What Are the KISS Systems of Card Counting

If you're on the prowl for a blackjack card counting system, it's worth considering the KISS systems. One of the nice things about these systems is that you don't have to use a running count. If you've studied any other card counting system and are not a fan of needing to do division to calculate a true count, you'll love these systems.

With the KISS systems of counting cards, you'll have the ability to choose between three different options. While each of them has some similarities, there are also some key differences that differentiate them from one another. Below, we'll be sure to fill you in on exactly what makes each one of these card counting systems unique.

On this page, you're going to find a complete collection of all the details you need to know about the KISS systems. We'll start things off by giving you a high-level overview of the systems in general, followed by each one individually. After that, we'll talk about how you can practice using the KISS

systems and how you can avoid being flagged as a card counter in the casino. To close things out, we've also included sections filled with some additional blackjack related resources and an FAQ section.

Below, we've included links to all of the sections covered on this page. If you're looking to learn about one of the specific KISS systems or something else, you can use these links to navigate to those portions of the page quickly. However, if your goal is to learn the most possible about the KISS systems for blackjack card counting, consider reading this entire page.

Understanding the Basics of the KISS Systems

Before we get into the detail on each one of the individual KISS systems, we wanted to start with a section focused on the fundamentals that apply to all three of them. If you're new to the KISS systems, this next section is crucial for you to learn the basics that you need to know to understand these card counting systems correctly.

Hand Showing Ace and Queen

Running Count

The main thing you need to learn with all the KISS systems is the idea of a running count. Each card that you see in play on the table will have a value associated with it. Each card will be worth 0, 1, or -1. We'll get into more details on that below in the individual sections.

With a running count, you'll then need to add those card values together. Your goal is to keep one running total amount. It's this value that's called the running count, and you'll use it to help you size your bets and make other blackjack decisions.

You'll keep this running count going until the deck of cards is shuffled. Once that happens, you'll reset your count to zero and begin again since you'll be establishing patterns for a new set of cards.

True Count

If you've studied or used other card counting systems, you might be familiar with the idea of a true count. For some card counting systems, you have to use a true count to account for the number of decks left in play. However, the remarkable thing about all three of the KISS systems is that none of them require you to have a true count calculation. Instead, you'll just work with your running count mentioned above.


The goal of all three KISS systems is to help you to identify when to bet more on your blackjack hands. Whenever your running count is low or negative, that implies you're unlikely to get a blackjack. In these scenarios, you'll want to bet the smallest amount of money possible. On the flip side, whenever you have a high running count, that's the KISS system's way of letting you know you have an excellent chance at scoring a blackjack. In these scenarios, you'll want to bet more money in the hopes that you'll score the larger 3:2 payout from a blackjack.

The KISS 1 System

The KISS 1 card counting system is the easiest of the three KISS options. The reason that it's the easiest is that with this system, you have to track the fewest number of cards. Below, we've included a list that showcases how you can do a running count with the KISS 1 system.

  • Start with a count of 0
  • When you see a K, Q, or J: Subtract 1 from your running count
  • When you see a 4, 5, or 6: Add 1 to your running count
  • When you see a black 2: Add 1 to your running count
  • When you see an A, red 2, 3, 7, 8, 9 or 10: Do nothing (worth 0)

As you can see, it's just a total of two different cards that you have to track as they appear on the table. As long as you can keep an eye on those and know their associated values shown above, you can begin to use this system to count cards in a short amount of time. As a reminder, since this is an unbalanced system, there is no need for you to convert to a running count like some other card counting systems.

The KISS 2 System

If you're looking for a slightly more complicated and advanced card counting system, you might check out the KISS 2 card counting system. Compared to the KISS 1 system above, this one only requires you to track two additional cards, threes and tens. However, by monitoring these two other cards, you'll be working with a more accurate card counting system.

In the list below, we've included the cards you'll need to track to do a proper running count with the KISS 2 system. As with the KISS 1 system, this one is unbalanced because you're only tracking black twos.

  • Start with a count of 0
  • When you see a K, Q, J, or 10: Subtract 1 from your running count
  • When you see a 3, 4, 5, or 6: Add 1 to your running count
  • When you see a black 2: Add 1 to your running count
  • When you see an A, red 2, 7, 8, or 9: Do nothing (worth 0)

If you were feeling pretty good with the KISS 1 system, this one shouldn't be that much harder for you to put into use. For this system, and the other KISS systems, don't forget to reset your count whenever the cards are shuffled.

The KISS 3 System

Your final option for the KISS systems is the KISS 3 card counting system. This particular one is the hardest one to put into use since it requires the player to track more cards than the other two versions of the system. For this system, you'll also be monitoring aces and sevens.

If you're thinking about trying out the KISS 3 system, check out the list below. Here, you can learn the cards that you'll need to track and know their associated values for your running count. Be sure to check out the section below on how to practice these systems so you can quickly learn how to put this into practice.

  • Start with a count of 0
  • When you see an A, K, Q, J, or 10: Subtract 1 from your running count
  • When you see a 3, 4, 5, 6, or 7: Add 1 to your running count
  • When you see a black 2: Add 1 to your running count
  • When you see a red 2, 8, or 9: Do nothing (worth 0)

In total, you'll have to keep track of 11 different cards with the KISS 3 system. However, if you're able to do this, you'll be working with the most accurate of the three KISS systems.

How to Size Your Bets

Now that you understand the differences between the three KISS systems, let's chat about how you'll use that information to size your bets. The beauty of these systems is that you don't have to convert your running count into a true count. Instead, you'll just use the running count to help you size your bets.

Dealer Stacking Chips on Blackjack Table

A good rule of thumb is to use your running count as a multiplier for the minimum table bet.


If you're at a $10 minimum table, and your running count from one of the KISS Systems is +3, you'd want to bet $30. However, if your count is 1 or less, you'd just bet the table minimum.

The above sample is just one idea of how you can size your blackjack wagers. Some individuals do brackets where if their count is +2 or +3, they'll bet 2x the minimum wager. Ultimately, it's up to you to decide how you'd like to size your bets. Just remember that the higher your running count is, the more likely it is for you to get blackjack, meaning you want to bet more.

How to Practice the KISS Systems

Now that you've got a good idea of the different KISS systems and the differences between them, we wanted to give you some ideas on how you can begin to practice them. With any card counting system, it's a great idea to practice before you try to use the system at a casino. If you can work through the suggested steps below, you'll be ready in no time to put one of the KISS systems into use at a real money blackjack table.

Learn to Count a Deck

The first thing you need to do is learn how to count a deck. Above, we've broken out the values associated with different cards. Remember that the card values are different for each of the KISS systems. Once you settle on the one you'd like to practice, it's time to begin counting a deck.

To get started, simply take a full deck of cards and deal out one card at a time. As each card comes out, you'll want to think of the value of that card in your head. Then, deal yourself the next card. Determine the value of that card and then create a running count of the two cards values combined. Continue doing the same until you've finished the entire deck.

Time Your Deck Counting

Once you've tried counting a deck a few times, your next step should be to time yourself. To be an effective card counter, you'll need to be able to count the cards quickly to keep up and avoid detection. For your first time timing yourself simply set a stopwatch and see how long it takes you to count the entire deck. Then, record that time and continue to practice with the goal of reducing the time it takes you to count the full deck. Ideally, aim to have your future time under half of the initial time.

Advance to Counting Pairs

Your next step of practice should then be to move from counting just one card at a time to counting two cards at a time. By mastering this step of preparation, you'll increase the speed at which you can count cards. Simply deal two cards at once, sum up their values, and add them to your running count. Once you get used to doing this, try timing yourself and aim once again to reduce your deck counting time to as low as possible.

Include Distractions

When you're ready to take your KISS system practice to the next level, it's time for you to introduce distractions. The goal of this step is to get you used to having other sounds and things going on as you count cards. Since casinos are traditionally loud and distracting places, it can be difficult to concentrate on your counting if you're not used to so much going on.

To get started with this step, just turn on the radio or television and then practice your counting. You can time yourself once again and compare it to your time when undistracted. If you'd like to challenge yourself even more, try two or more distractions at once. For this, you can turn on both the television and radio at the same time.

Grab a Friend

For this next step, you'll need to enlist the help of a friend. Here, your friend is going to watch you while you count to see if you're giving away any potential tells. If your friend can catch you giving away tells, it's a pretty good bet that the casino employees will too.

To get started, begin doing a count using the KISS system of your choice. As you do it, have your friend watch your face and hands to see if you're doing anything strange such as mouthing your words or furrowing your brow. Ultimately, it should look just like you're watching the cards with no tells. Should your friend catch any potential issues, be sure to work on avoiding them before you head off to play on real money blackjack tables.

Count in a Real Casino

There's just one final step left before you head off to use your skills with your money on the line. This step is for you to practice counting cards using one of the KISS systems while in a real casino. Here, you won't actually be playing just yet. Instead, you'll stand back and watch the other players. However, while they are playing, you'll be seeing how well you can do keeping up with the running count as the action happens in the casino. Before you move on to wagering your cash, make sure you can keep up with the count for a real-life blackjack game.

Use Low Stakes Tables

Once you've run through all of the practice tips above and are feeling comfortable, it's time to use your KISS system card counting skills in a real-life casino. To get started, we'd suggest you kick things off at a low stakes table. By going this route, you can iron out any nerves or kinks without it potentially costing you a ton of money. As you gain greater confidence in your card counting abilities, you can move up to higher table stakes according to your comfort levels.

How to Avoid Getting Caught

Now that you're up to speed on the three different forms of the KISS systems, we wanted to give you some tips on how you can avoid detection while using them in the casino. As we've discussed earlier, casinos don't like folks employing card counting since it can give them a leg up. If you can keep the tips below in mind while you count cards at real money blackjack tables, you should be able to fly under the radar and avoid getting caught by casino staff.

  • See if you're being watched.

    First things first, you're always being observed when you're in a casino. However, our point here is to pay attention whether you're being watched more than you usually Should you have this feeling, it may be that the casino employees are catching on to your card counting ways. We'd suggest you take a break from playing for a bit to let things cool off.

  • Play at varying times of the day.

    Another excellent way to help fly under the radar when counting cards is to play at different times of the day. This tip is especially true if you only have one or two casinos near your home. Instead of always playing late at night, try coming in at other times. The benefit of this is that you'll spread your exposure out to other casino employees, so they have less chance to catch on to your potential tells.

  • Play at different casinos.

    In an ideal world, we'd also suggest you play at various However, many folks only have a single one close to their home. However, if you're lucky enough to have a variety of casinos available, be sure to play at different ones to mix things up. By doing this, you'll have less chance that employees come to know you and your potential as a card counter.

  • Play with different dealers.

    For those of you frequently using the same casino, it's also a good idea to mix up your dealers so that you're not always playing with the same ones. Once again, the goal here is to help reduce the likelihood of casino employees being able to catch on to your card counting ways.

  • Tip your dealers.

    It's also always a good idea to tip your dealers when you're counting cards. Heck, it's always a good idea and a courteous one when you're not counting cards. However, when you are counting cards, you'll want to tip since many card counters don't. By tossing the dealer a tip here and there, you'll be less likely to be flagged as a potential card counter.

  • Don't give tips to other players.

    While you should tip your dealers, you should not be giving playing tips to your fellow table mates. By doing this, it will instantly raise a flag to the dealer that you might be a card counter. Instead, keep your tips to yourself and focus on your card counting strategy and counts.

  • Keep your spread small.

    Occasionally, your running counts might be relatively high. However, it's not always the best idea to make a massive bet just because your count is that high. In general, we'd suggest you keep your maximum bet at 5x the table minimum or less. If you go much higher than that, you'll potentially catch the eye of the dealer and casino staff.

  • Keep your drinking to a minimum.

    To help your chances of counting accurately and discreetly, we'd suggest you keep your alcohol intake to a minimum while counting cards. While free drinks are a great perk of playing in a casino, they can also be your downfall. Try having just one drink an hour and staying with water the rest of the time to help keep your mind clear.

  • Don't concentrate too much.

    Some concentration is required while counting cards. After all, you have to track cards and keep running counts in your head. However, the goal of this tip is to make sure you don't concentrate too hard. Otherwise, you might end up showing it on your face and giving yourself away to the dealer.

  • Be sure to move tables often.

    Our final tip is to ensure that you move tables often. No, we're not suggesting you move every five minutes. However, you shouldn't spend more than an hour or so at each table. If you end up staying in one place too long, that allows the casino employees the ability to catch on to your potential body tells.

Additional Blackjack Resources

What you're viewing today on this page is just a smidge of the full lineup of blackjack resources that we've created over the years. Below, we've included a sampling of some of the other blackjack related resources that you'll find on our website. To view more, be sure to check out the main website menu.

Best Online Casinos for Blackjack

Below, we've included a link to our page focused on the best online casinos for blackjack. If you're not already playing blackjack online, you might check it out to see just how easy and convenient it is. While card counting systems don't work with all forms of online blackjack, it does with some. Simply click the link below to view our top picks for online casinos.

Blackjack Strategy for Beginners

For those of you that are new to playing blackjack, you'll want to take a step back before learning card counting systems like the KISS ones discussed on this page. While counting cards is a great strategy to use when playing the game, it's one that should be used by intermediate and advanced players. If you're a newer blackjack player, you should head on over to visit our page on blackjack strategy for beginners. You can visit this page by clicking on the link below.

Main Blackjack Card Counting Hub

If you'd like to view information about other card counting systems other than the KISS ones, be sure to visit the link below. This link will take you to our main page on card counting. It's here that you can view details on many of the other popular card counting systems that are available to use. Click the link below to visit our main card counting hub page.

Frequently Asked Questions

We didn't want to wrap things up without adding in some frequently asked questions here. This section will hopefully help any of you that still have unanswered questions after checking out everything else this page has to offer. To see the answer to one of the questions below, just click on the question itself.

Is it legal to use the KISS Systems for blackjack card counting?

Yes! Assuming you're only using your brain to implement the KISS Systems, you're not doing anything illegal. However, if you use a device of some kind to help you keep track of things, then you might be breaking the law depending on where you're playing the game. To stay out of legal trouble, never use anything other than your mind to use this system.

It's worth noting that casinos can ask you to leave your table or the casino if they suspect you of counting cards. While it's not illegal, they can ask you to leave based on their house rules. To help avoid this situation, don't miss out on our section above about how you can avoid getting caught when counting cards.

Do the KISS Systems mean that I'll always win?

No. As is true with the KISS Systems and any other blackjack card counting system, it doesn't guarantee that you'll always win. The goal of these card counting systems is to help you gain a small edge on the casino. When properly implemented, using methods like the KISS ones can help increase your chances of being profitable over a long playing period.

Is one of the KISS Systems best for me?

Since each person has individual likes and strengths, we can't offer an answer here that will be one-size fits all. The good thing is that there are many different blackjack card counting systems out there. If you're having a hard time wrapping your head around this one, or it just doesn't feel like the right fit, check out some others. In the section above, you'll find a link to our main blackjack card counting page. Here, you'll be able to check out all of the other popular systems, so you can find the one that's the best fit for you.

Can I use the KISS Systems when playing online blackjack?

The answer to this question will depend on if you're playing traditional online blackjack or a live dealer format. If you're planning on playing a conventional variant of online blackjack, then you, unfortunately, won't be able to use the KISS Systems or any other type of card counting system. The reason for this is because traditional online blackjack automatically reshuffles the deck after every hand. In turn, this eliminates your chance to be able to establish patterns and know what cards remain in the deck.

Now, if you're planning to play a live dealer variant of blackjack, you may be able to put the KISS Systems into practice. Since you'll have a live video feed showing you the dealer and the table, you'll be able to take note of when the deck is shuffled. As long as the casino isn't using a continuous shuffling machine, you should be able to count cards using this system or another one of your choice.

Which one of the three KISS Systems should I use?

The great thing about the KISS Systems for counting cards is that there are three options to select from. As you learn about each one of them, your goal should be to find the one that you like the most. Ideally, identify the one that's easiest for you to learn and practice. What you don't want to do is adopt a strategy that's difficult to learn and implement as you'll have a harder time using it at real money tables.


We hope that this page was able to provide you with all of the information and detail you were searching for on the KISS systems of counting cards in blackjack. If you're new here, our website is full of other great blackjack and gambling-related resources. Simply use the main website menu to explore some of the other topics that we can assist you with. Thanks for stopping by and best of luck in your future card counting adventures!


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