Blackjack Hi-Lo / High Low Card Counting System

The Hi-Lo card counting style is one of the most well known of them all. Other names for this style are also known as High-Low or Plus-Minus card counting. The Hi-Lo system was first invented by the mathematician Harvey Dubner and later improved by Professor Edward Throp, who was one of the founding fathers of card counting strategy. The Hi-Lo strategy is very easy to use by both novices and more advanced players. The high-low card counting method is the most commonly used type because of how easy it is to use and is most especially used by blackjack teams.

Hi-Lo Card Counting Strategy Details

The first thing all blackjack players must do is learn and memorize the blackjack basic strategy and then complement this to the Hi-Lo method. You need to do this in order to maximize your edge as much as possible and this requires a nearly perfect game. The High-Low strategy starts by keeping track of every card that is seen on the table. This means watching what cards the dealer throws down and the cards that the other players have down as well. Each card is assigned a "count" value or point. A list of point values for each card is shown in the table below:

Card Value Points
2,3,4,5,6 +1
7,8,9 0
10,J,Q,K,A -1

High and Low Count Values - When to Bet

The high-low card counting system is a balanced system. This means that when you start your count off at 0, you should end your count at 0 as well when every card has been seen and the deck needs to be shuffled again. This is because the lower five cards have +1 values and the upper five cards have -1 values so they cancel each other out. The best way to master this system is to keep practicing outside of the casino. You can learn to increase your counting speed by having yourself or someone quickly deal a deck of cards and you try to keep up with the count. Because this is a balanced card counting system, you should end up with a count of 0 at the end. If the count is not zero, then you know you have miscounted!

An example of an unbalanced system is the KO or knockout method of card counting where the ending total is not zero. Now for the Hi-Lo blackjack system, you are trying to wait for a high positive number before betting big. This means many small cards have been used up and your edge increases when more big cards are left in the game. Also, card counting also tells you when not to bet. When there is a large negative count, then there are a bunch of small cards left in the deck and it's best to conserve your bet and wait for this bad swing to pass.

We all know the casino always has the edge in blackjack, so if you complement the hi-lo card counting system to the basic strategy, you will get the maximum edge and actually eliminate the house edge and even give yourself an edge. Casinos make their profit due to this edge, meaning if you were to gain an edge, it is guaranteed to make you money in the long run. This is how these great card counters broke the bank.