The origin of the Hi Opt I (aka Highly Optimum) begins with Carl Cooper and Lance Humble, in the 1980 book, “The World’s Greatest Blackjack Book,” making a few adjustments to the Einstein count. Humble also teamed with Julian Braun to make a few more adjustments and create the more complex Hi-Opt II count.
The Einstein count was developed in 1968 by Charles Einstein as an improvement to the very popular Edward Thorp Hi-Lo count. Therefore Einstein is basically credited with the formulation of the Hi-Opt I count.
There is more math involved, along with additional rules and card value changes that make it more accurate than the Hi-Lo count system.
How it works
Because it is a balanced system, you want to be sure to start your count at zero. It also works best for single deck games. As each card is dealt, you change your count according to the value assigned to the cards.
Each card is assigned a value of -1, 0, or +1. The chart of values is:
You need to keep track of the true count, the running count divided by the estimate of the remaining decks.
You start betting with the minimum bet and once your true count becomes +1 or better, you can start to gradually increase your bet size. Of course you want to keep your bet increases to a moderate level, so as not to draw attention to the fact you feel the cards are favorable.
When the count is positive, your chances of hitting a blackjack are increased and therefore you want to bet more, to take advantage of the 3:2 blackjack payoff. Obviously when the count is negative, bet the minimum because it unlikely you’ll hit a blackjack.
Ace tracking is not really a part of this system, but if you haven’t seen any aces dealt, leaving the deck high in aces, you can figure there is definitely a better opportunity for a blackjack and therefore make your bet higher.
It is a moderately advanced balanced system. If you were to count down a 52 card pack of cards, it would start and end with 0.
The Hi Opt I system is not hard to master, with the toughest part being able to correctly figure out your true count. It is because of the extra math involved, that beginners leave this system for the more advanced players who appreciate the extra advantage gained. The most probable reason it is not more highly used, is because it was originally developed to be used with single deck games, which are hard to find now.