The Hi-Lo Blackjack Card Counting System

In spite of numerous techniques and strategies that have appeared on the Net, Hi-Lo card counting is still the preferred method by a lot of Blackjack players. If you are a novice, it is also worth giving it a try; the fact that some casinos don't want you to use this technique should be reason enough to give it the benefit of the doubt.

The basic idea of the Hi-Lo card counting system was derived from the Ten Count method that Dr. Ed Thorpe popularized in his book Beat the Dealer. Although the Ten Count mathematically gave the Blackjack player strong odds, it was considered too difficult to use. Harvey Dubner devised the Hi-Lo system to make the process more understandable and player friendly.

The basic idea is simple: take all the low cards (2 to 6) and designate them as plus one; 7, 8 and 9 as neutral or zero, and all tens, paint cards and Aces as negative one.

When the Blackjack game begins, the Hi-Lo card counting system takes effect. Starting at zero, you assign the plus or negative one based on the hands that are dealt. As the game goes on, one or the other set will have the advantage (i.e., it could be plus 5 or negative 7). What you will be looking for here is to get as many of the small hands out of the way.

If there are bigger Blackjack hands in play, your odds of getting high totals go up, and also the dealer going over. With this in mind, you not only get better ideas of how much to bet, but the process of money management becomes easier to understand.

Although the Hi-Lo card counting system is the easiest of all counting techniques in Blackjack, you still need to hone your skills. While you may become adept at it when you're playing at home, you need to put up with some additional distractions when in casinos. Try picking out a table that is relatively quiet; you don't want to engage in small talk with other players because it will hamper your counting.

The Hi-Lo card counting system was devised to make things easier for the player, and it can be so. Although there are more advanced systems around, this method is just as effective, and suitable for beginners and those that don't play Blackjack often. The next time you are in a casino, try this system out, and you might be surprised at how much you can end up pocketing.