Perfect Pairs Blackjack
Perfect Pairs Blackjack was invented by a professional blackjack dealer named John Wicks and has since gained popularity in London, Macau, and Australia. Perfect Pairs Blackjack is not really a separate game, but rather a side bet that gives players a chance to enjoy a significant payday for a reasonable wager.
This article is intended to teach you how to play Perfect Pairs Blackjack, and the rules are short enough that anyone can memorize them. The page also includes a section on Perfect Pairs Blackjack odds and probability, as anyone who’s about to risk real money should be aware of their chances of winning.
How to Play Perfect Pairs Blackjack
Learning how to play perfect pairs blackjack is simple, as it’s almost identical to traditional blackjack. There is one major difference, in the form of a side bet. More on the side bet later.
The game is traditionally played with six or eight 52-card decks, although you may be able to find a casino where a smaller number of decks are used. This is not likely, however, as a small number of decks make it less likely that players would have consistent access to the cards needed to win this side bet. And since we’re still talking about a game of blackjack, fewer decks in the shoe would mean a decided advantage for card counters (unless, of course, someone is playing Perfect Pairs Blackjack online).
The side bet known as Perfect Pairs Blackjack comes into play at the beginning of each hand, and the rest of the game proceeds like any other round of blackjack. That means the ultimate objective is to get as close to 21 as possible by adding together the value of your cards, being careful not to go over 21 or wind up with a lower total than the dealer. If your initial two cards add up to 21, then it’s considered a natural blackjack and you automatically win.
Before you are dealt your first two cards, you can elect to make a side bet in addition to your normal wager. This side bet is for Perfect Pairs Blackjack, and it must meet a minimum amount as determined by the casino (you can also bet more if you choose).
Once your bets have been placed, you receive your first two cards. If the cards constitute a pair, then you win the side bet according to what kind of pair you have and the payout rates of the casino. If the two cards don’t make a pair, then you lose the side bet. In either case, the side bet is resolved and play continues as in normal blackjack.
The best result for the side bet is a “perfect pair.” This means two identical cards of the same rank and color. Depending on the casino, this will pay out at either 30:1 or 25:1.
The next winning option is the “colored pair.” This is two cards of the same rank and color (such as the ace of hearts and the ace of diamonds). I’ve seen casinos that pay 15:1, 12:1, and even 10:1 for this winning side bet.
Finally, there’s the “red/black” pair, which are two cards of the same rank but of different colors (an ace of hearts and an ace of spades, for example). This usually pays out at either 5:1 or 6:1.
Perfect Pairs Blackjack Odds and Probability
Perfect Pairs Blackjack odds and probability are similar to all casino games in that the ultimate advantage goes to the house. The eight-deck version of the game is the most common one, although pay tables vary from casino to casino. If the game pays 30:1 for a perfect pair, 10:1 for a colored pair, and 5:1 for a red/black pair, the overall expected return for a player works out to -0.033735. Of the 86,320 possible card combinations in an 8-deck shoe, 79,872 are non-pairs (or losing hands for the purposes of this side bet).
The best player odds for Perfect Pairs Blackjack come when playing with 8 decks and the following pay table: 25:1 for a perfect pair, 15:1 for a colored pair, and 5:1 for a red/black pair. Since colored pairs are more likely to occur than perfect pairs, the increase in this payout helps increase the player’s chances to a -0.021687 expected return.
While playing with two decks might be good for card counters focusing more on the blackjack element of the game, it’s not a boon for those hoping to hit a big payday playing Perfect Pairs Blackjack. That’s because there are only 104 cards in the deck, which means the player has far less pair combinations and possibilities than the 416 cards of an 8-deck game. The worst of these comes when playing with the following payout: 25:1 for a perfect pair, 12:1 for colored pair, and 5:1 for a red/black pair. In this case, the overall expected return for a player is -0.262136.
Perfect Pairs Blackjack won’t pay off consistently, although the large payouts are tempting enough to prompt many players to take a chance. While land-based versions of the game seem limited to Australia, Asia, and parts of Europe, persistent Internet gamers can play Perfect Pairs Blackjack online at select casinos.