Don’t short­change your­self with this bet­ting op­tion

The Republican Herald - This Weekend - - NEWS - Mark Pi­larski

Dear Mark: Is there an ap­pro­pri­ate time to “dou­ble for less” at black­jack? I do it oc­ca­sion­ally, but I am be­gin­ning to feel that it isn’t worth the has­sle that I get from fel­low play­ers and some­times even the dealer. house at this point in the hand, so dou­ble you money to max­i­mize your bet.

If ever there is a time to dou­ble for less, Doug, it would be when you are down to your last chips, and you can’t af­ford a full dou­ble down. As for the has­sling dealer, pos­si­bly he or she is look­ing out for your best in­ter­est as many, yours truly in­cluded, are apt to giv­ing un­so­licited ad­vice. mick bet, or does Per­fect Pairs of­fer a half­way de­cent re­turn for those of us who use ba­sic strat­egy or at least a strat­egy card at the ta­ble?

Jim M. Ev­ery time you sit down at a black­jack game, Jim, you will no doubt get your fair share of “mixed pairs” (cards of the same num­ber, one red and one black), “Col­ored pairs” (same col­ors and same num­bers, ei­ther black or red), and the rare “per­fect pair” (which con­sists of iden­ti­cally num­bered cards of the same suit). Thus, is “per­fect pairs” a value-added wa­ger worth mak­ing?

Pay ta­bles vary from casino to casino, Jim. On a six- deck shoe game and us­ing your ex­am­ple of where you col­lect 6 to 1 for a mixed pair, 12 to 1 for a col­ored pair, and a per­fect pair for 25 to 1, the house edge on a Per­fect Pairs wa­ger is more than 6 per­cent.

Un­for­tu­nately, the prob­lem with most side bets of­fered at any black­jack game is that they are too costly for read­ers of this col­umn. When hands are played cor­rectly, black­jack has a casino ad­van­tage of less than a half a per­cent. So, Jim, while you are us­ing ba­sic strat­egy to keep the house edge down, do you re­ally want to make a side bet where the casino ad­van­tage is more than 10X higher?

Sorry, Jim. A Per­fect Pairs wa­ger is just not a side bet that I would rec­om­mend.

Gambling wis­dom

of the week

“Se­ri­ous ac­tion is a se­ri­ous ride, and rides of this kind are all but ar­ranged out of every­day life.”

— Irv­ing Goff­man, “Where the Ac­tion Is” (Pi­larski can be reached at pi­larski@markpi­

Doug D.

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