Hi-Lo: The Most Used Card Counting System In Blackjack

Card counting in the game of blackjack is certainly one of the most discussed topics in the casino game literature. One of the most famous and most used methods of counting systems is certainly the one called Hi-Lo, or High-Low, dating back to 1963.

This method is theoretically very simple, because a value that can be +1, -1 or zero is assigned to each card that passes on the table. Things get a little complicated when we also take into consideration the number of remaining decks. However, there are simpler methods, such as the Ace-Five counting system.

It starts with a “Running Count” of zero starting from the moment in which the deck changes. In other words, you start to count when all the cards are still inside the cardholder (deck/shoe).

Every time a card is revealed (also from the bank or from other players), we start adding or subtracting from the Running Count on the basis of the table shown in point 1. Let’s make a couple of examples to clarify considering the first ten cards drawn from the cardholder:

Now we need to calculate the so-called “True Count.” To do this, it is necessary to divide the Running Count value by the number of decks left in the game. This is certainly the most difficult part for those who try their hand at blackjack counting for the first time because it requires the player to have a general idea of ​​the number of cards left in the game.

Bet: the higher the True Count value, the higher the stakes should be. Here mathematics gives way to personal style. It is possible to find guidelines on the type of bet to be made based on the value of the True Count, but in general, these betting systems are recognized by the casino controllers, notoriously unfavorable towards those who count the cards.

A rather natural method of play is that which involves increasing the bet only after a win, reducing it only after a loss, and leaving it unchanged in the event of a tie. To avoid losing control, it is also very useful to set minimum and maximum limits as regards the value of the individual bets. For example, you can decide to bet at least $ 1, increase by $ 1 for each win without however exceeding $ 5 even if the winning streak is greater than 4 hands. This is certainly not the most profitable betting system, but it is one of the “safest” from different points of view.

For those who are beginners with card counting at blackjack, it is obviously recommended to use a simple basic strategy so as to put greater concentration on the calculations, in any case making valid decisions. Later, when (and if) counting is natural, the use of more complex methods can lead to higher profit margins.

The advantage of the player on the bank can generally vary from 0.1% to 1%.

Can It Be Used To Count Cards In Online Blackjack?

It is not possible to use the Hi-Lo counting method in virtual blackjack games, because the system automatically shuffles the cards in the decks after each game. Therefore it is not possible to obtain an advantage based on the value of the cards left in the game.

All counting systems, including this one, make sense only if applied playing in real tables, live.

One Of The Easiest Methods To Count On Blackjack

Blackjack is one of the games where the house edge is lower. A card counting strategy (be careful, to say that in casinos do not appreciate this practice is an understatement!) Can not only reset the house advantage but also bring the odds in favor of the player. Much literature deals with this topic, just as some cinematographic films do it with much more emphasis (do you know the film 21 with Kevin Spacey?).

The Ace-Five strategy is one of the simplest systems for counting cards in Blackjack: it is easy to put into practice, and in the right conditions, it can bring the player’s advantage on the bank to a percentage of about 0.5%.

Premise: the proposed system has a purely theoretical value since the probabilities can change on the basis of many variables. It is, therefore, to be considered more treatment for information purposes than a real scientific system.

How Does It Work?

  • Determine what your minimum and maximum bets are. Generally, the maximum bet equals 8, 16, or 32 times the minimum bet.
  • At the start of each session, you start with a count of zero and a minimum bet.
  • For every 5 you see on the table, add 1 to the count.
  • For each Ace you see on the table, subtract 1 from the count.
  • If the count is equal to or greater than two, double your last bet up to your maximum bet.
  • If the count is equal to or less than one, then make the minimum bet.

In optimal conditions, the Ace-Five system used with a maximum bet of 8, 16, or 32 times the minimum bet can guarantee the player a margin on the bank of 0.30%, 0.45%, and 0.75%, respectively.

The Optimal Conditions

This card counting strategy is most effective in tables that follow these rules:

  • From 4 to 8 decks of cards
  • Blackjack pays 3 to 2
  • The bank is on soft 17
  • Doubling allowed after the Split
  • Late Surrender allowed
  • Axis Re-splitting allowed
  • Penetration greater than 75%

Can it be used to play online?

Counting the card at blackjack in an online casino, where there are no eyes that can observe “incorrect” behavior on the part of the player, seems to be a very simple undertaking, thanks also to the use of computer support to keep track of the count.

Well, practicing a card counting system may not actually be that simple. Apart from the fact that in any case, it is a prohibited practice and, therefore inadvisable, there are some rules that can make these systems ineffective.

In virtual blackjack games, situations may arise in which at the end of each hand, the cards are shuffled into the deck. In other cases, the cards can be shuffled without this being communicated to the player. In other cases, an infinite deck could still be used.

Simulate The Ace-Five Strategy

Those who are curious to try this or any other method of counting blackjack cards can try simulating them using software called “Casino Vérité.” It is one of the most solid and reliable programs for this type of simulation. With a simple Google search, you will have no problem finding it.

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