Blackjack Counting Card

This is part 7 of our seven part series on blackjack counting card, where we discuss the more advanced Hi-Opt I system for counting cards. For the list of all articles please click here.


We detail here one of the more advanced blackjack counting strategies, namely the Hi Opt 1 method of card counting. What factors make this more advanced? In actuality all card-counting techniques use at their basis a very simple form of mathematics, which even a 1st grader would not struggle with. The issue with all counting systems is the fact that calculations need to be made mentally and the running count/s remembered; all this while maintaining concentration on the game, using the correct form of the basic strategy and playing naturally in a way that you do not make it obvious that you are card counting. This can require an amazing feat of concentration, composure and skill. Thus we recommend that you first become proficient at using techniques such as the KO counting system or Hi Lo count, before moving to these more difficult systems.

Should I use this method

As already emphasized, we do not recommend advanced techniques unless you have first mastered the basic systems. It is recognized that more advanced techniques do give greater accuracy and edge the advantage further towards the player, but the additional advantage is miniscule. Take into account that more advanced systems are capable of producing more player errors in their mental arithmetic and errors diminish the effectiveness of the system. This being said, for all but the most skilled of card counters, we still suggest sticking to the easier and proven strategies.

The Hi Opt 1 Card Counting Method

Also known as the Einstein count, taken from its founder Charles Einstein, the Hi Opt I count is one of the more advanced types of card counting due to the level of concentration required to master it. The name is an acronym for “Highly Optimum” due to the increased accuracy it provides.

As you may notice, the system appears similar to the Hi Lo count, with the exception of the ace & two (2) are here valued at zero. Aces are actually one of the more valuable cards for the player due to their use as either 1 or 11. Although these are not factored into the main running count, they require a separate side count, which is why this can be a difficult system to learn.

Hi Opt Counting Values

Again, with all the previous systems, the Hi-Opt Count uses a simple addition or deduction of one point according to each card dealt from the croupier. Please observe out table below for the respective card values:

2        3        4        5       6       7       8      9        10        J        Q       K       A
0       +1      +1      +1     +1       0       0      0       -1        -1      -1      -1       0

Notice the three sections of number, either valued 0, +1 or –1. The running count starts at zero (0) value and you need to add or subtract one point for each of the cards that appear; the 2, 7, 8, 9 & Ace can be ignored in the main count as they have a neutral value. This is also a balanced count as after counting off one deck of cards the value should revert but to zero if the count was done correctly.
This strategy also requires a true count, same as with the Hi-Lo strategy. Practice estimating the amount of cards inside the shoe according to normal deck size; additionally monitor the discard pile of cards to see what has already been used. After some time you should be able to make a good enough estimation. Simply divide the running count by the number of remaining decks to give you the true count.

Hi Opt I Betting Values

Once you have calculated the true count you can use the betting table below to decide how much you should wager on each subsequent hand. Then dependent on the casino using a two-deck or 6-8 deck shoe, calculate the bet according to a standard bet size. The bet size may be the table minimum or above if you have a sufficient bankroll.

True Count                                          Two Decks                                    6-8 Decks
0 or under                                           1x                                      1x
+1                                                     2x                                      2x
+2                                                     3x                                      4x
+3                                                     4x                                      8x
+4                                                     5x                                     10x
+5 or over                                           6x                                    12x

Use our FREE BLACKJACK DOWNLOAD to practice blackjack card counting online for free.


To view our complete series on counting cards, use the links below:

Part 1- How to Count Blackjack Cards- An Introduction on the subject of card counting.
Part 2- Blackjack Counters- The history of card counting & its main founder, Ed Thorp.
Part 3- Counting blackjack cards- Other famous professionals who followed after Thorp.
Part 4- How to count in blackjack- Explanation of Thorp’s 10-count blackjack system.
Part 5- Hi Lo Blackjack- The Hi-Lo system of counting explained in detail.
Part 6- How to count cards in blackjack- The easiest complete system for card counting called the KO strategy.
Part 7- Blackjack counting card- The Hi-Opt I system for blackjack card counting.


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