Perfect Pairs is one of the most popular blackjack variations and it could be found online, as well as in various brick-and-mortar casinos in the United States, Europe, Macau, and Australia. Often presented as a separate game of 21, it is actually a traditional European blackjack with a side bet called Perfect Pairs.
The game was invented by John Wicks, a professional blackjack dealer who aimed at creating a version of the classic game with a little more high-stakes action. It is typically played with 6 or 8 decks but there are also versions of the game that use fewer decks of cards. In this article, you will find the basic rules of Perfect Pairs Blackjack, its expected return, and a short explanation of whether or not players should make this side bet.
Basic Rules of Perfect Pairs Blackjack
As we have mentioned above, this game follows the European blackjack rules and uses 6 or 8 standard 52-card decks. In USA casinos, as well as in some online versions, Perfect Pairs is an American-style version of the game and uses the so-called hole card. Players who are familiar with classic blackjack will have no issues when playing the game. The only difference between Perfect Pairs and the basic game of 21 is the optional side bet called Perfect Pairs.
To make it, players need to place a bet that is the table minimum or more on the specified field on the table. This bet wins if the player receives a pair – of course, the bet applies only to the two initial cards and is separate from the main play. The payout depends on the specific pair – any two cards of the same rank pay out, but if they are also of the same color, the payout is better. If the two cards are of the same rank and suit, the payout is even higher.
Payouts and RTP
Depending on the casino or the software provider that has created the particular version of Perfect Pairs, the payouts for having a pair in the initial hand can differ slightly. Typically, games with higher payouts have slightly altered rules that favor the casino. For example, most versions of the game use either 6 or 8 decks of cards rather than the typical European blackjack, which is played with only 2 decks.
As expected, the payouts for a blackjack, a 21 win or insurance are standard – 3:2, 1:1, and 2:1 respectively. The payouts for the different pairs usually come in several main variants.
- Mixed Pair – Two cards of the same value but different color (Ace of Hearts and Ace of Spades) 5:1, 6:1 or 7:1
- Colored Pair – Two cards of the same value and color (Ten of Hearts and Ten of Diamonds), 10:1, 12:1 or 15:1
- Perfect Pair – Two cards of the same value, color, and suit (Five of Clubs and Five of Clubs), 25:1 or 30:1
Return to Player
The expected return or RTP (Return to Player) rate depends on the particular paytable and the specific rules of the variation you play. This is the average return players can expect to generate on average. Without the Perfect Pairs side bet, blackjack usually offers RTP of around 99.56% – the percentage left to 100 is the house edge and most blackjack variations have a house edge of 0.40% to 0.80%.
As any other side bet in blackjack, however, the Perfect Pairs bet depends solely on chance, suggesting a much higher house edge. Indeed, getting two cards of the same value initially does not happen frequently, especially if the game uses 6 or 8 decks. It is even less likely to receive a Perfect Pair in the first hand. In fact, there is a 92.5% chance of not drawing a pair at all when playing under the most liberal rules. Depending on the specific game, players who decide to place the Perfect Pairs bet can expect an RTP between 91% and 95%.
Strategy for Perfect Pairs Blackjack
Experienced blackjack players tend to steer clear of any kind of side bets in this game, including Perfect Pairs. The reason is very simple – the house edge is extremely high and it is likely to significantly increase the losses over time. Making this bet in every single round will probably result in losing your entire bankroll in a very short time.
This is why a better strategy is to place this bet occasionally mostly for its entertainment factor – high-stakes play is, indeed, very exciting and could sometimes bring high profits. After all, the side bet is optional when playing Perfect Pairs and making it from time to time can add fun to the game.