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History of Speed Count: - Part I

For the past three years I’ve been the Lead Instructor in the Golden Touch Blackjack in which I teach average players the new playing technique called Speed Count.

I’ve gotten many questionsHenry TamburinHenry Tamburin is the editor and publisher of the Blackjack Insider Newsletter and author of the best-selling Blackjack: Take the Money & Run.  He is also the lead Instructor for the Golden Touch Blackjack course, a feature writer for Casino Player magazine (and 6 other publications); an owner of a casino gambling publishing company ( and the host of For a free three month subscription to the Henry's Blackjack Insider Newsletter with full membership privileges go to  Henry's website is  about Speed Count and my involvement with it, so I though I’d answer them.

How did you get involved with Speed Count?

I met Dan Pronovost, the developer of Speed Count, in cyberspace. Dan is a mathematical genius and developer of blackjack training software programs.

One day I called Dan and questioned him about developing an easy method that would allow average players to get the edge when they play blackjack. My goal was to bridge the gap between a basic strategy player (with a negative expectation) and a full fledged card counter, who takes months to learn and master a traditional counting system.

I wanted something simple that average players could easily learn and use, and would give then an edge when they play blackjack. Dan took the challenge very seriously and began investigating different techniques when he hit upon the idea that eventually became Speed Count. The rest, as they say, is history.

What Makes Speed Count Different From Other Counting Systems?

Traditional card counting systems track the ratio of small and high value cards.

To do this requires much training and mental concentration when playing. Most average players fail at learning traditional card counting systems because of the fast pace of the game and because most players find it to difficult to mentally add and subtract negative numbers when keeping the running count.

Speed Count takes advantage of a statistic in blackjack that has been known for years namely, the average number of cards in a hand is 2.7 and one of those cards is a small card.

With Speed Count you track only small cards and make one adjustment at the end of the round for the number of hands played (therefore, Speed Count tracks number of small cards played per hand).

Speed Count is so simple to learn and use a 12-year can do it. And that is what makes Speed Count so revolutionary – for the first time average players can get the edge when they play without having to spend months learning a more difficult counting system.

How long did it take to develop Speed Count?

I would estimate about 2.5 years. When Dan first came upon the idea of Speed Count, he emailed the results of his computer simulations to me. In the beginning I was shocked at the simplicity of Speed Count and the fact something so simple would give the player an edge. Dan kept optimizing the Speed Count system with more and more computer simulations, while sending me the results. I was sort of like a sounding board, offering advice and suggestions on what he was developing based on my 30+ years as a card counter and instructor. Dan probably ran a trillion computer sims to optimize the system (that includes the bet spread, starting counts, the optimum basic strategy, insurance and departure indices, and more). Dan is very detailed and he put in a tremendous amount of effort to develop and fine tune Speed Count so it would meet our objectives: an easy to learn playing method for average players so they can play blackjack with the advantage over the casino.

What other factors makes Speed Count different than other counting systems?

Most players have difficulty with traditional counting systems because they can’t keep the mental sum of the positive and negative integers of the cards as they dealt in the sometimes fast paced environment of the casino. Subtraction and working with negative integers are a real problem with most fledgling counters.

If I asked you what’s “plus 2 added to plus 3 equal” no doubt you would arrive at the answer “plus 5” fairly quickly. But what’s “plus 4 added to minus 7 equal?” How about “minus 6 added to plus 4?” Suddenly the simple math starts to get a little more complicated for most average players, which is why most players give up on card counting.

I wanted a simple way to keep track of cards that did not involve negative integers or subtraction on-the-fly. Speed Count accomplishes this because you are only adding positive numbers for small cards that appear in each player’s complete hand and then at the end of the round, when you have plenty of time, you do one subtraction for the number of hands played.

That’s it! It’s so simple a 12 year old can do it. Of course the Speed Count tells players whether they have the edge on the next hand and should bet more, or the dealer has the edge and you bet small. That’s how you get the edge over the house.

Continued in Part 2. 
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