What Makes the Hi-Lo Card Counting System a Widely Recommended Choice?

Playing blackjack is both fun and rewarding. Players want to win, and so does the dealer. To increase their winnings, players sometimes explore strategies that give them an edge in the game. If you are one of these players, you would love the Hi-Lo card counting systems. But why should we use this system at all? Let’s find out together.

The Principles of the Hi-Lo System Work

As the name implies, the Hi-Lo system is a card-counting strategy concerned with high and low cards. This basic strategy involves players keeping track of the number of high and low cards on the deck. With this information, players can make decisions accordingly. The low cards are favourable to the dealer, and the high cards to the player. Let’s look at how to use this system for online blackjack real money, and other card games.

Assign Values to Each Card

  • Cards that have the following ranks have +1 points each: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.
  • Cards that have the following ranks have 0 points each: 7, 8, 9.
  • Cards that have the following ranks have a value of -1 point each: 10, J, Q, K, A.

Low cards reduce the chances of busting, while high cards increase the probability of hitting a blackjack or high hand. Then the middle cards with 0 points have little or no impact on the results. However, the point values of these cards may change depending on the card-counting system you are using.

Convert to the True Count

  • Calculate the running count by using the assigned point values above.
  • Then divide the running count by the number of decks left. In cases of decimals, you can round up to the nearest whole number to get the true count.
  • As cards are revealed, you should keep on calculating the running count. Don’t worry, you will get used to calculating the running count in your head as you use it regularly.

With practice, it will be as easy as remembering the blackjack rules card values. When you get used to the Hi-Lo principles, you can use them for adjusting your bets.

Raise Bets When Necessary

  • If the true count is positive, then you can risk bigger bets.
  • If the true count is negative, then you should reduce your bets.
  • If the count is zero, you should stick to the basic strategy. This means you should wager and play as if it were a new deck.

As you see, the Hi-Lo system also helps you to gamble responsibly. You can assume when it’s better to avoid chasing losses and when the game may be worth the risk.

Advantages of the Hi-Lo System

  • It is simple, and anyone would get the hang of it quickly.
  • It is a balanced counting system which means the running count is zero when you add all the cards in the deck or shoe. Once you know this, you can avoid mistakes while you count.
  • Adding and subtracting after a card is added simplifies the entire card counting process.
  • With such a strategy, you can suggest when it’s better to double down bet in blackjack and when it’s better to avoid risks.
  • After all, the blackjack game becomes much easier and simpler with the Hi-Lo system. You can use it to manage your bankroll and take potential advantages from the game.

Comparing Hi-Lo Counting Systems

To use this table, you simply use the assigned card values to calculate your running count at any point. What value you use depends on the system you prefer. Playing efficiency is a value that reflects how effective a strategy is when predicting the right play in a situation. So if a counting strategy has a high PE, it is very effective.

Also, the betting correlation value shows how effectively a system can predict the effect of a card. In this case, it also the higher, the better. The Insurance Correlation (IC) shows the efficiency of a particular system in determining what time is best to buy insurance. You can count on the system to deliver if the value is high. The Balance (Bal) indicates that the count of a system all adds up to zero, like Hi-Lo.

Count Strategy Hi Lo Hi-Opt I Hi-Opt II Zen K-O Red Seven Omega II Halves
2 1 0 1 1 1 1 1 0.5
3 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
4 1 1 2 2 1 1 2 1
5 1 1 2 2 1 1 2 1.5
6 1 1 1 2 1 1 2 1
7 0 0 1 1 1 0/1* 1 0.5
8 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
9 0 0 0 0 0 0 -1 0.5
T -1 -1 -2 -2 -1 -1 -2 -1
J -1 -1 0 -1 -1 -1 0 -1
Q -1 -1 0 -1 -1 -1 0 -1
K -1 -1 0 -1 -1 -1 0 -1
A -1 -1 0 -1 -1 -1 0 -1
PE 0.51 0.61 0.67 0.63 0.55 0.54 0.67 0.56
BC 0.97 0.88 0.91 0.96 0.98 0.98 0.92 0.99
IC 0.76 0.85 0.91 0.85 0.78 0.78 0.85 0.72
Bal Yes Yes Yes Yes No No Yes Yes

High-Low Statistics

In the table below, you will find a statistic about betting strategy in blackjack. Let us explain the first columns, which may be difficult to understand. Spread reflects the player’s minimum to maximum bet ratio, influencing advantage and bankroll volatility. Penetration indicates the number of decks played before reaching the cut card. Index numbers utilize Illustrious 18 and Fab 4 (I18+F4) strategies, highlighting the effectiveness of knowing the top 22 indexes.

Spread Penetration Index numbers Standard Deviation Average Bet Player Advantage
1-5 4 I18+F4 1.50 1.35 0.157
1-10 4 I18+F4 2.04 1.57 0.368
1-15 4 I18+F4 2.67 1.73 0.578
1-5 4.5 I18+F4 1.60 1.41 0.300
1-10 4.5 I18+F4 2.27 1.68 0.587
1-15 4.5 I18+F4 3.06 1.90 0.834
1-5 5 I18+F4 1.70 1.47 0.469
1-10 5 I18+F4 2.52 1.80 0.837
1-15 5 I18+F4 3.49 2.10 1.147
1-5 4.5 All 1.61 1.41 0.313
1-10 4.5 All 2.29 1.68 0.608
1-15 4.5 All 3.10 1.91 0.862
1-5 5 All 1.71 1.47 0.494
1-10 5 All 2.55 1.81 0.857
1-15 5 All 3.54 2.11 1.182

Tips to Use the Hi-Lo System Without Getting Caught

While card counting is not illegal, most casinos have banned the use of the Hi-Lo strategy while playing blackjack games. So if you are going to count cards in a physical or online casino, you ought to know how to avoid being caught. Here are a few ways you can do this.

Change Your Bet Spread Sensibly

Bet spread refers to the ratio between your maximum bet and minimum bet. What the casino looks out for is a big change in this ratio. If a card counter is already using a minimum bet for when there are low cards, they wait to observe what the player does when there are high cards. Now, what you want to do to avoid being caught, is to increase your bet slowly. Never opt for a drastic change, as this would alert the dealer.

Watch Out for the Detection Software

Casinos constantly find ways to stop users from Hi-Lo counting. This is why they sometimes use detection software, which is hard to evade. To avoid being flagged, you can use the zen or omega II counting system, which is harder to detect.

Don’t Fidget and Act Normal

Most card counters tend to make their card-counting calculations obvious, which gets them caught. Before using the card counting strategy, master the way Hi-Lo works and ensure you can do it on reflex. This way, you are counting cards without showing that you are.


The Hi-Lo counting strategy is a simple strategy blackjack lovers can use. Whether you are playing a single, two or even six-deck game, its high winning probability can increase your winnings. However, remember that most casinos do not allow the card counting strategy in professional blackjack. So if you will use it, ensure you do not get caught. No system can guarantee your winnings; however, they may improve your chances.

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