The popularity of blackjack has ensured that a multitude of different strategies have been employed over the years to try and swing the game in the favour of the player. The random nature of the cards makes it the one game where the house has no real edge, so that means that a player with a bit of smarts can really gain the upper hand over the dealer.
One way to do so is by keeping track of cards using the Hi-lo system, which is a basic formula that can help players get that much-needed edge. It’s a fairly basic system that requires you to keep a running count in your head, with the whole purpose of doing so being to figure out how many high or low cards are left. High cards work in the favour of the player, so it’s clear to see how keeping a running count can really help.
Any cards numbered 2 to 6 are assigned a value of +1. The cards numbered 7 to 9 get a zero and the 10s and face cards are given -1. You then use the plus and minus system to keep that running count, but to find out if that number is in your favour, then you also have to establish a true count.
To do this you will have to know how many decks of cards are in the shoe, and once you know that, you divide your running count by the number of decks remaining to be played. For example, let’s say that your running count is at +12, and there are 3 decks left in the shoe, then that makes the true count +4. Whenever the true count is in the positive that means that the odds are more in your favour, whereas a negative will favour the dealer.
While there is no real way of knowing what card will come next, this method will give you an idea of when to raise your bets a little, and when to stand. It takes a fair bit of practice to get the knack, and it should be remembered that it isn’t an exact science. That means that, as always, you should never bet any more than you can reasonably afford to lose. The next time you play online blackjack, give this system a try!