Highly Optimum Blackjack with Humble and Cooper’s Original System

The Hi-Opt 1 card counting system is so named as it is deemed to be ‘highly optimum’. This system evolved, as Charles Einstein first developed the system in the 1960’s but it was improved upon Lance Humble and Carl Cooper’s “The World’s Greatest Blackjack Book”. The system is straightforward, with only the numbers +1 and -1 to add or subtract from the count – the count has many similarities to the very popular Hi/Lo count, with just the values of the twos and the Aces being different.

This system is balanced meaning that by the time all the cards have been dealt, the running count will end at zero. It is considered to be one of the less difficult card counting systems out there, but the addition of the true count does add an extra layer of complexity.

The Hi-Opt 1 Count System in Action

You start the running count at zero when a new deck (or set of decks) is placed in the shoe. You’ll now add or subtract the following values to the count according to the following table:

Any three, four, five or six sees 1 added to the count

Any ten (including Jack, Queen and King) sees 1 subtracted from the count

If a two, seven, eight, nine or an ace appear, these are neutral with a value of 0

The running count will update after each hand, so for example if the running count was +1 and the current hand sees a total of 2 added to the count, the new running count will be +3.

Now you have the running count, you can now evaluate the ‘true count’. This ‘true count’ is worked out by dividing the running count by the number of decks remaining. If you had a ‘running count’ of -6 for example and there were three decks left in the shoe (this won’t always be an exact number, so an approximation works just fine), you’ll have a true count of -2.

You’ll now use the true count to evaluate the bet sizing. If the number is positive, you should be increasing your bet size – in fact the higher the count is, the more you should be betting. Obviously the reverse applies too. If the count is a negative one, your bet sizing should be comparatively lower. While a really low ‘true count’ such as -7 might mean the best move might be simply to stand up and leave. You’ll have to be aware of your play looking too systematic too, as you don’t want to arouse the suspicion of the house.

How the Hi-Opt 1 System Works

When playing blackjack, the dealer is at a disadvantage if there are too many (proportionally) high cards left in the pack, as a host of high cards mean that the dealer is more likely to bust. A positive count tells you that this is the situation. This situation will actually remove the built-in house at blackjack and give the player that edge instead – the higher the count, the more of an edge the player has.

Example of the Hi-Opt 1 System

You are playing at a 6-deck game of blackjack in the casino and there are roughly two decks left in the shoe. The running count is +6 and in the next hand you see two three’s, a six, a jack and two nines. The two three’s and the six will add 3 to the count, while the Jack will subtract 1, to make the new running count +8 (the two nines can be ignored as they have a value of 0). You’ll now divide the running count of +8 by two (the number of decks left) to find the ‘true count’ of +4. The true count was a positive one the hand before, so you should have already increased the bet size, but this further increase should see you increase the stake once more.

It can be a good idea to keep an eye on the number of Aces left in the shoe too. If there are a higher proportion of aces than normal, it can also be a good idea to increase the stake. For example, if there are two decks remaining in the shoe and you figure there are eleven aces in there (when there should only be eight), the chances of you hitting blackjack increase.

The Hi-Opt 1 System – Overview

Many people start card counting by using the Hi/Lo system and with this system being so similar, it’s an easy jump from one to the other. The Hi-Opt 1 system is a solid one and it certainly isn’t too complicated either, especially when you get to grip with the ‘true count’, so it’s one that many recommend. The fact that it is a balanced system only adds to the benefits, as this leads to greater accuracy.