# Winning at Blackjack

Card counting is the most common method to gain a mathematical edge over the casino. While card counting seems easy it takes much skill to execute. Contrary to popular belief counting cards does not involve memorizing the dealt cards. A card counter assigns a card a numerical value such as a positive or negative one. These positive or negative numerical values determine whether the odds are in favor of the player or the casino.

Counting cards requires skill and discipline in order to be used effectively. It is important to realize that an accurate card counter will only have a slight edge (about 1-2 percent) over the casino.

#1 Hi-Lo

The hi-lo system is the most widely used card counting system. Each card is assigned a value of positive one, negative one or zero. The player keeps a running count of each card dealt. When the count is positive in value the odds favor the player while a negative value favors the casino. The cards numbered two through six have a positive one value, seven, eight and nine have a zero value, and ten, jack, queen, king and ace have a negative one value. The hi-lo method is a balanced method which means the count will always equal zero after a complete deck has been dealt.

#2 Hi-Opt I

Hi-opt I (short for highly optimized) is similar to the hi-lo system with some slight differences. The hi-opt I system works the same way as the hi-lo system except twos and aces have a value of zero. Another significance is the player must keep separate track of all the aces. Mathematically the hi-opt I is a slightly more accurate system than the hi-lo but requires more skill to execute.

#3 Hi -Opt 2

The hi-opt II is the a more advanced counting system than either the hi-lo or the hi-opt I system and should only be used by professionals. Learning the hi-opt II system will give the player a slightly higher edge then learning the hi-opt one. Instead of assigning card values of positive or negative one, as in the hi-opt one, the player either assigns the cards a value of negative two through positive two.

Card counting methods vary on accuracy and ease of use. Those new to card counting should start with the hi-lo method before tackling either of the hi-opt ones. It is important to realize that the hi-opt methods only yield slightly higher results than the hi-lo method. More information on card counting can be found at the wizard of odds and blackjack tactics websites. These websites are not online gambling sites, rather they provide information on gaming strategies.