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Last Updated: September 12, 2016

Blackjack Match

Introduction



Blackjack Match is a side bet that wins if the player and/or the dealer have a blackjack. The value of the win is maximized if the blackjacks are suited and match. The structure is based on the original Caribbean Stud side bet, with a progressive jackpot in which the second tier pays 10% of the jackpot.

Unlike most other progressive side bets, this one costs $5 instead of $1. I think this was a wise decision on the part of the game makers. Looking at it from the casino's point of view, it isn't worth slowing a game down for only a $1 bet.

I first heard about the bet in May, 2016. A reader reported seeing it at Resorts in Atlantic City.

Rules



The bet amount is $5 and all wins are on a "for one" basis, meaning the original wager is not returned on a win. On the top two awards, there is an "Envy Bonus," which means a win for every other player at the table who made the side bet.

There are two known versions of the the pay table, as shown in the table below. The Envy Bonus is the same for both.

Pay Table

Event Version 1 Version 2 Envy Bonus
Matching suited ace/king blackjacks Jackpot Jackpot $3,000.00
Matching suited blackjacks 10% of Jackpot 10% of Jackpot $1,000.00
Player and dealer suited blackjacks $1,000.00 $1,500.00 $-
Player and dealer blackjacks $150.00 $250.00 $-
Player suited blackjack $50.00 $50.00 $-
Player blackjack $25.00 $25.00 $-
Player ace in first two cards $15.00 $10.00 $-


Version 1 Analysis



The following table shows the probability and contribution to the return for all possible events under version 1, assuming six decks of cards. The return column is the product of the win, probability, and 0.2. The reason for multiplying by 0.2 is to show the relative return based on a $5 bet.

Version 1 — Six Decks

Event Pays Combinations Probability Return
Matching suited ace/king blackjacks 100% of Jackpot 3,600 0.000002 ?
Matching suited blackjacks 10% of Jackpot 10,800 0.000005 ?
Player and dealer suited blackjacks $1,000.00 300,672 0.000129 0.025879
Player and dealer blackjacks $150.00 4,719,168 0.002031 0.060927
Player suited blackjack $50.00 26,328,960 0.011331 0.113307
Player blackjack $25.00 78,986,880 0.033992 0.169961
Player ace in first two cards $15.00 233,919,180 0.100668 0.302003
Loser $- 1,979,404,560 0.851843 0.000000
Total 2,323,673,820 1.000000 0.672078 + ?


The table above shows the return from fixed wins is 67.21%. That goes up by 0.19% for each additional player at the table, not counting yourself, in the form of the Envy Bonus. As in version 1 with this pay table, each $10,000 in the jackpot meter is worth 0.40% in return. Each $24,825.58 in the meter is worth exactly 1% in return.

Next, here is the return table with eight decks.

Version 1 — Eight Decks

Event Pays Combinations Probability Return
Matching suited ace/king blackjacks 100% of Jackpot 12,544 0.000002 ?
Matching suited blackjacks 10% of Jackpot 37,632 0.000005 ?
Player and dealer suited blackjacks $1,000.00 958,464 0.000130 0.025976
Player and dealer blackjacks $150.00 15,117,312 0.002049 0.061456
Player suited blackjack $50.00 83,511,296 0.011317 0.113165
Player blackjack $25.00 250,533,888 0.033950 0.169748
Player ace in first two cards $15.00 742,745,808 0.100649 0.301946
Loser $- 6,286,666,176 0.851900 0.000000
Total 7,379,583,120 1.000000 0.672292 +?


The table above shows the return from fixed wins is 67.23%. That goes up by 0.20% for each additional player at the table, not counting yourself. Each $10,000 in the jackpot meter is worth 0.44% in return. Each $22,626.76 in the meter is worth exactly 1% in return.

The next table shows the break-even point according to the number of other players (not counting yourself) for both six and eight decks. In other words, this is how high the jackpot would need to reach for the house edge to be exactly 0%.

Version 1 — Break-Even Meter

Other
Players
Six Decks Eight Decks
0 $814,084.23 $741,497.97
1 $809,468.85 $736,882.58
2 $804,853.46 $732,267.20
3 $800,238.08 $727,651.82
4 $795,622.69 $723,036.43
5 $791,007.31 $718,421.05
6 $786,391.92 $713,805.66


Version 2 Analysis



The following table shows the probability and contribution to the return for all possible events under version 2, assuming six decks of cards. The return column is the product of the win, probability, and 0.2. The reason for multiplying by 0.2 is to show the relative return based on a $5 bet.

Version 2 — Six Decks

Event Pays Combinations Probability Return
Matching suited ace/king blackjacks 100% of Jackpot 3,600 0.000002 ?
Matching suited blackjacks 10% of Jackpot 10,800 0.000005 ?
Player and dealer suited blackjacks $1,500.00 300,672 0.000129 0.038819
Player and dealer blackjacks $250.00 4,719,168 0.002031 0.101545
Player suited blackjack $50.00 26,328,960 0.011331 0.113307
Player blackjack $25.00 78,986,880 0.033992 0.169961
Player ace in first two cards $10.00 233,919,180 0.100668 0.201336
Loser $- 1,979,404,560 0.851843 0.000000
Total 2,323,673,820 1.000000 0.624968 + ?


The table above shows the return from fixed wins is 62.50%. That goes up by 0.19% for each additional player at the table, not counting yourself, in the form of the Envy Bonus. As in version 1 with this pay table, each $10,000 in the jackpot meter is worth 0.40% in return. Each $24,825.58 in the meter is worth exactly 1% in return.

The following table shows the probability and contribution to the return for all possible events under version 2, assuming eight decks of cards. The return column is the product of the win, probability, and 0.2. The reason for multiplying by 0.2 is to show the relative return based on a $5 bet.

Version 2 — Eight Decks

Event Pays Combinations Probability Return
Matching suited ace/king blackjacks 100% of Jackpot 12,544 0.000002 ?
Matching suited blackjacks 10% of Jackpot 37,632 0.000005 ?
Player and dealer suited blackjacks $1,500.00 958,464 0.000130 0.038964
Player and dealer blackjacks $250.00 15,117,312 0.002049 0.102427
Player suited blackjack $50.00 83,511,296 0.011317 0.113165
Player blackjack $25.00 250,533,888 0.033950 0.169748
Player ace in first two cards $10.00 742,745,808 0.100649 0.201297
Loser $- 6,286,666,176 0.851900 0.000000
Total 7,379,583,120 1.000000 0.625602 + ?


The table above shows the return from fixed wins with eight decks is 62.56%. That goes up by 0.20% for each additional player at the table, not counting yourself, in the form of the Envy Bonus. As in version 1 with this pay table, each $10,000 in the jackpot meter is worth 0.44% in return. Each $22,626.76 in the meter is worth exactly 1% in return.

The next table shows the break-even point according to the number of other players (not counting yourself) for six and eight decks. In other words, this is how high the jackpot would need to reach for the house edge to be exactly 0%.

Version 2 — Break-Even Meter

Other
Players
Six
Decks
Eight
Decks
0 $931,037.88 $847,142.46
1 $926,422.50 $842,527.08
2 $921,807.12 $837,911.69
3 $917,191.73 $833,296.31
4 $912,576.35 $828,680.92
5 $907,960.96 $824,065.54
6 $903,345.58 $819,450.15


Strategy



Obviously, the player should factor in the jackpot amount and number of other players in his decision to play. I would expect the vast majority of the time the side bet will carry a high house edge.

I would be remiss in my duties if I didn't mention that this bet would be very vulnerable to card counters. However, for a $5 bet, who is going to bother?





Written by: Michael Shackleford

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