Of all of the table games available at a typical casino, blackjack seems to be the one that the most people believe they can beat with skill and strategy. While most people will never get to the point where they have an advantage against the casino in this game, they are correct that blackjack offers the best players an edge against the house.
The reason that so few people reach a profitable level in blackjack is that the counting systems that players are required to learn are complicated and difficult. However, the Hi-Lo counting system is fairly easy to learn, and it is extremely effective when playing in real games. Here we're going to show you how the Hi-Lo card counting system works and how to use it to win at blackjack.
When blackjack play begins with a full deck or shoe, the player is at a disadvantage. However, the house edge changes as cards are dealt and removed from the deck. As a result, it's possible to have an advantage against the house based purely on which cards are left in the deck or shoe. If you are skilled at a card counting system, then you can use the cards that have been removed from the deck to decide when you have the advantage and when you do not. Your edge against the house will come from making larger bets when you have an advantage to compensate for making smaller bets when the house is the favorite.
The Hi-Lo system for counting cards in blackjack is based off of two simple facts. The first fact is that the player benefits whenever a Two, Three, Four, Five or Six is removed from the deck. The second fact is that the house benefits whenever a Ten, Jack, Queen, King or Ace is pulled from the deck. When low cards are taken out of the deck, the chance of a player making a blackjack and receiving a favorable 2:1 payout is increased. However, when cards with a value of ten and Aces are removed from the deck, the odds of making a blackjack are decreased. The chance of a player making a blackjack is one of the main characteristics of a deck that help to determine who has the advantage.
To use the Hi-Lo system in your games, follow a simple process. With a new deck or shoe, start with a count of zero. Each time a Two, Three, Four, Five or Six is removed from the deck, add one to your count. Along similar lines, every time that a Ten, Jack, Queen, King or Ace is dealt, subtract one from the count. When it's time to make a bet at the beginning of a hand, divide the count by how many decks seem to be left in the shoe to get the true count. If the true count is two or greater, then you have the advantage and should bet larger than normal. While this process is simple compared to some other card counting systems, it takes a bit of work to be able to put it into practice at the tables.