Hi Lo 13 Blackjack
Hi Lo Blackjack is another popular online Blackjack variant you may well find at online casinos that favour Microgaming software to power their games. Its full title is now Premier Hi Lo 13 European Blackjack, which is a bit long-winded in our opinion, so we’ll stick to calling if Hi Lo 13 Blackjack for the duration of this review.
From its full title it’s probably obvious that the essential rules of this online Blackjack follow common ‘European’ conventions, and so you’ll find the Dealer Rule to stand on all 17s, Insurance paying 2 to 1 and Blackjack paying 3 to 2 all advertised on the table layout. A two-deck shoe is in play and the other usual ‘European’ rules to note are:
Splitting is allowed once per game, to create two hands from your initial deal. Split Aces may only receive one further card, whereas all other splits can be played out with additional deals.
Doubling down is only permissible on an initial deal with a hard count of ‘9’ to ‘11’ inclusive. Doubling down on a split hand is not within the rules.
Insurance side bets are allowed whenever the Dealer’s upcard is an Ace. The stake for this optional side bet is fixed as half the original wager to win.
Surrender is not an option with Hi Lo 13 Blackjack.
With the rules of its Blackjack now established, what of Hi Lo 13 Blackjack’s specific side bet? Well, as is common with many Blackjack side bets, this is an optional stake that can be placed in addition to, but not without, the main wager and is a prediction focused on the player’s first two cards. As the game’s title hints at, the side bet is a Hi Lo prediction and offers three options:
Player’s initial hand count is less than 13 – pays out at 1 to 1.
Player’s initial hand count is more than 13 – pays out at 1 to 1.
Player’s initial hand count is 13 – pays out at 10 to 1.
In case you’re wondering about how Aces are considered for this side bet, they always count as ‘1’, so A,2 will pay 1 to 1 rather than 10 to 1 if it was eligible as Soft 13.
Considered just on the merits of its Blackjack game, this variant has a very enjoyable feel and a pretty decent advertised house edge of 0.40% (RTP 99.60%) for optimal play.
The Hi Lo 13 side bet is fun but, if we’re honest, it doesn’t add much extra to the game particularly with the longest odds at 10 to 1. Our opinion is that – if you like side bets – it’s better to go with games that offer versions with more extravagant pays, such as Perfect Pairs, to justify the less advantageous house edge these fixed-odds wagers attract.