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In my recent study of card counting systems, I've run into a few systems that are "Suit Aware." A couple of examples include the KISS 2 and KISS 3 methods.

Specifically, in the KISS 2 system, the values assigned to each card are as follows:

A,7,8,9 = 0
2 = 0/+1
3,4,5,6 = +1
T = -1

Depending on the color of the suit, the 2s are counted differently. You would add +1 for a red suit (Hearts or Diamonds) but would not add anything if the 2 was a black suit (Spades or Clubs).

I can't find nor think of any reason this is efficient in Blackjack card counting since the suit of the card has no meaning in a traditional Blackjack game. Does this perhaps have something to do with possible side bets a casino might do in a Blackjack game to match a suit to the dealer's shown card? Any explanation as to why you would want to use a Suit Aware card counting system is greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!

  • 5
    Could it be an "easy" way of adding 0.5? – freekvd Sep 22 '15 at 4:38
  • 1
    Not really "easy", but with slightly different mechanics. Decisions would most likely be made based upon certain thresholds, so 0.5 doesn't help at all (or always), unless you draw anopther one. The 0/+1 system has the same meaning overall, but for a single card it's different. – npst Sep 22 '15 at 14:28
  • I think I understand a bit better now. When using 0.5 in something like an 8-shoe game, I can see why using 0/+1 instead of 0.5 might make remembering the numbers easier and the division for a true count simpler as well. Maybe it's because I'm new to card counting, but I would prefer staying away from a suit aware system so I don't need to concentrate as much on the cards and focus more on interacting with the dealer and other players around. – Ant Sep 22 '15 at 14:42
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    My comment was in no way an answer, just an observation. Others might be able to shine some light on this matter. – npst Sep 22 '15 at 16:27
6
+50

After doing a lot more research and sometimes even stumbling across answers for this while looking up other topics, I found a few good reasons why someone would use a suit aware system. I had way better results found when looking up the more well-known Red Seven counting system rather than the KISS II and KISS III methods which are not as commonly known as the Red Seven.


The Red Seven System

For those interested, most guides explaining how and why you should use Red Seven makes a point of boasting about its ease of use combined with its professional edge you would usually only see in more complicated systems.

Red Seven Card Value Assignments:

2,3,4,5,6 = +1
T,A = -1
Red 7 = +1
Black 7 = 0

Effects of Removal

To appreciate what a Suit Aware system is trying to accomplish, I'd like to introduce EoR or "Effects of Removal." This table represents the effect each card has on the player's advantage if it is removed from the deck. The table values represent how the player's advantage % is affected in a single deck game of blackjack. (It will be a little different in an 8-deck shoe game but this single deck chart can be used for example). The values of this table was taken from the online book, Modern Blackjack (https://www.qfit.com/book/)

2 = +0.38
3 = +0.44
4 = +0.55
5 = +0.69
6 = +0.46
7 = +0.28
8 = 0
9 = -0.18
T = -0.51
A = -0.61

The most common and easiest card counting systems such as Hi-Lo and KO tend to assign a value of 1, 0, or -1 to each card. This is mainly for ease of use and are known as level 1 systems.

Hi-Lo's card values are:

2,3,4,5,6 = 1
7,8,9 = 0
T,A = -1

Aimed more towards simplicity, the easier level 1 systems ignore the fact that a 5 taken out of the deck gives almost twice the advantage of a 2 being taken out of the deck. Level 2, 3, and 4 systems exist that take these ratios into consideration and assign point values that have more correlation with the effect of removal value each card has. For example, Revere RAPC is a highly complicated system that focuses more on the accuracy of EoR card values at the risk of having more player errors.

Revere RAPC Values:

2,7 = 2
3,4,6 = 3
5 = 4
8 = 0
9 = -1
T = -3
A = -4

You can imagine that human error tends to be much higher in this system, especially when compared to something easier such as the Hi-Lo.


Advantages of Red Seven or other Suit Aware Systems

Now with a firm understanding of Effects of Removal(EoR), we can see how a Suit Aware system may help. The goal of a Suit Aware system is usually to keep things at a level 1 difficulty level while adding in a bit of advantage that only more complicated systems would use. In fact, all suit aware systems I've found online claim to be level 1. Another interesting trend is that they are all Unbalanced systems which tend to be easier for many players because it does not use division to find a true count of the cards remaining. By using a Suit Aware system, you keep the simplicity of only adding and subtracting 1 to the count, but get the advantage of not adding +1 for every 7 in play. (More relevant to the 7's EoR value).

Another interesting bit I found on some Blackjack forum posts, is that using 0.5 for a value of 7 instead of +1 or 0 depending on the suit actually decreased the accuracy of the Red Seven system. I believe these tests were run using simulations in the CVData app but can't say for sure.

Personally, in conclusion, I would still prefer a level 1 or level 2 balanced system. I'm just more comfortable with starting at 0 and having to divide rather than starting with a large negative number that unbalanced counting systems have to use. Nearly all famous Blackjack experts strongly suggest its not about which counting system is the best but about which system you are most comfortable with.

If I find any other helpful or interesting information, I'll be sure to update my post here. Thanks everyone.

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