Microgaming is a software supplier that always delivers when it comes to creating unique blackjack variations with intriguing twists. This is definitely the case with the studio’s High Streak Blackjack variant, which grabs the attention with its bespoke side-bet structure, augmented visuals, and customization features. You can improve your game with the help of the strategy display and the hit/stand warnings.
This is a single-hand variation that plays with 2 regular decks. The dealer draws to 16 and stands on all 17s, both soft and hard. The unique aspect of this game is that it allows players to bank on winning streaks by posting the so-called High Streak side bet.
This optional wager can earn you up to 10x your stake if you succeed in scoring five consecutive wins. Unfortunately, the other rules of the game are rather restrictive, which reduces High Streak Blackjack’s average theoretical return to 99.59% with optimal strategy.
Hitting and Standing in High Streak Blackjack
The dealer in High Streak Blackjack is dealt only one face-up card on the initial deal. No hole cards are in play in this variation. The player receives two face-up cards and needs to decide whether to hit the hand or settle for their starting total and stand.
The rules of the game allow both the dealer and the player to draw up to nine additional cards, which is to say a non-busted hand can contain no more than eleven cards. A hand consisting of eleven cards that do not exceed 21 stands by default.
Once the player has made their playing decisions, it is the dealer’s turn to act on their hand. The dealer would then draw one more card next to their first one. If the dealer makes a pat hand of 17 with their second card, they automatically stand. If not, the dealer continues hitting until they arrive at their standing total or bust.
When the player is dealt a blackjack, the hand automatically stands and wins at odds of 3 to 2 unless the dealer also obtains a natural. The main bets for regular winning hands return even money, or 1 to 1. On the occasion of both the dealer’s and the player’s hand having the same total, the round ends in a push and the player gets their main bet back.
Splitting Pairs in High Streak Blackjack
Players have the opportunity to split hands consisting of two cards of the same denomination. In this scenario, they must post another bet to cover the second hand. The second bet is equal to the main bet amount. The game restricts splitting to once per round, equalling no more than two hands.
Aces can also be split but if you happen to draw a ten-value card on a split Ace, the hand is not considered blackjack despite the fact it contains two cards that add up to 21. Instead, it is deemed a regular 21 and returns even money. The same goes for ten-value cards that catch Aces after the split. Just to remind you, though, that splitting tens is generally a bad idea from basic strategy perspective.
Doubling Rules in High Streak Blackjack
The rules pertaining to doubling are also quite restrictive in High Streak Blackjack. Doubling is possible only on your first two cards if they add up to 9, 10 or 11. Keep in mind these totals must be hard. You cannot double on soft hands in this game.
When doubling, you make another bet that is equal to your main bet. You are then dealt one more card, after which the hand you have doubled on automatically stands. Doubling after you have split paired cards is not allowed in High Streak Blackjack.
Understandably, this is a no-peek game because this variation does not utilize hole cards. Despite this, the players are offered to buy insurance when the dealer gets an Ace as their first card. For the purpose, you make a side bet equal to half your main bet. Note that the outcome of your insurance bet is completely independent and does not affect the odds of winning with your main wager.
Respectively, insurance pertains only to your original hand and does not cover your double downs or hands that result from a split. It pays at odds of 2 to 1 if the dealer catches a ten next to their Ace, but your main bet loses in this case unless you also have a blackjack. On the occasion of the dealer not having a blackjack, the insurance bet loses and is automatically removed from the layout. The game continues as normal in this case.
Payouts for the Side Bets
As befits a variation called High Streak Blackjack, this game awards special payouts for side bets that earn players extra money for beating the dealer several times in a row. Note that these side bets are not compulsory, so feel free to skip on them if you wish.
However, if you do want to play them, you must post the chips at the very start of the round before any cards are dealt. The side bets’ payouts depend on the number of hands you win in a row. You win even money for two consecutive wins, 2 to 1 for three wins, 5 to 1 for four wins, and 10 to 1 for a streak of five wins.
After a winning hand, the chips for the side bet move to box for the next streak and this continues until you either break the sequence with a loss or push with the dealer, in which case you may choose to remove the chips for the side wager from the layout.
Before we wrap things up, we would like to remind you these side bets yield a larger house edge, and particularly the 5th streak one, since the probability of winning five consecutive hands in blackjack is around 2.29%.