Is Match the Dealer a good bet in blackjack?

Profile Picture: Simon Young

November 17th, 2020

Match the Dealer is a type of side bet players can make in blackjack or Spanish 21. While it is entertaining to play side bets, giving you something extra to shoot for every hand, it is not necessarily profitable in the long term. And here’s why.

Gamblers will tell you that the house edge in blackjack is the lowest of all casino games. It starts at around 4%, but playing even a basic blackjack strategy can bring that down to about 0.5%. Now, casino bosses are canny people. They know that blackjack side bets are a great way to increase the house edge.

So long as you understand you are not expected to win in the long term, side bets can still be great fun and, for many players at least, worth the investment for that reason (as well as the chance of a big win).

What is Match the Dealer betting?

Blackjack is traditionally a low-swing game, meaning that most rounds are 1:1 bets – you place your wager and win the same amount back as profit if you win. You can increase winnings by doubling down or splitting, but the odds are still 1:1.

The advent of blackjack side bets brings the chance of winning at far higher odds on any hand. If side bets are available, there will be information on the table. Usually, you can place your bet in the side bet space next to your main betting area.

Match the Dealer is a popular side bet. It means that either of your two starting cards needs to match the dealer’s upcard value. You get a bigger return if the suit is the same and even more if both your cards match.

You get a healthy return if even only one of your cards matches the value of the dealer – 4/1, meaning if you bet $5 on the Match the Dealer side bet, you would get $20 back.

However, the exact blackjack Match the Dealer odds will vary slightly depending on how many decks of cards are in play. Casinos might have various tables in play with anything from one deck to eight.

Blackjack Match the Dealer odds

Rules for Spanish 21 may vary slightly, but we will concentrate on the odds for blackjack Match the Dealer here.

Two decks

One unsuited match pays 4/1, while one suited match pays 19/1. You cannot get two suited matches since there are no more than two of the same cards in two decks.

Six decks

As the number of decks increases, the odds change accordingly.

  • 1 unsuited match: 4/1
  • 2 unsuited matches: 8/1
  • 1 suited match: 11/1
  • 1 suited/1 unsuited match: 15/1
  • 2 suited matches: 22/1

Eight decks

  • 1 unsuited match: 3/1
  • 2 unsuited matches: 6/1
  • 1 suited match: 14/1
  • 1 suited/1 unsuited match: 17/1
  • 2 suited matched: 28/1

Is blackjack Match the Dealer payout worth it?

If you get lucky and hit a 28/1 shot two suited cards match, then, of course, you would say it was worth it. But those long odds are there for a reason as it’s unlikely to happen.

Most professional gamblers will tell you it’s not worthwhile playing any blackjack side bets, including Match the Dealer. It’s one reason why all the most popular blackjack betting strategies ignore side bets altogether.

However, many casual gamers are willing to place these bets because their blackjack games are not just about the money; there’s also a substantial entertainment value.

Do you like making side bets when playing blackjack?

Try blackjack side bets today

If all this talk of odds, probability, and side bets sounds a little confusing, the good news is you can try blackjack for free, playing for play money at BetAmerica Casino. On the free blackjack table games, find one that accepts side bets and see which one – if any – you like playing.

Once you get used to it all, you can make your first deposit and play for real money – then you get to feel the full excitement of casino gaming. And you might get lucky and win big.