Card counting is a very effective way to make money out of blackjack. By keeping track of the cards in the shoe, players will have a more informed betting and playing strategy. As much as casinos hate it, there’s no doubt that card counting is here to stay. From the proliferation of a blackjack card counting device to various methods, there’s no stopping in bringing the house down.
One of which is the KISS card counting method. This is a fairly simple system which can be learned fast even by newbies. Although it doesn’t give results as accurate as the Omega II, KISS is still a great foundation for those who are starting in the practice of card counting.
To help you start using the KISS method, here’s our comprehensive guide:
What is the KISS card counting system?
KISS stands for Keep It Short and Simple which is exactly how the system works. It eliminates half of the cards on the count which makes it very easy to practice. With fewer cards, there’s also little math to do which is ideal for those who are still wrapping their heads around keeping a running count.
This card counting method came from the book entitled Blackjack Bluebook II: The Simplest Winning Strategies Ever Published. It’s a book by Fred Renzey which is quite famous among blackjack players.
The main premise of the KISS method is to skip the complicated computations associated with other methods like Omega II. This is perceived to be highly accurate but given its easy nature, it won’t be 100% reliable at all times.
So how do you count the cards? Players will only have to deal with the ‘picture cards’ and the cards that are between 3 and 6. For example, if a 2 card is dealt, the player will only add 1 but if it’s a red one, then the player will add 0.
With this, the card counter no longer has to calculate for a separate true count. However, take note that KISS starts with a positive number and not just 0. Also, there are variations for this card counting system called the KISS II and KISS III which we will tackle shortly.
It’s also important to remember that this is an unbalanced system. This means that once you counted all the cards in the shoe, the end value wouldn’t be zero.
Regardless of the pros and cons, this simple system is worth knowing and trying. Still, the initial version, which is the KISS I, is rarely used since the latest systems are way better and more reliable. Also, this isn’t the Holy Grail for card counting online live blackjack. Nothing is.
Who should use the KISS card counting system?
Those who want an easy card counting method will find KISS a very rewarding system. This is pretty straightforward and those who already have a background with card counting will find this a piece of cake.
However, remember that learning and implementing a card counting system are different stories. Since this is still advantage play, you have to exert effort and to win real money. It’s real business when it comes to using this in a casino where there are many distractions.
Nevertheless, almost any card counter can learn this fast. It’s up to you how you’ll implement it in your own game.
KISS method: pros and cons
Like any card counting strategy, there are good and bad sides to the KISS system. Regardless if you use a blackjack card counting device or not, there would be some limitations. Besides, there’s no perfect or absolute card counting method ever made. It’s just a matter of balancing the good sides and minimizing the ugly side.
To help you out, here are some pros and cons to using the KISS method.
To give you a complete picture of the system, we’re going to discuss all the three versions of the system. The KISS I is very simple since it removes half of the cards in the shoe by giving it a value of zero.
With this, the players won’t have to remember many values and keep up with subtracting and adding. It’s way simpler than the Omega II but the results are also different. Still, both are difficult to use for card counting online live blackjack.
The major benefit of using the KISS I is it prevents players from being confused with the running count. Many times, a card counter may screw up a count if a waiter tries to distract him or if a fellow player tries to talk him out.
Still, many card counters don’t use the KISS I since it provides less advantage than the KISS II and KISS III. Nevertheless, it’s worth learning as the foundation of the succeeding versions.
Also, I recommend that you master the KISS I first before trying any of the latest versions. This way, you will have a holistic knowledge of the ins and outs of the system. Also, there’s no need for a blackjack card counting device because this is very easy.
Here are the card values for the KISS I:
Red 2, 4, 5, 6: +1
A, 2, 3, 7, 8, 9: 0
10, J, K, Q: -1
As you see, half of the cards are equivalent to zero. Also, all the 10-value cards are assigned the same value of -1. This way, the system can be learned in just a few hours or even a few minutes.
Remember, this is an unbalanced system and it’s advisable that you start with a positive count for the best results.
If you’re playing in a six-deck game, it’s best to start with a count of 9 and work your way from there. Start increasing your bets once the count reaches 20. Like most card counting methods, the higher the count is the better it is for the players.
Always watch out for the value as this will affect your betting deviations. The moment the value spiraled to 4 or less, it’s time to slash the wager and wait again for the shoe to get rich.
The KISS II is almost similar to the first version but it has fewer cards to be ignored. Anyway, it’s still moderately easy but it will improve your odds of winning your hands.
This second version was devised to fix the loopholes of the initial KISS system. With that, you can make better decisions and deviations during the game.
But unlike the first KISS system, the KISS II is best used on a single-deck game only. Here are the card values that you’ll have to follow under the KISS II:
3, 4, 5, 6: +1
Black 2: +1
Red 2: 0
A, 7, 8, 9: 0
10, J, K, Q: -1
Like the KISS I, all the 10-value cards in KISS II is assigned with a -1 counting value. You have to remember that the Red 2 card is now valued with 0 while the Black 2 takes its place with a value of +1.
Although you’ll need to count more cards, this is still an easy method since you only have to deal with minimal values. Still, don’t be too complacent since you’d have to count some cards based on its color and not just the face value.
If you can learn the KISS I in just a few minutes, you’ll have to take more time with KISS II. You should be able to respond to the subtle changes in card color to prepare for an actual casino game.
The KISS III is the latest and most used variety under this card counting system. With this method, the modern trends are factored in which gives the players more advantage over the house. And if you can’t find a one-deck blackjack table (which is very rare, to be honest), the KISS III would be the ideal method.
KISS III can be used in multiple decks but it will take a little more effort to learn. Although it’s more complicated, it’s still easy to learn in contrast with other methods. You can use a blackjack card counting device for practice.
Remember, there are more cards that you need to count. But if you know how to do the Hi-Lo method, it will take only a few steps to learn this method.
Here are the card values for the KISS III method:
3, 4, 5, 6, 7: +1
Black 2: +1
Red 2: 0
8, 9: 0
10, K, J, Q, A: -1
The Black 2 still has a +1 value like it used to be in KISS II. The same goes for the Red 2 and the 10-value cards. But this time, Aces are counted as -1.
It’s easy to transition from KISS II to KISS III due to the major similarities. This is still the same plus-minus system and you will still ignore some cards. However, the ignorable cards will only be Red 2, 8, and 9. It will take a few more practice to adjust to the additional computations.
Which KISS version should you use?
There’s no doubt that the KISS III is the ideal option if you’re card counting. It gives the best advantage for the players when they play in a casino.
The betting correlation of KISS III is at 0.98. This is almost the same as Omega II. Of course, you can start with the first KISS version. But if you really want this method to earn you big money, you have to level up to KISS III.
Overall, this has what you need to win money. And for casual players, the KISS method will prove to be effortless with a very easy learning curve.
The KISS system gives you a plan to easily keep up with the shoe. And since it’s way easier than other methods, you can easily cloak your skills inside the casino. Still, remember that this is an unbalanced system.
Performance of KISS method
First of all, the KISS method ditches the need to divide the running count to get the true count. That’s one less mathematical process for you. But as much as this doesn’t need a Mensa-level of calculations, never underestimate the possibility of messing up the count.
If you’re going to use the KISS I in a six-deck game, you’re going to gain 0.5% advantage over the house. But if you upgrade to the KISS III, the performance of the system is almost the same with the Hi-Lo count.
If you want to learn the KISS method in an in-depth manner, read Fred Renzey’s Blackjack Bluebook II
The Blackjack Bluebook II
This book is first published in 2006 and contains one of the most comprehensive guides on playing blackjack in casinos. Aside from the KISS method, it also tackles the basic strategy for the card game and color-coded strategy charts.
The Bluebook II spoon-feeds strategies on hands that are commonly misplayed by blackjack players. There are also three card counting systems that cater to amateur to professional card counters.
One of which is the recently discussed KISS system which is an upgradable and sustainable method. It provides out-of-the-box insights for the card game.
You’ll also learn about the Magnificent 7 hands, Ace/10 front count, Hi-Lo method, true fudging unbalanced cards, and more.
The KISS method is highly useful and it will spare you from the heavy mental work of trying other advanced methods. But since it’s easy, you should acknowledge that it also has its limitations.
The number crunching is at a bare minimum but the betting correlation is very promising. You can still enjoy your game without compromising your edge against the house.
If you’re planning to learn this for the money, start with the basic KISS I and master it. Once you have the grips, move on to KISS II and KISS III. That way, you’ll have a solid understanding of the system.
There’s no need for a blackjack card counting device. All you need is a little patience and tons of practice.