True card counters at the blackjack tables are a rare breed, but they have the unique ability to get an edge on the casino.  Most people who try to count can’t keep an accurate enough number to make a difference, or they lose their concentration a little too easily.  You don’t only have to have the ability to count cards, but also have a big enough bankroll to sustain a large losing streak.

Dr. Henry Tamburin, who for a very long time had success using the Hi-Lo system, thought there had to be an easier way to count cards.  His colleague Dan Pronovost and him came up with what they thought was a better system in the Speed Count, now taught by Tamburin and the Golden Touch Blackjack crew at seminars across the country.

Tamburin felt that the problem was most players have difficulty using a full-blown computing system accurately, and there had to be something that built on basic strategy but wasn’t as complicated as Hi-Lo, K-O, Red 7s or any other counting system out there.  His partner came up with something simple called the speed count, which he could explain in three sentences.

Some peeople swear by the system after they take the class, others beleive that nothing of value could be taught from start to finish in a two day seminar. Each class will have a diverse body of students, coming from all across the country with experience levels ranging from not quite basic strategy player to experienced Hi-Lo counter.

Speed Count is exactly what it is held out to be, an entry-level card counting system, an innovative little number with a base that’s different from more difficult counts.  It’s simpler because players count fewer cards, don’t have to make a “true count” adjustment for the number of decks remaining and don’t have to vary strategy decisions with the count.  You don’t have to maintain the same focus either since there is plenty of time to look around the casino, chat up other patrons, or watch other players at the game.  The system is easier to learn than basic strategy, and can be picked up in as little as ten minutes and most people can keep an accurate count from the get-go.

The seminars for the Speed Count system aren’t cheap. It’ll cost $895 to learn the system and they’re not for everyone.  If you already use a full-blown counting system accurately then you don’t need Speed Count. Your percentage edge with Speed Count isn’t quite as high as with Hi-Lo, and the risk element is higher because Speed Count will lead players to raise bets in situations where Hi-Lo players would still be making minimum bets.

But for someone who plays a lot of blackjack but has never been able to get past basic strategy, Speed Count seems tailor-made. You can investigate further at

Card counting in general won’t make you a winner every time you sit at the tables.  You still lose more hands than you win, just like every other player but you will be betting more in situations that are more favorable to the player and betting less in situations more favorable to the house.  During times that blackjacks are most likely to be dealt, paying players 3-2 at any game worth playing, card counters have their biggest bets on the tables.

A couple of other benefits to having the big bets out in good counts: In double down situations, we’re more likely to get the big cards we need when the count is good. And since the dealer has to hit hands like 15 and 16 and we don’t, bad counts, with a lot of low cards remaining, favor the dealer.

But players have to be prepared to lose big sometimes. A counter may start with a $5 minimum bet, but if the count says it’s time to bet $40, the counter has to be prepared to make the bet — and take the loss when it comes.