Hi-Lo Your Way to Score Wins in Blackjack
Different blackjack players have developed methodical variations of a card game strategy known as card counting. The bottom line of card counting, however, is to determine whether the cards remaining in a deck will give the player a playing and betting advantage or not.
A card counting system may work on a one-level count, on two-level count, or on a multi-level count. The simpler the method is, the less problem will a blackjack player have in multitasking at a card table: playing quickly while keeping a mental count of cards.
The most basic count system in blackjack is Hi-Lo card counting.
Hi-Lo card counting is not about memorizing specific high cards and low cards already drawn. Hi-Lo card counting is not about keeping track of specific cards. Rather, Hi-Lo card counting is about keeping track of the possible point-balance of high cards and low cards in a deck with each card dealt. It is about point-scoring.
How is this done?
First, values are assigned to cards. Small cards 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 are assigned a positive value (+1). Median cards 7 through 9 are assigned a null value (0). High cards 10 (including face cards) and Ace are assigned a negative value (-1).
Values are then subtracted and added with each card dealt. The player keeps a running count of these values. Running count refers to the sum of each value every time a card is drawn. It is the score summary of small cards and high cards and it changes every time a card is dealt.
Simply put, the even spread of positive- and negative- valued cards mean that Hi-Lo card counting is a balanced card counting system. The zero-valued cards mean that their net effect on play decisions can be ignored.
In blackjack, if there are more high cards than low cards in a deck, the higher is the player's odds of beating the dealer and the more can the blackjack player confidently raise bets.
How is Hi-Lo card counting used in a multi-deck game?
The player simply divides the running count of the dealt cards with the number of decks not yet dealt.
Different blackjack card counters have developed varying methods of card counting. The problem with complex card counting, however, is that it may lower the player's ability for quick and accurate play.
Hi-Lo card counting is a single-level count. This makes the method easy to learn. The player simply assigns points to high cards, median cards, and low cards. Then the player keeps a running score of the positive- and negative- valued cards as each card is dealt.