One of the most popular, and easiest blackjack card countingstrategy is the Hi-Lo Count, the reason this strategy is so popular is that it is simple to learn and easy to implement. Each card in the deck is given a value of either -1, +1 or 0. The total value of a 52 card deck is zero.
The system also known as the Plus/Minus system was originally introduced by Harvey Dubner as remake of Edward Thorp’s slightly more involved Ten-Count blackjack card counting system. This system isn’t widely used by professional blackjack players, but for hobbyists, and those playing while on vacation, or just starting out it’s quick and easy to learn as well as simple to put into use at a live blackjack table.
The Hi-Lo Count strategy is basically a simple way to keep track of high cards left in the deck. This system is called a ‘balanced system’; if every card in the deck was counted down the balance would be zero.
The smaller cards in the deck are given a value of +1 (cards 2-6). The middle cards or “Neutral Cards” 7-9 are given a zero value, or +0. The face cards, or big cards, 10, jack, queen, king, and ace are all given a -1 value.
Implementing the Hi-Lo Count
The counting begins when there is a new shuffle and a new shoe is introduced in a game of blackjack. The table count at this point is zero. As cards are shown, you add 1, subtract 1, or add 0. If we’re starting at zero, and your count is 0 (the beginning of a new shoe, or new deck of cards) and a king is dealt the table count becomes -1. If a 3 is dealt next the count becomes 0 (-1 plus +1 equals 0).The higher your count, the more likely the deck has higher cards left. I deck that favors high cards is advantageous to know. It is true that a show heavy in high cards is just as good to the dealer as the player, knowing there is a better chance of a high card to come can make some of those tough decisions a little easier. Also, just the opposite, if the count is low and you are faced with a hard decision with a hand totaling 16 against a dealer showing a 9 for example, you can take a hit knowing that a low card number is likely to come.
The more cards dealt and counted, the more accurate the blackjack Hi-Lo Count method is. Blackjack rules have no guarantees, as it wouldn’t be gambling if there were, however the use of blackjack strategies can improve your odds, and give you a better CHANCE of winning.