Hi-Opt I and Hi-Opt II Card Counting Systems

For those of you looking for information on the Hi-Opt Systems for counting cards, look no further. We've built this page focused solely on these systems so that you can learn them quickly and begin to put them into practice while playing blackjack. If these card counting systems are correctly implemented, you'll be able to gain a small advantage over the casino!

With the Hi-Opt Systems, you'll have the choice between two different systems. As you'll see below, you can choose from the Hi-Opt I System or the Hi-Opt II System. Both of these systems are relatively similar with a few small differences that we'll clue you in on. The great thing about both of these systems is that they're pretty easy to pick up and begin using.

On this page, we're going to kick things off with a high-level overview of the two Hi-Opt Systems. After that, we'll move into details on how you can begin to practice them, and we've also got tips on how you can avoid detection as a card counter. To close things out, you'll find a collection of frequently asked questions and some additional blackjack resources that you can use to expand your knowledge of the game.

If you're in a rush, be sure to take advantage of the jump links below. We've built these in so that you can hop to the sections that matter most to you. Just click on the ones you want to visit. For those of you looking to learn everything about the Hi-Opt Systems, we urge you to check out everything this page has to offer so that you don't miss a thing.

Is Counting Cards Legal?

Since we get this question quite often, we wanted to lead off with it to help calm any nerves you might have about counting cards with the Hi-Opt System or any other method. The good news is that it's not illegal to count cards. As long as you only do it with your brainpower, you can't face any form of legal issues.

Jack and Ace of Spades Flying out of a Mans Hand

However, if you decide to use some device like a small computer or calculator to count cards, you might end up in some legal trouble based on your local gambling laws. On top of that, using a device is also cheating. To make sure you don't end up with legal problems, only ever count cards with your mind and skip out on using tools.

Now, just because counting cards is legal, it doesn't mean that you can openly practice it in a casino. In fact, casinos hate it when players count cards, as it causes the casino to lose its edge when done correctly. Since that increases the likelihood the casino will lose money, casinos can ask you to leave if they suspect you of counting cards. To help you avoid this situation, be sure to check out the section below about how not to get caught.

Understanding the Basics of the Hi-Opt I System

Up first, we're going to walk you through the basics of the Hi-Opt I System. If you're looking for details on the Hi-Opt II, skip to the next section below.

Using this section, you'll be able to gain a firm understanding of the fundamental things you need to know about Hi-Opt I. This particular Hi-Opt System is the easier of the two to learn since you have to keep up with fewer cards. However, it's also the less accurate of the two options.

Running Count

The first concept that you need to know with the Hi-Opt I System is the idea of a running count. With a running count, your goal is to keep a running tally of the values of the cards you've seen. Based on this running count, you'll know how you should bet your following hands. Below, you'll find a list of the values you need to be aware of. Whenever you see one of these cards, just add the value for that card to your current total.

  • Start with a count of 0
  • When you see a 3, 4, 5, or 6: Add 1 to your running count
  • When you see a 10, J, Q, or K: Subtract 1 from your running count
  • When you see an A, 2, 7, 8, or 9: Do nothing (worth 0)

One thing to note is that the Hi-Opt I System is a balanced card counting system. That means if you were to count every card in the deck, your ending total would be zero. That's because all of the cards in the deck cancel each other out. If you ever practice counting a deck and come up with anything other than a zero, try again, as you've made a mistake somewhere along the way.

True Count

Once you're comfortable with the idea of a running count and how to do it, the next thing you need to wrap your head around is a true count. A true count is important because it allows you to take into account the number of decks in play. Since most casino blackjack games use more than one deck, the true count helps adjust your running count to factor in those extra decks and allow you to change your moves accordingly.

Luckily, it's simple to calculate a true count. All you need to do is divide your current running count by the total number of decks of cards you think are left in the shoe. Once that calculation is done, you'll have your true count that you can use to help determine your next moves.


The point of the Hi-Opt I System is to help you distinguish when you have the highest chance of scoring a blackjack. When your chances of getting blackjack are higher, you'll want to wager more due to the larger 3:2 payout associated with it compared to the standard 1:1.

When your true count is positive, that means you have a good chance of scoring blackjack. In fact, the higher your true count is, the more likely blackjack is statistically. These are the times that you'll want to wager more money on your hands.

Conversely, a negative true count means that you're not likely to score blackjack. In these scenarios, you'll want to bet the lowest amount possible to save your bankroll for when you have a higher chance of hitting it big with blackjack.

Betting Size

When your true count is negative, the betting size rule is super simple. In this case, you'll always bet the table minimum. No matter if you're at a $5 minimum table or a $500 minimum table, if the count is negative, you should bet the absolute lowest amount possible since your chances of blackjack are low.

However, if your count is positive, you'll want to wager more than the minimum. One way to quickly size your bets is to multiply your true count by the minimum table wager.


If your true count is 4, and you're playing at a $20 minimum table, your next wager should be $80 ($20 x 4). Alternatively, you could develop another system to increase your bets as you see fit based on your count. Ultimately, you should always bet more when your true counts are high.

Understanding the Basics of the Hi-Opt II System

If you're looking for a more accurate option than the Hi-Opt I System, be sure to check out this section on the High-Opt II. While this system is more accurate, it's also significantly harder to learn and implement than the High-Opt I System. The reason that it's harder to use is that the user has to track more cards and assign multiple values. However, if you can learn the information listed below, you'll be able to use a more accurate card counting system.

Running Count

Similar to the Hi-Opt I System, the Hi-Opt II also uses a running count as the basis for how it functions. Below, we've included the cards you need to track and their associated values. As you'll see from a quick glance, it's much more difficult to keep track of than the Hi-Opt I System.

  • Start with a count of 0
  • When you see a 2, 3, 6, or 7: Add 1 to your running count
  • When you see a 4 or 5: Add 2 to your running count
  • When you see a 10, J, Q, or K: Subtract 2 from your running count
  • When you see an A, 8, or 9: Do nothing (worth 0)

Just like the Hi-Opt I System, Hi-Opt II is also a balanced system. Therefore, if you count the whole deck using either of these systems, your ending value should be zero. Anything else, and there's been an error with your running count.

True Count

The true count for the Hi-Opt II System functions just like it does for the Hi-Opt I. To calculate your true count, just divide your current running count by the number of decks you think are still left in the shoe. Once you have this figure, you can decide on your next moves.


The implications of this system are the same as the Hi-Opt I. In short, the higher your true count is, the better the chances are that you'll score blackjack. Due to this, the higher the likelihood of blackjack is, the more you'll want to wager when the timing is right.

When your true count is negative, that implies you have a low likelihood of getting blackjack. Because of this, you'll want to wager less. Alternatively, when your true count is positive, you'll want to wager more.

Betting Size

With the Hi-Opt II System, the betting size rules are the same as the Hi-Opt I System. In short, you should always wager the absolute lowest amount possible when you have a negative count. However, if your count is positive, you'll want to bet higher amounts since your chances of blackjack have increased.

How to Practice Counting Cards Using the Hi-Opt Systems

Now that you've got a good basic understanding of the two Hi-Opt Systems, we wanted to provide you with a list of steps you can follow to begin practicing them. If you're new to using these systems, follow the steps below to start getting yourself familiar with how they work. Before you know it, you'll be ready to begin using these card counting systems at a real casino blackjack table.

Blackjack Table Set for a Game

Learn to Count a Deck

To kick off your practice of the Hi-Opt Systems, your first step is to learn how to count a deck. For this step, you'll count through the entire deck card by card until you reach the end. For each card, your goal should be to assign the proper value based on the charts above. Then, you'll need to keep the running total in your head to know where the count stands. This is something you'll want to repeat many times so that you get used to doing it.

Time Your Deck Counting

Once you've got a good feel for counting a deck using one of the two Hi-Opt Systems, then it's time to begin timing yourself. To get started, first set a timer and see how long it takes you to count the entire deck one time. Then, record that time, so you have it as a reference point. Then, continue timing yourself with the goal of reducing the time it takes you to count the deck. Ideally, see if you can get your future time down to less than half of your initial time.

Advance to Counting Pairs

Next up, you should elevate your deck counting to count in pairs. Here, your goal should be to count the cards two at a time as opposed to just singles. By doing this, it will allow you to speed up your running counts at the blackjack table. Just deal out two cards and quickly sum up their impact to your count in your head.


If you're using the Hi-Opt I System, and you deal yourself a 3 and a 6, you should calculate a total of +2. The reason for this is that each of those cards is worth +1 individually.

Include Distractions

To help take your practice to new heights, your next step is to begin including distractions while you practice the Hi-Opt Systems. Up until this point, we're assuming that you've practiced in relatively quiet conditions. But now, your goal should be to try to distract yourself and see how it impacts the timing of your counts.

To begin with distractions, first try turning on the radio or the television. Then, time your counts and continue to work to reduce the time it takes you to complete them. Once you're feeling good with that, then try turning on the television and the radio at the same time and see how you do. Ultimately, you want to add as many potential distractions as possible to begin to prepare yourself for counting in a real-life casino.

Grab a Friend

After you're feeling good about your pair counting time, there's another vital step of practicing the Hi-Opt Systems that should not be skipped. For this step, you'll need to grab a friend. The goal of your friend is to watch you as you count cards to see if you're giving off any body tells that might signal to the casino employees that you're counting cards. Ask your friend to see if you're mouthing words, furrowing your brow, or doing anything else with your body that may catch the dealer's attention. If your friend makes note of anything, work on it, and then have your friend check again to ensure you've stopped giving away any tells.

Count in a Real Casino

Another excellent tip for practicing your Hi-Opt System card counting is to head to a real casino. However, you won't yet be counting cards while you've got real money on the line. Instead, the goal is to observe others playing the game and keep up with the count. Since you'll eventually be doing your count in a real casino with money on the line, it's great to practice doing it in real time with all of the same settings and distractions. Simply stand back from a blackjack game in progress and begin your count as if you were playing. Make sure you can keep up with the speed of the dealer.

Use Low-Stakes Tables

When you're ready and feeling good about your Hi-Opt System counting skills, your final step is to put them all into practice at an actual casino blackjack table. Before you head off to the high-limit tables, it's best to practice things at a low-stakes table first. Try to find a casino offering $5 or $10 minimum wagers, so you don't risk too much too quickly. As you gain a higher level of comfort with counting cards in a casino, you can move to higher-stakes tables as you see fit.

How Not to Get Caught

Up next, we wanted to bring you a lineup of tips to help you avoid detection if you're planning to count cards while playing blackjack. While we can't promise you that our tips below are a foolproof way for you to avoid getting caught, they're great to keep in mind as you play the game. If you can follow these simple guidelines, you should be able to avoid detection.

  • Don't forget to tip.

    One of the biggest tips that we have for you to avoid detection as a card counter is to make sure that you occasionally tip the dealers. Unfortunately, most card counters are notorious for not tipping their dealers. To help slide under the radar, be sure to toss your dealers a tip every once in a while, so you don't get flagged.

  • Don't think too hard.

    As you're counting cards at a real casino blackjack table, make a mental note not to concentrate too hard. Otherwise, you may end up showing on your face that you're thinking hard on something. To help avoid this, be sure to utilize the practice suggestion above that has a friend watch you as you count to see if your face is giving away any obvious clues that you may not be aware of.

  • Don't drink too much.

    Our next tip for you is to be mindful of how much you drink. Don't get us wrong; we love the perk of free drinks you get at casinos when playing cards. However, too much alcohol isn't a good thing when you're gambling. This is especially true if you're counting cards. Because alcohol messes with your decision-making abilities, it's more likely that you'll make mistakes that will flag you as a card counter.

  • Don't bet a large spread.

    If you're counting cards, one thing you should not do is bet a broad range of bets. While your true count might be suggesting an 8x bet, doing that can flag you as a potential card counter. To help keep yourself from being detected, try to keep your bet spread no more than 5x the table minimum at any time.

  • Don't advise other players.

    Another way to get yourself flagged as a potential card counter is to provide other players at your table with advice. No matter if you're counting cards or not, this isn't a good idea, as it can be annoying to the other players and the dealer. Do everyone a favor and keep your tips just for you.

  • Do play at different casinos.

    To help you not get caught, another great idea is to mix things up by playing at various Assuming you have options available, make sure not to always play at the same one. By doing this, you'll diversify yourself so that the casino employees don't come to know you as a familiar face. If you don't have multiple casinos near your home, be sure to practice the next suggestion about mixing up times.

  • Do play at different times.

    Something else you can do to help limit the likelihood of getting caught is to play at different times of the day.


    If you're always playing late afternoon, you'll be seen by the same dealers and pit employees on a regular basis. Instead, try to come at different times of the day to mix things up. This will allow you to limit your exposure to the same set of casino employees.

  • Don't play too long at a single table.

    This one should be rather obvious. When you're counting cards, it's never a good idea to spend too much time at the same blackjack table. Staying at one table too long gives the dealers and pit bosses time to notice the potential patterns that might give you away. We'd suggest you change tables at least once an hour if you're going to play for longer stretches of time.

  • Do play with different dealers.

    Similar to the suggestion above, it's also vital that you play with various There's a good chance that you might have a set of favorite dealers at your local casino. However, if you play too much with the same dealers on a regular basis, that could allow them to catch on to your card counting ways. Instead, be sure to mix things up and play with many different dealers.

  • Do keep an eye on employees.

    When counting cards, pay extra attention to the casino employees. Your goal should be to see if the dealer, pit boss, or anyone else is eying you more than you're used to seeing. If you feel like you're being watched more than you usually would, they may already be on to you or suspecting your card counting. Should you end up in this situation, it's best to move along to another game for a while.

Additional Blackjack Resources

While you're here, we wanted to expose you to some of our other fantastic blackjack-related resources that we can offer you. Below, you'll find some of our most popular ones that our readers find very helpful. To view more than this, check out the main website menu above. What you'll see here is just the tip of the iceberg.

Best Online Casinos for Blackjack

If you're not already playing blackjack online, it may be something worth checking out. Different from traditional brick-and-mortar casinos, online ones offer clients the potential for huge bonuses and the ability to play whenever from wherever. Many of us on staff here love playing online for both of these reasons. If you'd like to see some of the best online casinos for blackjack and other casino games, click on the link below. We've compiled a list of the best of the best online casinos so that you don't have to bother doing all of the research.

Blackjack Strategy for Beginners

Card counting is not something that we'd suggest for blackjack beginners. If you've ended up on this page, and you're new to playing blackjack, you should learn some other basics of the game before beginning to study card counting. For those of you that fit that description, be sure to check out the link below. It will take you to our blackjack beginners guide page where you'll be able to quickly soak up everything you need to know about the game.

Main Blackjack Card Counting Hub

If you're beginning your search for a card counting system to use, you may want to investigate some other options. While the Hi-Opt Systems are great, they are not the only choices that you have to select from. To see information on other card counting systems and learn more about card counting in general, click on the link below. It will take you to our main card counting hub page.

Frequently Asked Questions

Lastly, we wanted to bring you a small collection of FAQs that we hear about card counting. Below, you can click on any one of these questions if you'd like to see the answer to it. If you still don't have all of the answers that you need, we hope these will help.

Do the Hi-Opt Systems work with online blackjack?

If you're looking to use the Hi-Opt Systems when playing online, you'll need to do it with a live dealer format of the game. The reason for this is that traditional online blackjack is all computerized, and the computer reshuffles the deck after each hand automatically. Due to this, a count can't be established. However, with live dealer blackjack, you'll be able to see when the dealer shuffles in a new deck. Just make sure that the table isn't using a continuous shuffling machine, as that also cancels out your ability to count cards.

Will these systems make me a sure winner at blackjack?

Unfortunately, the Hi-Opt Systems don't guarantee that you'll be a winner when playing blackjack. However, if used correctly, these card counting systems can help you increase your chances of becoming a winner while playing the game. When properly used, you can get a small leg up on the casino compared to playing without counting cards.

Are these systems the best card counting systems?

In our opinion, there's no system out there that's the best one. Some card counting systems are nice in that they are simple to understand and use, like the Hi-Opt Systems. However, other methods are harder to learn but more accurate. Ultimately, you'll want to decide what method you think is best after checking out all of your options.

Is this the right card counting system for me?

With so many different systems out there for counting cards while playing blackjack, it's best if you check out several of them before making a decision on which one is best for you. If the Hi-Opt Systems are the only ones that you've investigated thus far, check out our main card counting hub page in the section above. There, you can learn about other systems and find the one that is best for your needs and strengths.

Can I get in trouble using these systems?

From a legal standpoint, you can't get in trouble for using the Hi-Opt Systems since they are only using your mind to keep track of your chances at scoring blackjack. That said, you could end up in legal trouble if you use a device of some form to help you track your card counting. By doing this, you'll be cheating, and you might be breaking the local law depending on where you're gambling. To avoid legal issues, always be sure to count cards just with your brain and nothing else.

As a reminder, just because counting cards isn't illegal, it doesn't mean that you're home free to use them in the casino. Because of the edge that players can get over the house, casinos don't like players that use card counting systems like the Hi-Opt ones. To keep yourself from being asked to leave the casino, make sure you checked out our section above about how not to get caught when counting cards.


Hopefully, we've been able to assist you with learning everything you wanted to know about the Hi-Opt Systems of blackjack card counting. For those of you that are new to our site, we've got so much more to offer you. From blackjack strategy guides to individual online casino reviews, we've built this website to help you get the most out of your gambling. Simply use the main website menu to get a taste of all of the other great resources we can provide. Thanks for reading, and good luck with your future blackjack card counting adventures!

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