Red 7 Method of Card Counting

The Red 7 Count Method is an unbalanced blackjack card counting system developed by Arnold Snyder, and first published in his book, "Blackbelt in Blackjack." This powerful card counting method is easy to use and has given many players a winning advantage. As an unbalanced system, Red 7 uses unique point values and rules to eliminate the need to convert to a true count. This removes a calculation step, making Red 7 a more rapid-fire tool, even for novices.

How the Red 7 Count Works

The first thing of note about the Red 7 method is that it's unbalanced. Any card counting system that doesn't yield a count of 0 after the entire deck has been counted is considered unbalanced. These systems are developed to be easy to use, with many of them eliminating the need for any count conversion during game play. As a result, unbalanced systems can be both fast and incredibly useful for coming out ahead at the blackjack table.

To compensate for the imbalance in Red 7's point values, players must start with an Initial Running Count, or IRC, of minus  times the number of decks in a game. So in a one-deck game, the IRC at the start of the game is minus 2. In a two deck game, the IRC would be minus-4 (-2 x 2 decks), and so on.

Card Values for Red 7 Count

The unique card values for the Red 7 are as follows:

Red 7 Card Point Values

 2         3          4          5          6          7          8          9          10        A

+1         +1       +1        +1        +1        *          0          0          -1        -1


Red 7's (Diamonds and Hearts) have a value of +1, while black 7's (Clubs and Spades) have a value of 0 in the Red 7 Count Method.

Running Count Example of Using Red 7

To use the method, start with a running count of 0 and change that count as each card is dealt, using the appropriate values. Here's an example:

  • 1st card is a 10, so the count is minus 3.
  • 2nd card is a 4, so the count becomes minus 2.
  • 3rd card is a 2, so the count raises to minus 1.
  • 4th card is a 7 of Hearts, so the count becomes 0.
  • 5th card is a 7 of Clubs, so the count remains 0.

Now that our example running count is 0, we've reached what is known as the “pivot point.” The pivot point is the point at which a player should start making larger bets, because the count is indicating an advantage. Just remember, the higher the count, the better the advantage!

After you've gotten the counting rules for Red 7 memorized and can maintain a quick-paced count, there are a few basic strategies that can help enhance the effectiveness of the method.

  • If you're playing a 1 or 2 deck game and the count is 0 or higher, taking insurance is a good idea.
  • Stand on 12 vs. 3 and 16 vs. 10 when the count is 0 or higher, no matter the game.
  • With a count of plus 2 or higher, always stand on 12 vs. 2 and 15 vs. 10 hands.
  • If the count is plus 2 or higher, double down on 10 vs Aces.

Those strategies aren't necessary to make Red 7 a useful addition to your blackjack arsenal. This system is one of the easiest to use and can give quite an edge to a skilled player.

Books About Red 7

The greatest resource for learning the Red 7 method is the book written by the method's creator, Blackbelt in Blackjack by Arnold Snyder.