Hi Lo system


Where does the hi lo system come from?

The hi lo system was created in 1963 by Harvey Dubner. It was subsequently developed by Stanford Wong and Julian Braun. This system is actually a blackjack card counting process which happens to be the most simple, and consequently the most widespread.

A principle based on card counting

The system is based on a balanced count. This card counting process consists in attributing a nominal value to each playing card that is dealt to the different players. The values that can be taken by the cards are 1, 0 or -1.

It is worth noting that a balanced count means there is an equal number of +1s and -1s in the 52-card deck.

Counting all 52 cards therefore gives you a result of 0.

What is the value of the cards with the hi lo system?

We just discovered together what the possible values of the cards were.

  • More precisely, cards 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 are worth 1 each.
  • Conversely, Aces and “logs” count as -1 in the hi lo system.
  • Finally, cards 7, 8 and 9 have a value of 0.

As a reminder, “logs” in blackjack are cards worth 10 points: 10s, Jacks, Queens and Kings.

Once you completed the counting, what should you do?

The question is indeed: What is the use of the card count obtained as the game is played?

First of all, when cards remaining in the shoe are mainly small cards (those that are worth 1 point, from 2 to 6), which are therefore cards soon to be brought into the game, the advantage is leaning towards the croupier.

Conversely, if there are more big cards left (those that are worth -1, the Ace and the “logs”), the advantage is for the player, who should consequently increase their bet. If your count is high, that means there are more high value cards to be played. A player who is following his count should therefore be able to bet in a well thought out manner.

To recap

  • If the count is close to 0, the shoe is neither advantaging the croupier nor the player.
  • If the count is high, the shoe is more interesting for the player, who can then place higher bets.
  • Conversely, if the count is below 0, the shoe contains only small cards and the player should really place smaller bets.

In order to master this hi lo card counting system, it is important to practise it often and to train very regularly. Start on your own, with a deck of cards, in order to first assimilate the value of the cards (as a way to check that you indeed obtain a result of 0 once you finish counting). Then, you can increase the number of cards in the game little by little.