Hi-Lo card counting Strategy

The Hi-Lo Lite (Or, Why All Those Index Numbers You Learned Never Really Mattered) By Arnold Snyder

The Hi-Lo Lite (Or, Why All Those Index Numbers You Learned Never Really Mattered)
By Arnold Snyder

(From Blackjack Forum Vol. XI #3, September 1991)
© 1991, 2005 Arnold Snyder

Last June, I started writing a monthly blackjack card counting column for Casino Player magazine, which comes out of Atlantic City. Its a Q/A column.

One of the recent questions that Casino Player’s editors forwarded to me, which took me three issues to answer, has resulted in my development of a new approach to card countinga system I call the Hi-Lo Lite. This system would be ideal for any player who feels the Red Seven Count is too simplified, with too much of a power loss in single and double-deck games.

In my Casino Player articles, I described my method of developing the Hi-Lo Lite system, so that a knowledgeable card counter could easily convert the Hi-Lo (or any balanced count) to a powerful "lite" version. And I compared the power of my multiple-deck lite indices with the power of Stanford Wongs full set of indices (from Professional Blackjack).

But I didnt publish the one-deck system, since Casino Player is aimed at more casual players, many of whom would require lengthy descriptions of the meaning of "strategy index numbers, " "true count, " etc.

Here in Blackjack Forum, for the first time ever, is my complete Hi-Lo Lite system. For those new to counting, the Hi-Lo Count card values are 2 to 6 = +1; 10, A = -1; and 7, 8, 9 = 0. In this article, I assume that you understand how to use strategy indices, convert running count to true count (per deck), etc.

How Much Power Do You Lose With Simplified Indices? The Sims Say None.

First, some background information

The initial question from the Casino Player reader that sparked the development of this new approach to card counting was: "Which Hi-Lo strategy indice tables are more accurateStanford Wongs or Julian Brauns?"

This was a question that I didnt know the answer to, but which I felt would be fairly simple to answer. Using John Immings Universal Blackjack Engine software, I could simulate more than 100 million hands of blackjack per day in my basement.

So, I set up a test of three Hi-Lo variationsWongs, Brauns, and my own (developed via the "Algebraic Approximation" method). I ran off 500 million hands of each strategy with a flat bet in single-deck games with Vegas Strip rules, using all indices between 15 and +15. This simulation comparison, which totaled 1.5 billion hands, may have been the lengthiest computer simulation of casino blackjack ever attempted for the purpose of answering a single question.

At the end of the test, to my surprise, there was no mathematically significant difference between any of the results.

These were the results:

Wong Hi-Lo: +0.477%
Snyder Hi-Lo: +0.462%
Braun Hi-Lo: +0.461%

The difference between the best win rate (Wongs) and the worst (Brauns) is about one sixtieth of one percent, which is not mathematically significant with only 500 million hands. It took my computer two weeks, running 24 hours per day, to run these 1.5 billion hands, and Ill be damned if Im going to waste any more computer time attempting to answer this question. There is virtually no dollar and cents difference to the player.

Because there are many differences among the recommended indices for these three systems, however, my simulation results led me to hypothesize that strategy index numbers may not be such precise indicators of when to alter basic strategy, or, at least, that the "borderline" for the coin-toss decisions may be a fairly wide line.

So I followed up that column, and this initial set of simulations, with another test to see just how wide that borderline might be.

I set up a 6-deck Atlantic City game and ran off 200-million hands using Wongs Professional Blackjack indices for this game. I used the top 18 indices.

For the second simulation, I converted each of Wongs indices to 1, +1, or +4. I did this systematically. If Wongs index was 1 or 2, I made it 1. I his index was 0, +1, or +2, I made it +1. His +3, +4, and +5 indices all became +4. I then ran off another 200-million hands testing this simplified version of Wongs strategy. In both simulations, I used a 1-to-8 spread, and I also tested the effect of not betting on negative counts.

You might also like
Blackjack Hi Lo Card Counting
Blackjack Hi Lo Card Counting
ASMR At the Board #2 Blackjack Card Counting
ASMR At the Board #2 Blackjack Card Counting
Blackjack Card Counting Practice #8
Blackjack Card Counting Practice #8
How to Count Cards in Blackjack with Hi-Lo System
How to Count Cards in Blackjack with Hi-Lo System
Related Posts