Hi/ Lo 13 Blackjack
Hi/Lo 13 is another Microgaming variant on European Blackjack. The main difference between this and European Blackjack, is that players have the ability to place a side-bet if they wish, but we’ll come to more about that in a moment. Hi/Lo 13 has proven to be a somewhat successful blackjack variant, and players should remember that a side-bet is no necessary to play this game.
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How to bet?
Straight after Microgaming’s Hi/Lo 13 Blackjack game loads, the player will be at the main table. From there, they will notice a number of chips at the table’s left-hand edge. Drag the chips into the betting circle to place your bet. Chip values consists of 1.00, 5.00, 10.00 and 25.00, and players can place stakes of anything from 1.00 up to 200.00 per hand.
How to play?
The basic game is simple enough to grasp. After placing your bet, click on the deal button to get your cards. The player will receive two, and the dealer one (face-up). Players will then play out the standard blackjack game as normal, by making decisions on their hand, and avoiding going bust. At the end of the hand, the player (or dealer) who has the highest hand (up to 21) wins. Insurance bets are possible in Hi/Lo 13, and players can double-down on their first two cards (if they have a value of 9, 10 or 11). They can also split cards of the same value, but no re-splitting or doubling-down after splitting is accepted. Aces can be split once. The base game is all very predictable and understandable. It is in the bonus side-bet where Hi/Lo 13 excels and is different.
Players can opt to place side-bets after they have made their first standard blackjack wager. They can place side-bets on one or all three of the options, which include Hi (total value of between 14 and 20), Lo (total value of between 2 and 12), or 13 (total value of 13). Each side-bet can be worth more or less than the original Ante bet, but not more than 25% of its value. When it comes to the side-bet, aces are counted as 1s.
Players can pocket wins of 3:2 for blackjack, and 2:1 for insurance bets in Hi/Lo 13. The dealer must stand on all 17s in the game. As for the side-bet pay-outs: a successful Hi bet pays out at 1:1, as does a Lo bet. Successful 13 bets cough up a delightful 10:1 pay-out.
Tips and Tricks
Players must keep in mind the nasty rule for the side-bets. Generally, it is advisable to never play a side-bet, but in Hi/Lo 13, the side-bets do come off fairly frequently. But, aces count as 1s, so it is perhaps advisable to play for Lo bets, rather than Hi ones, if you play side-bets at all. Also, keep in mind that if you have blackjack, you won’t get any pay-out on a side-bet!
Overall Experience & Final Thoughts
This is a fun blackjack variant. Hi/Lo 13 is perfect for lovers of European Blackjack, as it enables them to play the same game that they know, as well as tinker with side-bets if they are feeling adventurous. A low house edge of just 0.42% doesn’t hurt its chances, either.