Unbalanced Zen 2 - Unbalanced Zen II Card Counting System

It says it all right in the name: Unbalanced Zen 2 is an unbalanced method for card counting in blackjack. That means, after an entire deck has been counted, the final count is something besides 0. While this does offer a quicker route to calculating the advantage, it offers a little less accuracy than other balanced systems for counting.

Unbalanced Zen II was first developed by George C. in 1995, outlined in his book The Unbalanced Zen II. Though relatively new on the blackjack scene, this direct counting method is a great choice for card counting novices.

How the Unbalanced Zen 2 Works

Unbalanced Zen II is actually a cross between the Revere Point Count and the Zen count methods, but its unbalanced nature adds a dash of simplicity to the mix. Being unbalanced, this card counting method does not require that the running count be converted to a true count before making betting decisions. It was designed so its application can freely switch between single-deck and multi-deck games and retain the method's accuracy. The following is a table of the point values in Unbalanced Zen II:

Unbalanced Zen 2 Card Point Values

 2         3          4          5          6          7          8          9          10        A

+1      +2        +2         +2       +2      +1          0         0           -2         -1


Example of Using the Unbalanced Zen Count

Under this point scheme, a running count would operate like this:

  • 1st card is a 10, so the running count is -2.
  • 2nd card is a 4, so the running count becomes 0.
  • 3rd card is a 2, so the running count is now +1.
  • 4th card is a 5, making the running count +3.

The Unbalanced Zen II system was made specifically to be easy-to-use. It eliminates the need for a true count, but maintains a high level of accurate advantage calculation. Players don't even need to keep a side-count of the Aces in play, since Unbalanced Zen II is Ace-Reckoned, meaning Aces are assigned a value and have an effect on the running count.

With its straightforward design and ease of application, the Unbalanced Zen II system for counting cards is a great starting place for beginners. It can also help players develop the skills they'll need with more complex advanced methods.

Books about the Unbalanced Zen 2

If you can find it, The Unbalanced Zen II, written by the method's creator, George C., is an excellent book. The Unbalanced Zen II method is also discussed in Blackjack Attack, 2nd ed., by Don Schlesinger.