In the days of old school Vegas, blackjack was just that – a classic game of 21 in which the player attempts to outscore the dealer without busting (exceeding a total of 21). In modern times, however, blackjack side bet games have become mainstream, and software developers are constantly trying to come up with new and exciting ways to get players to the land-based and online tables.
Realistic Games is one such software company. The team, made up of programmers and designers with decades of experience in their field, has been working diligently on a new blackjack side bet game in which players can opt for an additional wager that is based on the value of the first and second card. It’s called Hi Lo Blackjack, and it’s played exactly as the name implies.
Hi Lo Blackjack Side Bet Rules
As with all blackjack side bet games, Hi Lo Blackjack is nothing more than a traditional game of 21 at its core. The player competes with the dealer in an effort to obtain a hand value that is closest to 21, without going over. If the player wins, the original bet is paid even money (or 3:2 for a natural blackjack). If the dealer wins, the bet is lost.
The blackjack side bet, however, is either won or lost before the proceedings of the standard blackjack hand ever get underway. Again, the side bet is optional, but if a player chooses to place one, it will be handled as soon as the player and dealer receive their first two cards. Thus the player can lose the blackjack hand, but still win on the side bet.
In Hi Lo Blackjack, side bets are based on whether the player’s second card is higher or lower than the first card. For example, if the player chooses Hi, and the first and second cards are 8 and 10 respectively, the side bet is won. If the player chooses Lo, however, the same outcome (8, 10) would result in a loss.
According to Realistic Games Commercial Director, Andy Harris, the new blackjack side bet game is intended to bring more excitement to the online casino tables as players prepare for a hand to begin.
“As the revenues at many of the leading operators will attest, players love our Blackjack game,” said Harris, referring to the core software behind the company’s collection of blackjack games. “But we were very keen to build on its success by creating this simple, yet devilishly fun side bet.”
Hi Lo Blackjack Side Bet Pay Table
Standard blackjack rules and payouts are incurred in the base game, with 1:1 for a win, 3:2 for a blackjack and 2:1 on insurance bets. The dealer stands on all 17’s. Players can double on any two cards and split only once. Note that split Aces must stand upon splitting.
As for the blackjack side bet, in order to give the house its inescapable edge (2.08%), the payout rules are adjusted. Hands with Aces are paid differently, because Aces are not given a hi or lo value. Face cards are counted as J=11, Q=12, K=13, and aside from Aces, any pair automatically loses. See the Hi Lo Blackjack side bet chart below for complete details.
Hands with Aces
Any Blackjack – Pays 1:1
Fist Card Ace, Second Card 2-9 – Pays 1:1
First Card 2-9, Second Card Ace – Lose
Pair of Aces – Push
Hands without Aces
Correct Hi-Lo Bet – Pays 1:1
Incorrect Hi-Lo Bet – Lose
Any Pair – Lose