While you need to have laser focus when you are counting each card in a deck, with Thorp’s Ten-Count betting system, you are going to be able to take a more relaxed approach. The theory behind this betting strategy is simple, the closer you can get to 21 the better, and when 10’s or royalty cards are paired in your hand, you are going to be tough to beat. The trouble with Blackjack though, you have to bet before you ever see your cards.
This is where the Thorp’s Ten-Count betting system comes into play and gives you a slight advantage to having a basic idea of what types of cards you might be getting dealt at certain times in the game.
To make things easier for the Blackjack player, Thorp decided to give cards that were favorable for the player the value of 10. Now for the sake of this explanation, we are going to be working with only a single deck of standard playing cards. With 52 cards in a deck, 16 of them will be given the value of 10, (4 kings, 4 queens, 4 jacks, and 4 tens), and the other 36 regular cards have no value for sake of this system.
In your head, you are going to have to maintain two different sets of running counts. The counts will be the number 16 for the favorable 10s in the deck and the number 36 for the total number of unfavorable cards in play. The 16 and 36 add up to the total number of cards in this deck.
As the cards are dealt, you subtract from the totals the numerical value of the cards in play. So for example, if there are four low cards on board, the count drops to 16/32. If more 6 more low cards and 2 10s drop, the new running total is 14/26. At any point in the game now you will be able to tell how many high-value cards are still waiting to be dealt.
Thorp’s Ten-Count betting system really becomes favorable for the player as you get closer to the end of the deck. If you knew the deck was still loaded with an abundance of 10s, those cards are ideal for your hand and you would start betting more because chances are high you are going to get a solid starting hand.
Conversely, if you were to get closer to the end of the deck and you know that most of the 10s are gone, you pull back the reigns and bet the table minimum until the deck is reshuffled and the 10s are back in play again. That will help you to stretch your chips until things become more favorable.