Blackjack Players vs. Side Bets

Side bets are one of the evils of blackjack—both blackjack online and blackjack in a brick and mortar casino. It does not matter where you play blackjack, if you are playing with side bets you are going to lose more money. Check it out:

Perfect Pairs. For all intents and purposes this is played exactly like regular blackjack except for one minor detail: players make a separate, side bet on that they will be dealt a pair in their first two cards. If you are dealt a pair of twos then congrats, you win the wager; and if you are not dealt a pair in your first two cards you lose the wager. That is it, end of story.

The problem with this is that side bets are against the nature of blackjack. Blackjack is a game of skill in which players can use strategy—strategy they can practice and improve upon for better results—to improve their edge against the house. But with side bets there is no strategy possible that can improve the odds of being dealt a pair in your first two cards.

Side bets are simply a bad bet.

Let’s look at this side bet example a bit closer. The house edge on blackjack prior to strategy is 4-5%. In a game of Perfect Pairs that house edge increases by 1.76% up to 6.76%. Now you can apply something as simple as basic strategy to the game portion of blackjack and drop the house edge to 0.5% if you stick to basic strategy and do not deviate. But if you are in playing Perfect Pairs, the lowest you can bring the house edge down to is 2.26%.

And that is only one blackjack variation with a side bet. But use this example as guidance when thinking about playing in a blackjack game with a side bet, and take this away with you: do not play with side bets.