Hi-Lo: Quick Count Strategy...
  • Hey everyone,

    I'm new here, but I've been reading through these posts for quite a number of days now, and I just have to say... you guys know your stuff! :D I've mastered basic strategy blackjack, but I wanted to learn some advanced progression/counting techniques, so I ordered Thomason and Renzey's books (I should be expecting them soon). While I've been waiting however, I stumbled across one of the easier counting systems called Hi-Lo, and figured that it would be a good place to start before diving into the KISS I-III system. I quickly read up on it, and began drilling myself on rob's site.

    At first, I found it hard to recognize which cards I needed to count (let alone trying to play my own hand)... but eventually, I started doing the following: basically when the cards are dealt, I immediately count all of the positives (2-6), ignore the neutrals (7-9), then subtract the negatives (10,A) from the count to come up with a figure. I've found that this seems to go fairly quickly, and I can concentrate a little better.

    My question is... for those of you who have used the Hi-Lo counting system, what was your quickest count strategy for any one round?

  • I like to sit at 1st base, so I can figure my play first. I don't look as the cards are dealt, then I look at each set of cards as the person's turn arrives. Even though I lose the slight advantage of the other's cards before I make my play, I get a little break in between hands and I don't have to look at each players hands twice and double count them accidentally. I think I got this method from Grifter when I first started.
  • Vile, I suggest the following for practicing the Hi/Lo... wait until the 2nd card is dealt to the players, and count the pair of cards for each player in turn as this 2nd card is dealt to each player. You look only once rather than twice, and it will go much faster. Your ready to make your play in turn without too much hesitstion.

    29 3X X8 46 XX A7 Dealer 5?
    +1 +1 00+2 00 -1 00

    notice how the score progresses by adding each hand in you head, and the result (printed beneath each pair) is updated. The result is the score that "counts".

  • I also recommend counting in pairs as the second card is being dealt (shoe game); after a little practice you'll immediately notice many high/low combinations that cancel each other out (e.g. King/4) and so there's basically no counting involved with those hands. You then have a count of the entire board and then continue with the count as each player takes a hit. If you count the dealer's upcard just remember not to count it again when he flips his hole card over... it may just be easier to not count any dealer cards until he flips the hole card.

    Or if thats a little too much to handle at first then just do a count (in pairs after two cards dealt) of your hand and anyone sitting to your right. You can count cards of people to your left later as they play their hands. Or do like D and just count as each player plays his hand. Its true that you'll lose a little playing accuracy this way. Just count your own cards first so not trying to do that as you play your hand. Another thing you can do is chew gum at the table - this gives you a reason to be moving your mouth as you hum the count to yourself under your breath.

    When you're starting out just find what your comfort level is and be consistent with your approach. Either always count your own cards first or never count them first. Always count the dealer upcard or never count it. Don't mix it up during live play.

    Probably the single best thing you can do for yourself is get some software and practice at home. I recommend Casino Verite BlackJack (CVBJ). Its a little expensive, but when you consider the amount of money you're wagering in the casino its well worth it to spend a little and get the best practice tool there probably is. It will keep the count as you play so you can verify your own count at any time. When you start counting you'll think you're doing it perfectly and never making a mistake - but in reality you may be making lots of them but without the software you'll never know it.
  • If you master High/Low, don't bother with KISS. When you have learned
    the count by two cancel method, you can advance to count by 3 or 4 and
    do everything in one pass. I recommend playing 3rd or close to it for this
    method. One view,no head movement,no eye contact, quick and done.
  • i play sd/dd (where cards are dealt pitch) so i dunno bout shoe
    so each playa has 2 cards hidden and hit cards face up
    i basically count cards as they are seen
    so its mine 2 and the dealer's face up, followed by the hit cards and bust cards, then the dealer's hole card and hit cards. lastly are the players' hand cards. For this part of play, the dealer will flip it over the hit cards, so its impt. not to be confused about which cards u have already counted. Typically the hand cards would be the 2 closest to the dealer.
  • Thanks everyone for your replies!

    I think I'm starting to get the hang of this now. I've been drilling myself over and over, and it often helps when I can get someone else to be the dealer for me.

    Practice makes perfect, I just have to keep at it. :D

    PS. -> Ray, I heard that the KISS system gives the player a much better advantage than Hi-Lo in the long run... is this true?

  • - Casino Verite: V., I strongly second GH21's suggestion to purchase CVBJ. The counting drills are excellent, and just what you need right now; and in addition you are getting what I consider the best overall BJ program on the market. The cost of $90-$100 may seem high, but this is only 2-3 minumum bets for the average serious player.....pretty cheap when you look at it that way.

    - Your Question: I'm not Ray, but I can answer you. The Kiss system will not give you a "better advantage". The performance ratings of Kiss III and Hi-Lo are virtually equal, with Hi-Lo having a slight edge. If you learn Hi-Lo and its indices you will never have to learn another method.

  • You can order CVBJ at qfit.com
    I use the v3.0 (at Grifters referral) and the transition to real casino play was smooth. If you use KISS III you will have to make some modifications, but most other systems come pre-loaded. (A word to the wise, if you program in the KISS information, find a way to save it, my computer crashed and I am in the process of re-doing it ALL.)
  • Or you can use WT's progression to the fullest.
  • Grif & D: I actually downloaded a trial version from PCworld.com. I don't know if it has a 30-day limit, but I do know that it's running smoothly with all of it's features intact.

    I have another question... what counting system would you guys recommend as being both the easiest and at the same time, having a good 'edge.' (i'm assuming it would be Hi-Lo, but I figured I might as well ask...)

    Bug: I'm planning on utilizing WT's progression as soon as my book (21st Century Blackjack) arrives. :D

  • If you're playing a shoe game and want easy yet with a good edge, then consider an unbalanced count system. At their simplest levels, an unbalanced count will allow you to play off the running count alone without having to make separate calculations to convert the running count to a true count. As you gain expertise, you can then add in "trueing" elements to your game, while still using the unbalanced count or can switch over to a balanced count like hi-lo if you prefer. But the bottom line is that the unbalanced count systems will perform virtually as well as hi-lo (you'll never know the difference).

    Some proven level-1 unbalanced count systems are KO, Renzey KISS-3, and Red-7.
  • Vile: There are other options that you can look at and it comes down to
    how much effort you are willing to expend. Here are some and a reference
    or two:

    A/5.........N & B (also see his site)
    A,10/5,6..Like A/5 only better(use it like A/5)
    A/10 Front count....Renzey BlueBook II..you need this book
    A/9....Like A/10 only better and can be expanded

    All of these will eliminate the HA. Some will give you a slight edge.

    My preference is H/L and I don't like any of the unbalanced systems,
    but that's just me. You may think dif.

    Otherwise you may find "Walters" progression system more to your liking.
    "21st Century Blackjack" I think that is the name of his book.

  • GH & Ray: Thanks for your input...

    I'll be reading Renzey's and Walter's books soon, so i should have a good idea of which counting/progression system I'd like to use by then.

  • I like Renzey's system because it "progresses" a player through several steps. You learn a simple A/10 front count and can use that immediately to increase your advantage. Then, if you decide it's not for you, you haven't wasted a lot of time. But, if you like the advantage you see, you can move on the the next step by adding some new skills.

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