What Is The Hi-Lo Count In Blackjack?

Have you ever wondered how to gain an edge in the popular card game of blackjack? Well, let me introduce you to the Hi-Lo Count! What is the Hi-Lo Count in blackjack, you ask? It’s a card counting method that can help you make better decisions and increase your chances of winning. Let’s dive in and explore this fascinating strategy together.

Picture this: you’re sitting at the blackjack table, trying to beat the dealer, but you’re not sure if you should hit or stand. That’s where the Hi-Lo Count comes in. This technique assigns values to different cards to keep track of their overall impact on the game. By mentally adding up the values, you can estimate the ratio of high to low-value cards remaining in the deck.

Now, you might be wondering how this information helps you. Well, here’s the deal: when the ratio of high-value cards to low-value cards is favorable, it means there’s a higher probability of getting a blackjack or a winning hand. And when the ratio is unfavorable, you might want to play more conservatively. By adjusting your bets and strategy based on the count, you can improve your odds in blackjack. Exciting, right? So, let’s learn more about how the Hi-Lo Count works and how you can use it to your advantage.

What is the Hi-Lo Count in blackjack?

What is the Hi-Lo Count in Blackjack?: A Comprehensive Guide

Welcome to our comprehensive guide on the Hi-Lo Count in blackjack. In this article, we will explore the ins and outs of the Hi-Lo Count, a popular card counting system used by professional blackjack players. Whether you’re a seasoned gambler or just starting out, understanding the Hi-Lo Count can give you an edge at the blackjack table. So, let’s dive in and discover how this counting system works, its benefits, and how you can use it to improve your blackjack strategy.

How Does the Hi-Lo Count Work?

The Hi-Lo Count is a card counting system used in blackjack to assess the relative advantage or disadvantage to the player. It assigns a value to each card and keeps a running count of these values as the cards are dealt. The Hi-Lo Count is based on the principle that high cards, such as tens and aces, are favorable for the player, while low cards, like twos and threes, are beneficial for the dealer. By keeping track of the running count, players can make more informed decisions on their bets and gameplay.

To implement the Hi-Lo Count, each card in the deck is assigned a specific value. High cards (tens, jacks, queens, kings, and aces) are assigned a value of -1, while low cards (twos, threes, fours, fives, and sixes) are assigned a value of +1. Cards with a value of 7, 8, or 9 are considered neutral and do not change the running count. As the cards are dealt, players keep a running count in their minds by adding and subtracting the values of each card. The resulting count provides valuable information about the composition of the remaining deck and helps players make more accurate decisions.

For example, if the running count is +4, it means that there are four more high cards remaining in the deck than low cards, which is advantageous for the player. Conversely, a negative running count indicates an abundance of low cards, favoring the dealer. By adjusting their bets and strategy based on the running count, players can maximize their chances of winning.

The Benefits of Using the Hi-Lo Count

While card counting is not illegal, it is often frowned upon by casinos. However, employing the Hi-Lo Count discreetly can provide a range of benefits for players who are willing to put in the effort to master it.

Firstly, by using the Hi-Lo Count, players gain a significant advantage over the casino and increase their chances of winning. Depending on the exact rules of the game and the proficiency of the card counter, the player’s edge can range from 0.5% to 1.5% or more. This may not seem like a significant advantage, but in the long run, it can make a substantial difference in a player’s overall winnings.

Secondly, the Hi-Lo Count allows players to make more informed betting decisions. By keeping track of the running count, players can determine when the deck is rich in high cards and adjust their bets accordingly. When the count is positive, indicating a higher proportion of high cards, players can increase their bets to capitalize on the favorable situation. Conversely, when the count is negative, players can reduce their bets to minimize losses. This strategic adjustment of bets based on the running count increases the player’s overall profitability.

Common Pitfalls of the Hi-Lo Count

While the Hi-Lo Count can be a powerful tool in the hands of a skilled player, there are some common pitfalls that beginners should be aware of.

One of the main challenges players face is maintaining an accurate running count while also concentrating on the game and making strategic decisions. Keeping track of the count can be mentally demanding and requires practice to become efficient. Novice players often find themselves losing track or making errors in their counting, which can lead to inaccurate decisions and diminished profits.

Additionally, players using the Hi-Lo Count must avoid being detected by casino personnel. The practice of card counting is not illegal, but casinos have the right to refuse service to anyone they suspect of counting cards. To avoid detection, players must employ stealthy techniques, such as varying their bet sizes and disguising their counting behavior. Failure to do so may result in being banned from the casino, effectively eliminating the opportunity to capitalize on the advantages offered by the Hi-Lo Count.

Tips for Successful Card Counting with the Hi-Lo Count

Mastering the Hi-Lo Count requires dedication and practice. Here are some tips to help you become a successful card counter:

  1. Start by mastering basic strategy: Before delving into card counting, it’s essential to have a solid understanding of basic blackjack strategy. This foundation will serve as the backbone for your counting efforts.
  2. Practice your counting skills: Start with a single deck of cards and practice keeping an accurate running count. Gradually increase the decks and challenge yourself to maintain accuracy under distractions.
  3. Use a card counting trainer: Online card counting trainers can simulate real casino conditions and provide feedback on your performance. These tools can help you refine your skills and improve your counting speed.
  4. Avoid suspicious behavior: To avoid detection, vary your bet sizes and avoid consistently winning large amounts. Also, try to blend in with the crowd by imitating the behavior of casual players.
  5. Know when to leave: If you suspect that the casino has caught on to your counting, it’s best to leave and try your luck elsewhere. Don’t risk being banned from a casino by pushing your luck.

Tips for Maximizing the Hi-Lo Count

Now that you have a good understanding of the Hi-Lo Count, let’s explore some additional tips to help you maximize your winnings:

The Hi-Lo Count in Blackjack Tournaments

When it comes to applying the Hi-Lo Count in blackjack tournaments, there are a few additional considerations to keep in mind. While the basic principles of the Hi-Lo system remain the same, tournament play introduces some unique challenges that require adjustment in strategy.

One important factor in blackjack tournaments is the limited number of hands that can be played. Unlike traditional casino blackjack, where players have the freedom to leave the table whenever they choose, tournaments have a set number of rounds or hands that participants must play. This time constraint affects the effectiveness of card counting, as players have less opportunity to capitalize on a positive running count.

In tournaments, players often adopt a more aggressive betting strategy to accumulate chips quickly. This can involve making larger bets in the early stages of the tournament, when the count is still favorable. However, it’s important to remember that every bet counts, and a series of unfortunate hands can quickly deplete a player’s chip stack. Skilled tournament players meticulously manage their bets and adjust their strategy based on their relative position in the tournament and the count.

The Hi-Lo Count in Online Blackjack

While card counting is typically associated with brick-and-mortar casinos, some players wonder if it can be used effectively in online blackjack games. Unfortunately, the Hi-Lo Count is virtually useless in online blackjack due to several reasons.

Firstly, online blackjack games often employ random number generators (RNGs) to simulate the shuffling of cards. This means that each hand is essentially a fresh shuffle, making it impossible to track the running count from one hand to the next.

Secondly, online casinos use multiple decks, usually six or eight, in their virtual games. This effectively neutralizes the advantage of card counting because there are too many cards to keep track of accurately. The reshuffling of the decks after every hand further reduces the viability of card counting strategies in online blackjack.

However, if you’re looking to practice your card counting skills or test your strategy, some online casinos offer live dealer blackjack games. These games use real decks of cards, and the dealer is a live person. Although the effectiveness of card counting is still limited due to the dealer shuffling the cards often, it can provide a more realistic environment for practice.


The Hi-Lo Count in blackjack is a powerful tool that can give players a significant advantage over the casino. By keeping track of the running count and adjusting their bets and strategy accordingly, players can improve their chances of winning and maximize their profitability. However, using the Hi-Lo Count requires practice, discipline, and an ability to avoid detection by casino staff. Whether you’re playing in a traditional casino or participating in a blackjack tournament, understanding and implementing the Hi-Lo Count can elevate your blackjack game to new heights. So, when you’re at the blackjack table, keep your count, make strategic decisions, and enjoy the thrill of beating the house!

Key Takeaways: What is the Hi-Lo Count in blackjack?

  • The Hi-Lo Count is a popular card counting strategy used in blackjack.
  • It assigns a value of +1 to low cards (2-6), a value of 0 to neutral cards (7-9), and a value of -1 to high cards (10-Ace).
  • By keeping a running count based on card values, players can determine when the deck is favorable for them or the dealer.
  • A higher positive count indicates a higher chance of getting favorable cards, while a higher negative count indicates a higher chance of getting unfavorable cards.
  • Players can use the Hi-Lo Count to adjust their bets and make more informed decisions during gameplay to increase their chances of winning.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some commonly asked questions about the Hi-Lo Count in blackjack:

1. How does the Hi-Lo Count work in blackjack?

The Hi-Lo Count is a card counting strategy used in blackjack to keep track of the ratio of high cards (10s and Aces) to low cards (2s to 6s) that have been dealt. The idea is that when the remaining cards in the deck are rich in high cards, the player has a higher chance of being dealt a winning hand. The Hi-Lo Count assigns a value of +1 to low cards and -1 to high cards. The player keeps a running count of these values as the cards are dealt, adjusting the count with each card. A positive count indicates that there are more high cards left in the deck, favoring the player, while a negative count indicates the opposite.

By keeping track of the count, players can make more accurate decisions on when to increase their bets and when to deviate from basic strategy. For example, if the count is positive and in the player’s favor, it may be a good time to increase the bet size, as the odds of getting a winning hand are higher. Conversely, if the count is negative, it may be wise to decrease the bet size or even skip a hand to minimize potential losses.

2. Is using the Hi-Lo Count illegal?

No, using the Hi-Lo Count or any card counting strategy is not illegal. However, casinos do frown upon card counting and may take countermeasures to minimize its effectiveness. They may use multiple decks of cards, shuffle more frequently, or employ continuous shuffling machines to make it harder for players to gain an advantage. While card counting itself is not illegal, using external devices or collaborating with other players to count cards is against the law in many jurisdictions.

It’s important to note that even if you employ the Hi-Lo Count or any other card counting strategy, it does not guarantee that you will win. It simply increases your chances of making more informed decisions based on the remaining cards in the deck. Blackjack is still a game of chance, and the outcome of each hand is ultimately determined by luck.

3. Can the Hi-Lo Count be used in online blackjack?

While the Hi-Lo Count can be effective in traditional brick-and-mortar casinos, it is not as useful in online blackjack. This is because online blackjack games typically employ a random number generator (RNG) to shuffle the cards after each hand, making it impossible to track the count. Additionally, online casinos often use multiple decks and reshuffle frequently, further diminishing the effectiveness of card counting strategies.

If you enjoy playing blackjack online, it’s best to focus on using basic strategy to optimize your gameplay. Basic strategy involves making mathematically correct decisions based on your hand and the dealer’s upcard. By following basic strategy, you can minimize the house edge and improve your overall chances of winning.

4. Do I need to memorize every card in the Hi-Lo Count system?

No, you do not need to memorize every card in the Hi-Lo Count system. The Hi-Lo Count assigns a value of +1 to low cards (2 to 6), 0 to medium cards (7 to 9), and -1 to high cards (10s and Aces). As cards are dealt, you keep a running count by adding or subtracting these values. The running count gives you an idea of whether the remaining cards in the deck are high or low. You can start with a count of 0 at the beginning of each deck or shoe.

While some advanced card counting strategies require memorizing specific cards and their values, the Hi-Lo Count is designed to be simpler and more user-friendly. As long as you can perform basic addition and subtraction, you can effectively use the Hi-Lo Count system in blackjack.

5. Can the Hi-Lo Count guarantee consistent wins in blackjack?

No card counting strategy, including the Hi-Lo Count, can guarantee consistent wins in blackjack. These strategies are designed to shift the odds slightly in the player’s favor by making more informed betting decisions based on the count. However, blackjack is still a game of chance, and the outcome of each hand is influenced by luck.

The Hi-Lo Count can help skilled players increase their chances of winning in the long run, but it is not a foolproof method. Variance plays a significant role in blackjack, and even with a positive count, there will be times when you still lose. It’s important to manage your bankroll effectively, set realistic expectations, and remember that the goal is to have fun while playing blackjack.

Blackjack Hi-Lo Card Counting System Tutorial – How To Win At The Casino


So, here’s what we learned about the Hi-Lo Count in blackjack. It’s a strategy used to keep track of high and low cards. By assigning values to each card and keeping a running count, players can adjust their bets and make better decisions. The higher the count, the more advantageous it is for the player. It’s a bit tricky at first, but with practice, anyone can master it and potentially increase their chances of winning. Just remember, it’s important to keep it low-key and not draw attention to yourself at the casino. So give the Hi-Lo Count a try, and who knows, you might just rake in some big wins!

Leave a Comment