The Zen Count System

The Zen Count is an advanced, two-level system for counting cards in blackjack that was popularized in the 1980s. This is a balanced system that allows players to determine the ratio of high to low cards in the deck and find out when the odds shift in their favor. Compared to other pro-focused methods, the Zen Count system is easier to learn and promises good profits to the committed player.

This system for card counting was first introduced by legendary blackjack player and author Arnold Snyder in his 1983 book Blackbelt in Blackjack: Playing 21 as a Martial Art. Snyder, a professional card counter for more than three decades, has developed several strategies and systems, including the Red 7 and the Zen Count methods, as well as various methods for estimating the true count. Moreover, all his ideas and systems are founded on mathematical proof and supported by solid evidence.

The Zen Count, in particular, has become very popular among blackjack players due to its relative simplicity. Still, it would not be suitable for novices – to truly master this system, players need to have a deep understanding of the game, and be proficient in applying basic blackjack strategy. It also should be practiced a fair amount of time before it could be executed quickly in live casino games.

The Zen Count System Fundamentals

Basics of the Zen Count
How to Use the Zen Count System?

Advantages and Disadvantages of the Zen Count


Blackjack players who decide to use the Zen Count will immediately notice its effectiveness – even if they do not convert the running count into a true count, in fact. If they manage to estimate how many decks have remained in the deck, their count will be more accurate and more efficient in generating good returns over time.

There are not many disadvantages to this method. It can be used in various pitch and shoe games, although its efficiency decreases with the number of decks added. In 6 and 8-deck blackjack variations, the Zen Count still works well but it is advisable to start using it after half of the shoe has already been dealt.

Another thing that should be taken into account is that although this is a 2-level system, it is relatively simple and could be learned easily with little practice. Players do not need to count the Aces separately, which is necessary for other successful counting methods. Here, the only tricky part is to calculate the true count and adjust your bets accordingly.

The true count manages to compensate for this deficiency but only to a certain extent. The calculation of the true count can also pose some difficulties to less experienced players since it requires them to be able to estimate how many decks have not been played yet.

Arnold Snyder’s Zen Count System is a wonderful option for those who already have some basic knowledge about blackjack strategy and card counting. It can be used by advanced players, as well, and the results will be even better. This system could be very efficient in helping players gain some advantage over the casino but the variance of blackjack should also be taken into account.