The Highly Optimum Count Strategies
The Hi Opt card counting system was created by Charles Einstein in 1968. The system was based on Edward Thorp’s Hi-Lo Count, one of the most popular counting systems in use, which was featured in the 1966 reprint of his famous book “Beat the Dealer”. Einstein aimed to improve on Thorps system and developed what became known as the Einstein Count.
In the 1980 publication “The World’s Greatest Blackjack Book” Lance Humble and Carl Cooper tweaked the Einstein Count and came up with the Hi Opt 1 count used today. Humble later adjusted this count further, this time with the help of Julian Braun. The result was a more complex yet very effective Level 2 balanced counting strategy which became known as Hi Opt 2. Here you can discover how use these two systems, why they work and what their limitations are
Hi Opt System (1 and 2) – How to Use the Hi Opt counts
Hi Opt 1 works in a similar way to the Hi-Lo Count it was based on. Your mental running count should begin at 0 when you arrive at the table or the show is shuffled. Then you add and subtract from this count based on what cards you see dealt out around the table. Playing decisions should follow basic strategy.
Card values for Hi Opt 1 are:
- Ace, 2, 7, 8, 9 = 0
- 3, 4, 5, 6 = +1
- 10, Jack, Queen, King = -1
You will start betting your minimum bet then as the running count goes up you will need to calculate your true count. This is done by dividing the number of cards remaining in the deck, as Hi Opt 1 is only recommended for single deck play. While this sounds tough a rough estimate of the percentage of the remaining deck will do, so if you think half the deck has been dealt out divide your running count by 2 in order to get your true count.
Once your true count exceeds 1 then you can start increasing your bets steadily, so you can take advantage of a favorable deck while not appearing obvious.
Hi Opt 2 adds another layer of complexity to the count by introducing two values for cards. In Hi Opt 1 or the Hi-Lo Count you will often find cards cancel each other out with +1 and -1 values, making it easier to keep track of the running count. Dealing with different numbers in Hi Opt 2 therefore makes the count harder to remember.
Using the Hi Opt count the card values will look like this:
- Ace, 8, 9 = 0
- 2, 3, 6, 7 = +1
- 10, Jack, Queen, King = -2
Once you have your running count again you will need to convert it into a true count. As Hi Opt 2 can be used in multi-deck games this can be done by dividing your running count with the number of decks remaining. Again a rough estimate will suffice.
Again as your true count goes up so should your wagers.
Hi Opt 2 also includes a separate count for aces remaining, which can also be incorporated into Hi Opt 1 if you wish. While this will add another layer of difficulty with yet another number to remember it will make this count far more powerful. What you are looking for are spots where the shoe is rich in aces and the count is high, so you can really push up your bets.
Hi Opt System (1 and 2) – How the Hi Opt Systems Work
Like the Hi-Lo count the Hi Opt systems allow you to bet more when the deck is more favorable to the player or in other words when there are more 10s ready to be dealt out, making basic strategy more correct.
Keeping track of the aces help strengthen your advantage as you will know when there are a high mix of aces and 10s remaining, meaning that blackjacks are more likely with their 3/2 payout.
Using Hi Opt 2 will give you a more precise count as the cards are valued on a scale, giving a high value to cards which are statistically the worst for the player, a medium vale for those which are poor, a non-value for cards which make little difference and low values for cards which are favorable, i.e. 10s. Aces are removed from the count or given a 0 value as you should be operating a separate count for them.
Hi Opt System (1 and 2) – The Drawbacks of the Hi Opt Systems
As noted earlier the Hi Opt 1 system works best on single deck games. These are hard to find in modern casinos, making the system somewhat redundant. You can try to use it on multi-deck games although due to the inaccuracies which will affect the outcome you will be much better off trying either Hi Opt 2 or the Hi-Lo Count.
The main problem with Hi Opt 2 is how complicated it can be to use when you are at the table. This is not a count system for new card counters, although if you do practice with it away from the casinos it can prove to be a very powerful count.