The Hi/Lo Card Counting System (High/Low)

There are many card counting systems available. But the simplest of these is the Hi/Lo System developed by Harvey Dubner. The first effective card counting system was published by Edward Thorp in his book "Beat the Dealer." The Hi/Lo is a simplified version of Thorp's system. It is hands down the friendliest of all systems and the one beginners should learn first.

Card Counting Basics

All blackjack card counting systems are based on the premise that some cards are more advantageous to the player (and thus disadvantageous to the house) than other cards. A card counter keeps a mental record of the type of cards that have been dealt so they can tell if the remaining cards in the shoe or deck are good for them or not. If the remainder is mostly favorable, the card counter will increase wagers; otherwise they will wager small.

Card Counting Systems

Counting systems vary in complexity. The more complex a system is, the more accurate it is and the more profitable. Unfortunately, they are also harder to play. Because the scoring is more complicated, the card counter is more apt to make mistakes. One mistake is enough to set off the whole count. Flawless play is necessary.

The Hi/Lo system is known as a single level counting system. As will be shown below, it is very simple and easy to use. It is the best for the beginner among all counting systems.

The Hi/Lo Count

To count with the Hi/Lo, you start with zero or 0 and then count each card as per the following table:

Card Value 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 +1 7, 8, 9 0 10, Ace -1

The low cards 2-5 are counted as positive or +1. The middle cards are neutral or 0. The high cards 10-Ace (includes all court cards) are counted negative or -1.

Your goal here is to get a high positive score. The higher the score, the better for you. It means there are more high cards left in the shoe or deck.

With a preponderance of high cards, you get better cards, the dealer busts more frequently and you get more blackjacks.

Practice Counting with the Hi/Lo

Practice the Hi/Lo with a single deck. Deal one card at a time. Below is an example sequence of cards and the equivalent count. Keep in mind you start with zero.

Sequence 7, 2, 9, Q, A, 5 Value 0 0, +1, 0, -1, -2, -1

When you go through the whole deck of cards, you must always finish with 0. Any other number means an error in your count.

This is the Hi/Lo card counting system. Master this count before trying the other, more advanced systems.

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