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Last Updated: December 30, 2016

High Low

Introduction

High Low is a game found at various Internet casino. It goes by different names. For example, BetSoft calls it Draw Hi-Lo. This version addresses the game by iSoftBet. They can't seem to agree on its name either, referring to it as High Low, Casino High Low, and Las Vegas High Low. Since "casino" is too general and I've never seen the game in Las Vegas, I'm going to call it just "High Low."

Whatever you call it, it is a simple game where the player bets whether the next card in the deck will be higher or lower than the current card. The odds are roughly commensurate with the probability of winning.

Rules



  1. I do not know the number of decks used, however it doesn't make a difference mathematically, if you ignore ties.
  2. Cards are ranked as in poker, except aces are always low.
  3. The player is given a random card. As long as it is a 2 to queen, the player will be given the choice to bet whether the next card will be higher or lower.
  4. If the player is correct, then he will be paid according to the pay table below. In the event of a tie, the bet shall push (contrary to what the table felt says). In the event the player guesses incorrectly, then he will lose.
  5. Except for the first decision, the player may quit at any time and collect his winnings to that point.


Following is the pay table. All wins are expressed on a "for one" basis.

High Low Pay Table

Card Low Pays High Pays
2 10.7 1.1
3 5.3 1.1
4 3.5 1.1
5 2.6 1.3
6 2.1 1.5
7 1.87 1.87
8 1.5 2.1
9 1.3 2.6
10 1.1 3.5
J 1.1 5.3
Q 1.1 10.7


Strategy



Here is the optimal strategy for High Low for the non-card counter:

  • 2, 3, 10: Low
  • 4, J, Q: High
  • 5 - 9: House edge same either way


Analysis



The following table shows the house edge of both the low and high option for all ranks for the non-card-counter.

Higher Analysis

Card House
Edge
Low
House
Edge
High
2 10.20% -0.78%
3 10.98% 7.84%
4 11.76% 16.47%
5 12.55% 12.55%
6 11.76% 11.76%
7 6.12% 6.12%
8 11.76% 11.76%
9 12.55% 12.55%
10 16.47% 11.76%
J 7.84% 10.98%
Q -0.78% 10.20%


You saw it right that the house edge is negative for above a 2 and below a queen. That means the player has a 0.78% advantage. Unfortunately, the player must always play the first card, good or bad.

Strategy



If you must play, I would suggest following the strategy above on the first card. Play on if the next card is a 2 or queen, otherwise collect and start over.


Written by: Michael Shackleford

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