Hi-Lo Count

The Hi-Lo system was invented by Edward O. Thorp and promoted in his book, 1962 book, Beat the Dealer which was a major breakthrough reaching the New York Best Sellers. There were of course other card counting methods before Mr.Thorp's time but they were not as elaborate and advertised as the Hi-Lo system.

Edward Thorp made use of computers to analyze the way cards are played in casinos and was able to deduce how many were played or left on the deck. This of course gave players the advantage of adjusting their bets based on these computations while in play thereby greatly reducing the odds of the casino managers.

Mechanism of Operation

The Hi-Lo systems just like other card-counting methods thrive on the allocation of values on cards. It consists of assigning different point type values like +1, 0, or -1 to each card that a player has. Each and every card has a specific valued that is been assigned to that card only. Usually -1 value is assigned to Aces and 10-point cards. Below table shows a comparison.

This is known as a balanced system since the numbers (values) add up to zero. The "+1" (also known as low cards for 2,3,4,5 and 6) values are allocated to the dealers while the "-1" (known as high cards for 10, J, Q, K, A) values are for the player. Cards 7, 8 and 9 are allocated a value of 0 and are known as neutral cards.

Familiarizing Oneself with the Cards

This is a most important step in learning how to use cards. One can quickly start off by flipping through and picking the cards at random. If for example, a 2 is picked, one can say "one", if however a J is selected, one can say "Minus One" and if 8 or 9 is picked, one can just say nothing.

Strategies Employed in the Hi-Lo System

  • • Running Cost - This is the total count of all cards that are played while play is on. For example;
    • 1. J is played, count -1
    • 2. Q is played, count -2
    • 3. 8 is played, count remains -2
    • 4. 4 is played, count -1
    • 5. 2 are played, count 0 and so on…
  • • True Count - This is used in calculating the advantage of the player and assesses his edge at any given time. It is got by dividing the running count by the number of the cards on the deck.