More Bad Beat Blackjack Tables Installed

Barona Resort and Casino was the first casino in the US to receive the Bad Beat Blackjack tables, produced by DEQ Systems Corp. And with the beginning of May they have installed nine more tables at the Barona Casino bringing the total number of Bad Beat Blackjack tables up to twenty. That is a lot of Bad Beat Blackjack.

And Bad Beat is the word. I am not a fan of side beats in blackjack. But here we are with a blackjack game with a progressive payout and a side bet. That is a recipe for the house to take your bankroll.

The way it works is that the actual game of blackjack is played the same as usual, but players can make a side bet ranging from $1 up to $5. If the dealer beats a player’s 20 with any 21—natural or hit to—the player gets to cash in on a portion of the progressive.

But for reasons unbeknownst to me, these Bad Beat Blackjack tables are doing well at the Barona. Vice President of Table Games, Michael Patterson, said, “DEQ has been a great partner and their G3 progressive bonusing system has transformed our table games experience at Barona. The progressive technology makes the games even more exciting for our players as they have more chances to win.”

I beg to differ. The likelihood of a player holding a 20 at the same time as the dealer to either be dealt a 21 or hit to 21 is slim. The odds are definitely against the player here. At least the side bets are limited in Bad Beat Blackjack to a maximum of $5.

Bad Beat Blackjack Progressive is Sneaky too

And I thought that insurance was being sneaky. It has nothing on Bad Beat Blackjack Progressive by DEQ Systems Corp. DEQ has spent the last five years creating and designing a new electronic side bet that can be built into blackjack tables.

Shall we compare the two and see just how sneaky Bad Beat Blackjack Progressive is.

First we will look at insurance. Insurance is offered when the dealer has an Ace showing, and essentially is a side bet on whether the dealer’s hole card is worth 10 or not. If the hole card is worth 10 the dealer has a natural blackjack, you would lose your original wager, but you would collect 2-1 on your insurance side bet so that you were paid an amount that is equal to the wager you lost.

There are only four Aces per deck. Let’s say that you are at a table that is using four decks, like a Vegas Strip Blackjack table. That means there are sixteen Aces out of 208 cards. On average there is a 7% chance that an Ace will show as the up card. So you only have the opportunity to take insurance sixteen times.

Now we will look at Bad Beat Blackjack Progressive.

This is a side bet that will pay the player if they have a final hand total of 20 and are beaten by the dealer with 21. The more cards that make up the dealer’s 21, the more the player receives on their side bet; but a dealer 21 made up of seven cards will payout the progressive jackpot.

Bad Beat Blackjack Progressive plays on the notion that the player will always receive something if his strong hand is beaten. Which on the surface sounds like a good idea. But there are several problems:

– It only covers a player 20, not a player who hits to 21.
– It does not cover if the dealer beats you with a natural blackjack.
– It does not cover pushes.

And perhaps the biggest problem of all is that the side bet can be made every single round. This is very bad. At least with insurance there are only certain times it is offered. But Bad Beat Blackjack Progressive puts players in the position to lose even more money every single round. The probability of you having a hand total of 20 and the dealer beating you with a multi-card hand of 21 is actually very slim.

This is one type of side bet that should be high on your list of things to avoid since you stand a better chance of losing more money each round than you do of winning a payout off of it. And it is just horrible to prey upon player feelings in order to extract more money. Sure, it is a blow when our 20’s are beaten, but that is a part of the game.

And this company, this DEQ Systems Inc., has created a way for casinos to cash in on that feeling. Because of the increased opportunity for players to lose money Bad Beat Blackjack Progressive should be avoided. There is no sense to throwing money away on almost every hand to collect on a hand here and hand there—the financial cost does not balance out unless the dealer has a seven card 21.

Things I Do Not Like About Blackjack

I love the game of blackjack. The one on one feeling that you get from playing only against the table, even if you are at a full table. The smooth feeling you get when you know your blackjack strategy is doing its thing against the house edge. The feeling of knowing that I am playing the one game in the entire casino or online casino that has the best odds for me to win and make a profit.

But it is true that there are some things that I just do not like about blackjack.

For one thing I do not like insurance.

I do not like the sneaky way the casinos present this playing option as something that benefits the player when in fact it is designed purely to try to take more money from the player—sure, get them to put more money on the table in wagers, more money on the line means more opportunity for the house to take it which means lower odds for the player.

It is just a sneaky way, deceptive yet entirely game-legal way of lowering a player’s blackjack odds. And that sneakiness is what I do not like. Come on, just be up front and tell players, ‘Hey, this can maybe kind of help you, but it is likely to cause you to lose some money.’

Another thing? Side bets.

Side bets are found in blackjack variations. And variations came about in two ways. One way is that some are cultural variations, such as Pontoon and Spanish 21. But other variations are creations meant to take more player money—no surprise—through side bets.

The problem was that players were getting bored with blackjack and rather than give themselves and their bankrolls a break (which is smart), they wanted a variation of blackjack…kind of like the best of both worlds: a different game that is still the same.

Be careful what you wish for because you just might get it, and it just might cost you more. Which is exactly what blackjack variations with their side bets do.

Insurance and side bets are two of my biggest pet peeves with a game that I otherwise thoroughly love. And I will continue to warn players to avoid both insurance and side bets—which insurance is actually a side bet in its own right—so that players can hang on to their blackjack bankroll.

Blackjack Fun Fact Friday

I have declared that today shall be Fun Fact Friday. There will be no arguing with me on this either.

But I promise to stick to blackjack facts.

To kick off this Fun Fact Friday I am going to start off with when blackjack first came to the United States.

Yes, we all know that it is one of the most popular casino games. Multiple tables can be found in brick and mortar casinos across the country, and more casinos are moving to legalize blackjack in their states so that they too can jump on the blackjack band wagon.

But it was not always this way for blackjack.

When this favored casino game first game ashore in the United States in the 1800s it was not popular. After all it was an unheard of card game, and with all the gentlemen in the clubs in the city and the cowboys out west hooked on poker, there was not a lot of space for a new card game.

In an effort to make blackjack more appealing, casino owners began adding rules and side bets. Some of the surviving side bets have no become the blackjack variations we have today. And while many professional blackjack players today do not advocate side bets, in the 1800s that was how the casinos lured in players.

In fact, that is how blackjack got its name. The game originated in France and was called Vingt et Un, which is French for 21. When the game came ashore in the 1800s it was simply called 21.

But through the various side bets and special payouts offered 21 was renamed blackjack. This is because one of the special payouts was a 10-1 payout given if the two card 21 was made up of the Ace of Spades and the Jack of Spades or the Jack of Clubs. Hence blackjack.

The 10-1 payout has long since been retired, but the name blackjack has stuck. Even when the special payouts and side bets became blackjack variations and the game was returned to what we know it is now, the name was stuck and blackjack’s rise to popularity was set.

Blackjack Side Bets and Variations

It’s been awhile since I’ve talked about blackjack variations. I think the last one I talked about was a newer variation called Streak. But I’m not going to talk about that one right now. Instead I’m going to talk about a fairly common blackjack variation that is pretty common in online casinos: Super 21. This snake in the grass is also known as Super Fun 21.

While it’s a pretty common offering online Super Fun 21 online, it didn’t originate online. It of course came from a regular casino. This blackjack variation was supposed to be played with one deck. But with the programming and RNG to maintain randomness in online games, the benefit of a single deck game is taken away.

In a casino, a single deck game offers good odds as long as it has a 3-2 payout. Most don’t, including Super Fun 21. But at least a card count could still count the cards and manage his betting strategy despite there being no 3-2 payout.

But card counting can’t be done online. So the benefit of a single deck game is ruined. You might was well play the game with eight. And because of the RNG there is no way to tell for certain that the game is being played with a single deck online.

Now I already mentioned that Super Fun 21 doesn’t have a 3-2 payout. So what does it have? 6-5? Nope. In this blackjack variation the payout for being dealt a natural 21 will only give you an even money payout which is terrible for your blackjack odds.

This blackjack variation does give a couple of concessions to the players though. Players are allowed to double down on any number cards, not just the first two they are dealt. Players can also surrender after doubling, which would normally offer some pretty decent odds for the blackjack player.

But that even money payout wipes away all benefit found in those concessions. An even money payout raises the house edge 0.95%. So since we’re not in a 3-2 game—which would have a starting house edge of 5.45%–Super Fun 21 has a starting house edge of 8.75%. Granted this is before applying strategy, but the odds are still dismal to begin with.

The changes made in a blackjack variation are almost never to a player’s advantage, and are usually designed for those who like their blackjack to be riskier. But these variations are designed to pull more money from the blackjack players. Seeing how common it is online is disturbing, and it should be avoided by any blackjack player who doesn’t want to throw their money away.

Side Bets in Blackjack—Perfect Pairs

Side bets are never a good idea in blackjack. It doesn’t matter if you’re playing online or in a casino. Side bets are an easy way to lose more of your money, and lose it faster.

Sure the side bets sound like fun. Maybe they’re a way to heighten the gambling thrill. But in reality, if you stop and think about how a side bet works, you’ll see that it’s not a great idea to play with them.

For example, let’s take a look at Blackjack Perfect Pairs.

Perfect Pairs is played like any other game of blackjack. It’s usually played with six decks and has the same house rules as a standard game of blackjack. So regular game play has the same odds as a normal game. You can use basic strategy in the game and lower the house edge on the portion of Perfect Pairs that is played like regular blackjack.

Now for the Perfect Pairs part. In this blackjack variation, players can make a side bet on whether the first two cards they’re dealt will be a pair.

Yes, that is the side bet and key to this variation of blackjack. You are merely wagering your money on whether you’ll be dealt a pair in your first two cards. And, unlike regular blackjack, there is nothing a player can do to alter the house odds for the side bet portion; there is no way to increase your chances of being dealt a pair.

It seems like a silly thing to wager on.

In Perfect Pairs there are three ways to win the side bet in Perfect Pairs:

– A perfect pair is made up of two cards that are identical; payout is 25
– A colored pair is made up of two cards of the same rank and color, just different suits; payout is 12
– A red/black pair is made up two cards of the same rank; payout is 6

Without one of those types of pairs you will lose your side bet.

Now let’s look at the house edge on Perfect Pairs versus the house edge on a standard version of blackjack:

– Perfect Pairs: 4.10%
– Standard Blackjack pre-basic strategy: 2-5%
– Standard Blackjack with basic strategy: 0.05%

Would you rather play against a house edge of 4.10% in which you can’t lower the odds? Or just stick to standard blackjack that you can influence?