counted cards while playing blackjack before, it's something you'll want to practice before you try it in a casino when wagering real money. Below, we've mapped out a practice plan you can use to help get yourself up to speed to begin counting cards using the Silver Fox system. By following these tips, you'll be ready to count cards in just a short amount of time.

Count a Full Deck of Cards

The first thing you should do to start your practice of the Silver Fox system is to count a deck of cards. This process is one of the fastest ways you can learn how to implement a running count.

To accomplish this, shuffle up a deck of cards and deal yourself the first one. Then, apply the value of that card according to the chart above and add it to your running count. After that, you'll repeat this process until you've counted the entire deck of cards.

Pro tip: Because the Silver Fox system is a balanced blackjack system, your ending running count should total 0. If you end up with any other ending value, you've made a mistake along the way.

Time Yourself

While you're counting a deck using the Silver Fox system's running count, it's a great idea to time yourself. The point of this is to help you measure your progress with getting faster doing it. Simply set the timer on your smartphone and see how long it takes you to complete a count of all 52 cards. Over the long haul, you'll want to see if you can slash your starting time in half as you gain a greater mastery of counting cards.

Learn to Count in Pairs

There's another step you can take to help you become even more efficient at counting cards when using the Silver Fox system. Instead of just counting each card individually, you should practice counting them in pairs. If you can master this step, you'll be able to speed up your card counting abilities.

To practice this, it's as simple as dealing yourself two cards at a time as opposed to one. Once the two cards are out, add up their collective values according to the section above. Then, add that total to your running count. Continue this process until you've counted the entire deck. Using your timing, you can gauge the impact counting in pairs has on your progress.

Practice Mental Division

Since the Silver Fox system requires you to convert a true count, you'll want to brush up on your mental division skills. Chances are it's been a while since you've done frequent division with your brain. Unfortunately, we've all become used to having our phone's calculator handy whenever we need it. Since you can't use a calculator when implementing the Silver Fox system, be sure to practice division so you're comfortable with your ability to execute it when needed.

Distract Yourself

To further test your card counting skills, it's time to add in some distractions. While it'd be ideal if casinos were perfectly quiet places with no noises or things going on, that isn't the case. Instead, casinos are packed with lights, people, smoke, and tons of noise. To prepare yourself for counting cards with the Silver Fox system in this setting, you'll need to practice at home.

One of the easiest ways to create a distraction at home is to turn on your radio or television. Then, proceed once again with counting a deck. You can time yourself to see how much of an impact it creates on your deck counting. To elevate the challenge even more, try also turning on another device, so you have competing audio going on in the background.

Use a Friend

For this next bit of practice, you'll need to enlist the help of a friend you trust. Your friend will be there to closely watch you as you count a deck using the Silver Fox system. As you go through your counting, the friend should see if you're giving off any body tells such as mouthing words under your breath or a furrowed brow. If your friend can spot something that seems off, the chances are good that a dealer most likely will. Take the feedback provided by your friend and practice to help eliminate the body tells to limit the likelihood of getting caught.

Head to a Casino

Up next, you'll need to head to one of your local casinos, but you won't be playing blackjack yourself just yet. Instead, you'll practice your Silver Fox system card counting abilities while other players play the game. The goal of this round of practice is for you to keep up with the speed of the game in a real casino while dealing with all of the associated distractions. Repeat this practice step until you're confident you can keep up with your running count in this real-life setting.

Practice at a Low Stakes Table

Once you feel like you're ready to wager real money on your Silver Fox system skills, head back to the casino of your choice. But before you rush off to the high rollers' section, make sure you test the wagers with some low stakes first. By following this bit of advice, you'll be able to make sure you've ironed out all the kinks without betting the farm. As you gain confidence in your card counting abilities, you can move on to tables with higher stakes.

How Not to Get Caught

The good news is it's not illegal for you to count cards when playing blackjack in a casino. However, that doesn't mean casinos have to tolerate it. In fact, casinos don't like it when players use card counting systems, and they'll often ask folks to leave the premises if they suspect someone is doing it. Due to this, you'll want to check out this section to learn how you can fly under the radar when using the Silver Fox system.

Below, you'll find our top ten tips for how you can prevent getting busted when counting cards. Take the time to review each of these to help decrease your chances of the casino catching onto your card counting ways.

  • Limit your alcohol.

    Since you'll need to keep mental track of your running count and true count, you'll want to have your brain as sharp as possible. Therefore, we suggest you go easy on the free alcohol from the casino, so you have the best chance of keeping things in line. Due to alcohol's ability to impact your mental capabilities, you don't want to overdo it.

  • Are you being watched more than normal?

    If you feel like you're being observed more than what is typical from casino employees, they may be on to you and your card counting. If you end up in this situation, consider cashing out for the day and trying some other time.

  • Don't bet a large spread.

    Even if your true count is suggesting a massive bet, you probably don't want to make it. The reason for this is dealers will catch on if you're only occasionally placing large bets. Our advice is to keep your most substantial wagers to 5x or less compared to the table minimum.

  • Don't give tips to your fellow players.

    While you may want to help out your tablemates and provide them with tips, that's a bad idea. If you give out advice, you'll possibly be flagged as a card counter by the dealer. Instead, keep the tips to yourself, so you have a higher chance of making a profit.

  • Change tables occasionally.

    When counting cards, you'll never want to get too comfortable at one table. We'd urge you to change tables at least once an hour, so you're exposed to a different set of casino employees.

  • Play at various times of the day.

    Instead of playing blackjack at the same time of day on a regular basis, you'll want to change things up. Take the time to play some afternoons, evenings, and mornings. By following this tip, you'll lessen the likelihood that casino staff will catch onto your card counting.

  • Change dealers from time to time.

    Similar to changing tables, you'll also want to mix up dealers often. Even if you have some dealers you love working with, be sure to play with others, so it lessens the chances of them catching you count cards.

  • Play at different casinos.

    Whenever possible, count cards using the Silver Fox system at various casinos. While this might not be an option for all players reading this page, it is for many. If you can, mix up the casinos you use to help reduce your chances of getting caught counting cards.

  • Don't think too hard.

    If you end up thinking too hard, you're likely to end up showing it on your face. In turn, the dealer may catch on to your card counting ways. Be sure to practice with a friend to help sort out if you're giving off body tells or not when using the Silver Fox system.

  • Don't forget to tip your dealers.

    Finally, you'll want to remember to tip your dealers when counting cards while playing blackjack. If you don't, the dealers may suspect you as a card counter since card counters are known for their lack of tipping.

Other Blackjack Resources

If this is your first time visiting our website, what you've seen here today is just a smidgen of the great blackjack resources we have to offer. Below, we've highlighted some of our most popular pages so you can get a feel for some of your other options. You can also check out the main website menu if you'd like to view more.

Blackjack Strategy for Beginners

For those of you that are new to playing blackjack, you'll want to learn some other crucial things before diving into card counting. While counting cards is a great strategy, it's one for more advanced players. If you're a newcomer to blackjack, check out the link below to visit our blackjack strategy guide for beginners. Here, you'll learn all of the entry-level tips and tricks you need to know to get your start off on the right foot.

Main Blackjack Card Counting Hub

Those of you who are just beginning your research on card counting may want to check out our main page focused on the topic. While the Silver Fox system is a great option, there are many more potential methods you can choose from. Check out this page to see your other options and to learn more about card counting in general.

Best Online Casinos for Blackjack

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FAQ

To close things out, we've added in a small assortment of frequently asked questions about the Silver Fox system below. If you don't have all of the answers you need yet, we hope this section can assist you. To view one of the answers below, click on the question you're interested in.

Will this system make me a sure winner?

While it's nice to dream about finding a system that can guarantee you're a winner in the casino, it's simply not possible. While the Silver Fox system can't make you a sure winner, it can ensure you lessen the odds the casino has stacked against you. The good news is, when used correctly, you'll gain a very slight advantage over the house. In turn, this increases the likelihood in which you can make a profit while playing the game.

Do I have to count cards in order to play blackjack?

No. Counting cards is an optional part of the game. If you're not interested in participating or simply struggle to learn how to do it, you can still play the game.

Is it illegal to count cards?

Absolutely not. Luckily, no matter where you live in the world, it's not illegal to count cards. When you think about it, the reason is quite simple. Since counting cards is simply you using your mind to keep score of what cards have come out to help you predict what's coming next, it can't be against the law. You're just using your brain! However, don't forget if you use something other than your mind to count cards, it's cheating, and it might be illegal based on your location!

What will happen to me if I get caught counting cards?

In most cases, you'll be asked to leave a casino if they suspect you're counting cards. In extreme examples, you might end up being blacklisted, and you can never visit that casino again. So you don't end up dealing with either of these outcomes, make sure to visit our section above filled with tips on how you can avoid getting caught by the casino staff.

Are there better card counting systems available?

The answer to this question depends on your definition of "better." If you're interested in a system that's easier to use, that's possible. On the flip side, if you'd like a more accurate method, that's also an option. There's a vast assortment of different forms of blackjack card counting systems. You'll just want to find the one that's the best fit for you and your needs.

Wrap Up

We hope we've been able to help you pick up on how you can use the Silver Fox blackjack card counting system to get a leg up on the casino. If you like what you found on this page today, don't miss out on everything else we can offer. We've packed our website with all sorts of helpful guides and reviews. Thank you for stopping by, and good luck with your future card counting attempts!

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