Modern Blackjack
Side Bets







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Chapter Plus Ten

Side Bets

First, a few general comments on side bets. Competition caused by growth in the casino industry has resulted in numerous new side bets including: 21+3, Big Slick, Bonanza BJ, Dare any Pair, Field of Gold, High Tie Bonus, Lucky Ladies, Lucky Lucky, Match the Dealer, Over/Under, Pair Square, Perfect Pairs, Royal Match, Super 7s, Sweet 16, and Streak. Unlike bonuses, side bets involve an optional bet, in addition to your normal bet, that will pay off under specific circumstances. Most side bets have shockingly large house advantages and should be avoided at all costs. However, some can be beaten. I will provide only one example of a side bet that is widely known as beatable as I do not want to tip off casinos.

  In some cases, the normal card counting strategies are used to determine when to make a side bet. You can further increase the edge by using specialized side counts in addition to your main count. However, use of multiple counts greatly complicates the game and can increase your error rate.

  Some side bets require specialized counts. For example, Red/Black is a bet on the color of the dealer upcard. A normal count will not work since colors are not part of the count.

  Newer side bets usually include multiple payoffs. For example, Lucky Ladies pays different amounts for Two Queen of Hearts and a dealer BJ, Two Queen of Hearts, a matched 20 (two identical cards adding to 20), a suited 20, and an unsuited 20.

  Some side bets have a fixed or maximum bet amount, a capped payout, or a bet size relative to the main bet.

  Like Video Poker, different casinos (and even different tables in the same casino) may have different payout tables for the same side bet. This can dramatically affect the advantage.


 © 2009 Norman Wattenberger

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© 2009 Norman Wattenberger