Card counting is one of the most effective ways to gain an edge over the house in blackjack. It involves keeping track of the cards that have been dealt to determine the likelihood of certain cards appearing in future hands. One of the most popular and basic card counting methods is the Hi-Lo Count. This method assigns values of +1, 0, and -1 to cards, making it easy to use and understand. In this article, we will take an in-depth look at the Hi-Lo Count and how it works.
What is the Hi-Lo Count?
The Hi-Lo Count is a simple card counting method that assigns a value of +1 to cards 2 through 6, a value of 0 to cards 7 through 9, and a value of -1 to cards 10 through ace. The idea behind this counting method is that low cards are good for the player and high cards are good for the dealer. When there are more high cards left in the deck, the player is more likely to bust, while the dealer is more likely to get a high score.
How to use the Hi-Lo Count
To use the Hi-Lo Count, you need to keep a running count of the cards as they are dealt. To start, you should begin with a count of 0. As cards are dealt, you should add or subtract their assigned value from the running count. For example, if a 5 is dealt, you would add 1 to the count, bringing it to +1. If a king is dealt, you would subtract 1 from the count, bringing it to 0.
Once you have a running count, you need to convert it into a true count. This is done by dividing the running count by the number of decks left in the shoe. For example, if the running count is +6 and there are two decks left in the shoe, the true count would be +3. This is important because it allows you to compare the count across different shoes with different numbers of decks.
Using the Hi-Lo Count to make decisions
The purpose of the Hi-Lo Count is to help you make better decisions about when to bet and how much to bet. When the count is high, you should increase your bets because there is a higher likelihood of getting a high-value card. Conversely, when the count is low, you should decrease your bets because there is a higher likelihood of getting a low-value card.
For example, if the true count is +3, you may want to increase your bet size. On the other hand, if the true count is -1, you may want to decrease your bet size or even stop playing altogether.
Advantages of the Hi-Lo Count
The Hi-Lo Count is one of the most popular and effective card counting methods for several reasons. First, it is simple and easy to use, making it accessible for beginners. Second, it is an effective way to gain an edge over the house without being too obvious. Finally, it works well in multi-deck games, which are becoming more common in casinos.
Disadvantages of the Hi-Lo Count
While the Hi-Lo Count is a popular and effective method, there are some disadvantages to consider. First, it requires a lot of practice to become proficient at keeping a running count. Second, it is not foolproof, and there is always a risk of losing money when gambling. Third, it is not effective in single-deck games, which are becoming rarer in casinos.