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
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.
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.
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
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.
Here’s an 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.
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
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.
Here’s an 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
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.
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.
Here’s an 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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
Finally, if you’re interested in playing blackjack online, you won’t want to
miss the link below. This link will take you to our page that’s focused on the
best online casinos for blackjack. Hands down, these websites are the top spots
to play blackjack online. Check out this page if you’d like to see our
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
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.
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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