Hi-Lo Blackjack : Hi Lo Blackjack Card Counting System

The Hi Lo blackjack system was originally penned by John Ferguson--under the pen name Stanford Wong--in the book Professional Blackjack in 1979. Hi Lo blackjack is one of the world's simplest methods of card counting and is often recommended for intermediate blackjack players.

How the Hi Lo Blackjack System Works

The Hi Lo blackjack system assigns a number value of +1, neutral, or -1 to cards based upon their face values. The cards 1-6 are all assigned a +1 value, cards 7-9 are considered neutral, and cards 10 and face cards are valued at -1. The object of the system is to keep a running count and use true conversion, using fractional parts of the deck in the event of a single-deck blackjack game. The count per deck at which a player should choose to take insurance is +1.4 for a single-deck game, +2.3 for two decks, +2.8 for four decks, and an even +3 for six-deck games.

Hi Lo Blackjack vs. Other Systems

The Hi Lo system is generally considered an entry-level professional count system and has a .97 betting efficiency; this is excellent for a one-level count. Because this system is relatively simple from the start, it is the preferred blackjack system for a good percentage of blackjack game players. There are some enhancements to the Hi Lo system that can be used at a player's discretion; for instance, a ten-count for insurance purposes can be used in addition to the Ace side count. Wong stresses proper execution in his book, however, stating that there is absolutely no room for error with this system.

The Hi Lo blackjack system is a great option for intermediate players looking to improve their blackjack games. Although true card counting is strictly forbidden in most casinos, the Hi Lo system is a great alternative that is very accurate when executed properly.