Why Blackjack Side Bets are Bad

Blackjack variations provide a breath of air to when compared to playing standard blackjack. I cannot say that they provide a breath of fresh air considering what they do to a player’s blackjack odds, but the difference in the games does indeed provide for a change of pace.

Majority of the time when a player seeks out a blackjack variation it is because the standard game of blackjack has gotten a bit stale to them—same thing happening just about every round. Variations have catching names like Perfect Pairs to pull in these bored blackjack players. Players think that these variations of blackjack are different from the regular game.

The truth is that they really are not that different. They can be broken down into two parts: the base game and the side bet.

The base game is the same as any standard game of blackjack. Players can hit, stand, double down or split pairs. Granted these plays might be limited somewhat. Perfect Pairs, for example, will only allow players to double down once and split only the first two cards. No additional doubling down or splitting of pairs. Otherwise it is played the same as a game of standard blackjack.

Then there is the side bet. Side bets are usually where the name of a blackjack variation comes from. And it is also the main difference that allows the variation to be a variation.

A side bet is a wager separate from the regular playing wager. For example, you might wager $10 on the round of blackjack and $5 on the side bet. Two separate wagers. And both can have two separate outcomes meaning it is possible to lose one and win the other.

In the case of Perfect Pairs, players are placing a side wager on whether their first two cards are a pair. At the beginning of the round the player makes his round wager and his pair wager. If his first two cards are a pair, he wins the side bet. But he can still lose his regular wager in the actual game.

Because of the increased opportunity for the house to win money from the player, the player’s blackjack odds drop and the house’s edge increases. Standard blackjack before any strategy is around 2-5% depending on the house rules. However a game like Perfect Pairs starts at 4.10%.

Rather than putting more of your bankroll at risk it is better to take a break from playing if you find blackjack getting a bit dull. A blackjack break is a breath of fresh air is better than pretend air that is only stealing your money in a sneaky way.