Go Back

Hi-Lo Blackjack System - Is It a Reliable Card Counting Method?

Hi-Lo Blackjack System - Is It a Reliable Card Counting Method?

The hi-lo system is one of the most common blackjack card counting systems. Card counting is a strategy some blackjack players use to determine which cards are left in the deck and likely to hit next, given the cards that have been dealt so far. There are a few different card counting methods, including the hi-lo system.

This blog post will take you through the hi-lo blackjack system purely for educational purposes. While card counting isn’t illegal, it goes against the terms and conditions of many casinos and could result in those caught being banned or having their accounts suspended indefinitely.

What Is The Hi-Lo System? 

The hi-lo system is one of the simpler card counting systems. It involves a counting method where you assign each card a value. For cards 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6, you add 1. You don’t add or subtract anything for cards 7, 8, and 9. And for cards 10 and Ace, you subtract 1.

How Does The Hi-Lo Blackjack System Work? 

In the hi-lo blackjack system, you assign each card a point value. These values are +1, 0 and -1. Below are the card values and what they are worth in the hi-lo system:

  • 2 = +1
  • 3 = +1
  • 4 = +1
  • 5 = +1
  • 6 = +1
  • 7 = +0
  • 8 = +0
  • 9 = +0
  • 10 = -1
  • Ace = -1

So, when a card appears, you keep a running count using the above values.

How Do You Use The Hi-Lo System In Blackjack?

When you start a new blackjack game, the running count will be 0.

The hi-lo system requires you to start counting and remembering point values as soon as new cards are dealt. Keep a count of the dealer’s cards, the next player’s and your own at all times. All you need to do using the hi-lo system is add and subtract by 1 and keep a true count of the deck.

If player 1 is dealt a 2 and an 8 (+1 and 0), player 2 is dealt a 5 and an Ace (+1 and -1), and the dealer has a 10 (-1), the running count is 0. 

With a bit of practice, the hi-lo blackjack system isn’t too complex to use. Many beginners learn this method on blackjack online so that they can practice identifying the cards and their values in an environment with less pressure. 

Does The Hi-Lo System Really Work? 

It is a lot easier to use the hi-lo system with just 1 deck. Simply follow the method we have written above. However, if you play a blackjack game with multiple decks, you must find the “true count”.

A lot of blackjack casino games use multiple decks, so if following the hi-lo system, you need to take this into account and work out what the true count is. To work out the true count, you simply need to multiply the accurate running count by the number of card decks left.

The hi-lo system isn’t the most accurate card counting system, and it is really easy to miscount or lose track of the count. These mistakes could potentially increase the house edge. However, if you don’t make any mistakes, you could potentially lower the house edge.

The advantages of using the hi-lo system won’t be immediate, as it requires practice. Having said that, it is one of the more straightforward card counting systems for beginners to learn.

It’s important to remember that using any card counting system in blackjack in a land-based or online casino goes against many casinos’ terms and conditions, and if caught, you could be thrown out of the casino or have your account removed.