There are more than a dozen professional strategies for counting cards but often, blackjack players prefer to avoid them due to their complexity and the risk of being detected by the pit boss. The Ace/5 Count, however, allows card counters to remain hidden while still gaining a small edge over the casino.
The Ace/5 system for counting cards was popularized by the famous mathematician and game researcher Michael Shackleford. Shackleford, also known as the Wizards of Odds, is a blackjack and poker player and along with this counting system, he has developed gaming strategies, as well as mathematical analysis of various gambling games. The Ace/5 Count, according to him, is currently the easiest counting system players can find since it only requires tracking of 5s and Aces.
This method for counting cards in blackjack simplifies the fundamental principles of counting, reducing complex systems to a plain tactic that is straightforward and perfectly manageable even for beginner-level players. It does come with its limitations, however, although that statement is true for all card counting systems ever created.
The Ace/5 Card Counting System Fundamentals
Advantages and Disadvantages of the Ace/5 System
The Ace/5 Count described by Michael Shackleford (and others) comes with many advantages over the majority of systems for card counting. First and foremost, it is simple and comprehensible as it focuses only on 2 cards and does not have a side count. Players do not need to convert the running count into a true count, which could be particularly tricky in games that use 6 or 8 decks of cards.
This system has two obvious weaknesses that should be taken into consideration. The simplicity of the Ace/5 Count is clearly reflected in its potential for bringing profits. Even when playing under liberal rules and following basic strategy for every decision in the game, players would not be able to gain a substantial advantage over the casino. This means that even those who are applying the system perfectly would be at risk of losing their bankroll.
Moreover, this system works best with 6 or 8-deck games but it can also be used with relative success in 4-deck variations of blackjack. Nowadays, casinos usually use 6 or 8 decks of cards for blackjack so the Ace/5 System would be perfect. It is also probably the best option for those who are new to card counting. Before considering popular methods such as the Hi-Lo or KO Count, novices should try the Ace/5 and see how well they would manage their betting – as this is one of the most important things in card counting.
The Ace/5 System also has a noticeable limitation – it is not only devised for multi-deck shoe games but also for a certain set of rules that are quite liberal and rare. For many players, who are new at card counting, this method will simply be ineffective. Many of them would be able to break even in their blackjack sessions and some of them would not be able to reduce the house edge at all.
Last, but not least, this system deals with another huge issue – casinos and their ability to recognize the betting patterns and specific playing decisions of card counters. When used carefully, the Ace/5 Count allows for a wonderful “camouflage” betting, a style of betting that conceals card counters.
Simplified and easy to learn, the Ace/5 System for counting cards is suitable for all types of players, including complete novices who find tracking all cards on the table too difficult or confusing for them. When using this method, they do not have to worry about complex principles such as true count, shifting pivot and initial running counts, etc. Moreover, they do not have to worry about being instantly detected by the casino and even though they may not earn a lot of money with the Ace/5 Count, they would still make a profit in the long term.