Blackjack is arguably the most rewarding table game there is. It’s simple to play, and players can reduce the house edge to less than 0.50% when playing with an optimal strategy.
However, blackjack traditionally pays out even money at a 1:1 ratio. If you’re an ambitious player, that’s not enough. That’s where a side bet in blackjack comes in. One highly rewarding blackjack side bet is Match the Dealer. So, what exactly is this side bet, and is it worth consideration? This post unpacks it all!
Match the Dealer is a standard blackjack side bet in games like Spanish 21, Pirate 21, and American Blackjack. As per blackjack dealer rules, you can place this side bet alongside the primary wager. The objective of this side bet is relatively simple. The player’s first two cards should match the Dealer’s upcard.
Note that the blackjack side bet cards can match in terms of suits and value or rank. This side bet gives players a healthy return rate of 4:1. To put it simply, you win $4 from a successful $1 bet. However, the payout can vary depending on the game and the number of decks. You’ll learn more in the next section.
Only Pirate 21 by Betsoft Gaming has the Match the Dealer side bet at the best online casinos. As you may already know, this game uses Spanish 21 rules, meaning it’s played with six decks of cards. Blackjack dealer rules in this game also stipulate that the dealer hits on soft 17, and players may hit or double on Split Aces. By the way, you can re-split Aces if you want.
As for Match the Dealer payouts in this game, you’ll enjoy a 4:1 payout for non-suited matches. The payout is even higher at 9:1 if you create a suited match. The house edge for this blackjack side bet is 3.06%, higher than what most online slots offer. Another thing, Pirate 21 has table limits of 1.00 to 100 credits, and gamers can play three hands concurrently.
Spanish 21 is another popular blackjack variant with this tantalizing side bet. However, in this 6-deck game, all 10s are withdrawn from the shoe. But the payout remains the same for suited and non-suited matches, although the house edge is slightly lower at 3.05%. If you have two suited matches, this game pays out at 18:1, with two non-suited matches paying at 9:1. In the case of a suited and non-suited match, the game pays out at 13:1.
Sometimes you may find a Spanish 21 variant played using eight decks of cards. In such a game, a single suited match pays at 14:1, with an unsuited match paying 3:1. Two suited matches pay the most at 28:1, while two unsuited matches pay at 6:1. Lastly, a combination of suited and unsuited matches has a 17:1 payout. The house edge here is 3%.
First and foremost, most advanced blackjack players don’t play side bets, including the Match the Dealer side bet. The thing is that the return rate for these games is way lower than what you find on the blackjack base game. Most online casinos have favorable rules that allow players to enjoy up to 99% RTP on main bets without a strategy and 99.7% with an optimal strategy.
But that’s just about it, as Match the Dealer side bet can be very rewarding. Typically, winning a base game bet gives you a 1:1 payout. Now that’s peanuts compared to the 28:1 payout for two suited matched in 8-deck Spanish 21. But remember that these long odds are pretty unlikely to happen. So, only place a blackjack side bet for the entertainment side of things.
If you’ve been looking for tips and tricks on how to bet the house on Match the Dealer side, skip this section altogether. That’s because no strategy can beat the house edge. But yes, your long-term returns can be a little higher if you use card counting in a traditional gaming situation.
As you can see, the Match the Dealer blackjack side bet can expose you to some good situations. If you can find a blackjack table with this wager, you’ll enjoy payouts up to 28:1, one of the highest you can find in a classic card game.
But despite the higher payouts, the return rates in this side wager are a bit unfriendly. So, it’s advisable to ignore this side bet altogether and focus on the base game. Also, play blackjack for free at the best online casinos if you find this talk about odds, return rates, and side bets complicated. You may strike luck!