Blackjack Hi-Lo Card Counting

The Blackjack Hi-Lo card counting system is the most popular and widely used system for card counting in blackjack. Its popularity comes from its simplicity. The system can be learned quickly so that the card counter can concentrate on other things, such as not getting caught.

This system works on the premise that as low cards are revealed, there are more high cards remaining in the deck, which is a good thing for the player. When a lot of high cards have been revealed, it means there are a lot of low cards remaining, which is a bad thing for the player.

By finding when the advantage lies with the player, card counters can then increase their bets at the right times to give them an edge over the casino. When the advantage is with the casino, the blackjack dealer bets as little as possible.

Card Values

The Hi-Lo system uses a running count to keep track of the current “score.” Each card has a certain number that either adds to the score, subtracts from the score or leaves the score alone.

Hi-Lo Card Counting Example

The count begins at 0 and then as cards are revealed at the blackjack table, the value of those cards is added to the current score. So if the current count is 0 and the card counter sees an Ace, the count drops to -1. If a King is seen next, the count drops to -2. Then let’s say the card counter sees a couple of deuces. The count would then increase back to 0 because each deuce is worth +1.

The higher the count gets, the better it is for the player. A high count means that a lot of low cards have already been dealt, which means there are a lot of high cards remaining in the deck. This makes it more likely for the player to get strong hands and for the dealer to bust.

During times in which the count is high, the card counter should increase his bets as much as possible. It has to be done very carefully, however, because casinos will notice if someone suddenly starts increasing his bet sizes when the count is positive.

Not only does the running count tell when the advantage is with the player, but it can also be used to make decisions at the table. For example, if the count is really low and you’re stuck with a 16, you would know that there is a decent chance of getting a small card if you hit.

Card Counting Tips

1. Practice blackjack card counting at home or on the computer before you try it at a live casino. You need to be totally comfortable with the system before attempting to use it in the crowded atmosphere of a casino.

2. When you practice card counting, do not get in the habit of mouthing the numbers to yourself. It’s a tough habit to break and if you do it in the casino, you’re going to get caught.

3. Practice counting down an entire deck by yourself. You can test yourself by knowing that an entire deck of cards should end up with a count of 0. Get to the point where you can count an entire deck of cards in under 25 seconds.