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Wong Halves Counting System

Being one of the more advanced counting systems, the Wong Halves Count was developed by Stanford Wong, and he explains the method in his popular book, Professional Jackpot. That being said, it probably doesn’t need to be said that this one shouldn’t be attempted by novice card counters. If you are new to counting cards, you’d probably be better of beginning with something like the Hi-Lo strategy.

As with all systems, the idea behind counting cards is not to memorize which cards have been dealt so that you know which remain in the deck. While this may seem like an ultimately cool thing to do, counting cards provides a simpler way of utilizing a strategy when playing blackjack. Simply put, you just need to track the ratio of high value cards against low value cards in the deck.

How it Works

The general idea behind counting cards is to assign a value to each of the cards in the deck. Unlike other counting systems, the Wong Halves method incorporates fractions into its system. While this does provide a more complicated way of card counting, it also provides a more accurate estimate of how good the player’s advantage is. In the Wong Halves method, the values assigned to each of the cards is as follows:

Card Value Points
Aces and 10s 1
Nines -0.5
Eights 0
Deuces (2s) and Sevens +0.5
Threes, Fours and Sixes +1
Fives +1.5

Putting the Method to Use

While the above noted values seem easy enough to take note of, utilizing them is not as easy. Of course, simply adding and subtracting from a running total is easy. So, if you’re dealt a six, followed by a two, followed by an Ace, followed by an eight, you’re running total would be 1, 1.5, 0.5 and with eight counting for nothing, you’d be left with 0.5 as your total so far.

However, the Wong Halves method is a balanced system, meaning that your count will return to 0 after each deck is counted. Due to this, the running count must also be converted to a true count when playing with multiple decks, which is done by dividing the running count by the estimated number of decks remaining.

Wagering Alterations

When you have the true count memorized, you should adjust your wager accordingly, betting higher amounts if the value of the count is positive, and lower amounts as it decreases. The higher the value of the true count, the more Aces and 10s are left within the decks.

As an alternative to the standard Wong Halves count, some players will double the values assigned to the cards, thereby eliminating the fractions in play and slightly simplifying the method. However, even using the system this way, it still remains one of the more complex card counting strategies.

More Advanced Card Counting Systems:

In Summary

Card counting as a whole is considered to be an art that is waiting to be mastered, and the Wong Halves system is generally mastered only by professional blackjack players. It takes a lot of work to utilize the method effectively, but once mastered, it can be one of the most profitable strategies available.

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