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Match’em Hi-Lo The Casino Game of the Future?

By Carl Sampson

It takes some doing for any casino game manufacturer to get their “invention” accepted by land based casinos these days. The established “giants” of casino games really do take some shifting. These are slot machines, roulette, blackjack, baccarat and craps but the big three are certainly slot machines, roulette and blackjack. These three casino titans take up more floor space than all of the other casino games combined.
So what chance has any new game designer got when it comes to getting their new game accepted by the casinos? Recently I have been looking at the new
game of Match’em Hi-Lo and as a professional poker player I was asked to preview and analyse the game. There is also another facet to my past as well which
perhaps the Casino Life editors are not aware of - that I used to be a professional blackjack player too before I turned to poker.
Give This Game a Chance
I recall vividly some years ago how the “over/under” variation on blackjack was immensely popular. The only problem with it was that it was extremely vulnerable to
the now famous “Crush Count” that gained an edge for the player substantially higher than any card counter could achieve. Despite all this, the “over/under” feature on
blackjack was extremely popular with punters. The new Match’em Hi-Lo game which has been trialled inside the Isle of Capri Casino in Iowa closely resembles the blackjack variation of “over/under”. The game is very simple but then again, all of the best casino games are simple and are specifically designed to be that way and is why they are so popular. Match’em Hi-Lo begins by players placing a mandatory Hi/Lo Bet and optional Match’em Bonus and Poker Bonus side bets. Then the player is dealt  three cards which are face down. This game is a shoe game just like in blackjack. The player adds up their point total and has to decide whether they want to play their hand for high or for low. All cards 2-10 are counted as rank value, face cards (Jack, Queen, King) are counted as zero and aces can  be eleven or one depending on whether or not you  want to play for high (11) or for low (1). You then place your hand into the “hi” or “lo” box. The dealer has five cards and not three and reveals these cards to make both a high and a low hand using the lowest three cards and the highest three cards with the middle card serving as both a low and a high card. If given a chance then this game will surely be a winner. The player wins if their low hand is equal to the dealer’s hand or lower and that is surely going to
be a rule that players will love. The house edge for the main portion of the bet is a competitive 2.60%. This places it alongside other casino games like roulette but is less favourable than blackjack.
Why Will This Game be Popular
Roulette is popular because it has unique factors like the spinning wheel, for example. It also has good payoffs on single numbers of 35/1. For the more risk averse then even money bets and columns and dozens give the player excellent chances of winning. Each casino game is popular for a specific reason and once those reasons are found and analysed then the popularity of a game simply follows on from that. Players love blackjack because it is a game of skill and likewise with
video poker. Match’em Hi-Lo has similar qualities in that it takes good judgement to play for high or low. Casino players love nothing better than being able to pit their wits and skill against that of the dealer. As an ex-blackjack player and poker player then I can testify that this feeling is real and definitely exists with all players that prefer skill based games.
Any casino game that has these features and these  qualities is sure to do well if it is given a chance. However that is the $64,000 question because there have been many great casino games that were invented in the past that simply couldn’t overcome the older traditional favourites in terms of them actually being accepted inside land based casinos. I know that as a poker player then I would enjoyplaying Match’em Hi-Lo on a purely entertainment basis. I think the casino players on the whole will too.