Three Really Bad Side Bets

Three Really Bad Side Bets

March 15, 2011.

More and more, casinos are developing new wagers on common table games. Side bets, as they are often called, give players a new spin on their favorite games. Unfortunately, the casinos usually make these bets exceptionally bad. While some are not too bad, there are a few that no one should ever touch. Let's take a look at three really bad side bets.

#3: The Texas Hold 'Em Bonus bonus

Texas Hold 'Em Bonus is one of the most commonly found table games available online. The game is a simple poker variant that pits the player against the dealer. Texas Hold 'Em Bonus poker, unlike other kinds of casino poker, doesn't offer any kind of bonuses for high-ranking hands. Three Card Poker, for instance, typically gives the player a 5:1 bonus for getting a straight flush. The only reward you get in Texas Hold 'Em Bonus is getting paid for your ante wager in addition to your raises.

That is, of course, unless you take part in the bonus wager. It attracts gamblers because they want a shot at a big win while having all the control that Texas Hold 'Em Bonus offers. Unfortunately, the wager is an incredibly miserable one, especially when compared to the low house edge of 2.04% that the main game has. Here are the details of the bonus wager:

  • A pair of aces pays 30:1
  • Ace/King suited pays 25:1
  • Ace/Queen or Ace/Jack suited pays 20:1
  • Unsuited Ace/King pays 15:1
  • A pair of face cards pays 10:1
  • Unsuited Ace/Queen or Ace/Jack pays 7:1
  • Any other pair pays 3:1

The resulting house edge? A mediocre 8.90%. Players who want the ability to win big on a single hand of casino poker ought to check out other variants, like Caribbean Stud or Three Card Poker, instead of making this bonus wager on Texas Hold 'Em Bonus. Your wallet will thank you.

#2: The tie bet in baccarat

As far as classic casino games, baccarat is one of the most recognizable. Commonly known for being played in roped-off rooms in land-based casinos, baccarat is now available to players all over the world through online casinos. The online variant is mini-baccarat, where the dealer, instead of another player, deals the cards. In baccarat, players bet on which of two hands will have a higher score: the Player hand or the Banker hand. Both of these bets have remarkably low house edges of 1.24% and 1.06%, respectively.

However, casinos make a great profit on the third bet: the tie. The tie bet is a side wager that pays 8:1 if both the Player and Banker hands are the same. Gamblers need to keep in mind that if this happens, a Player or Banker bet will push. The tie bet is not needed as any kind of insurance. Rather, it's just a side bet with a big appetite for gamblers' bankrolls. Its house edge of over 14% should be off-putting for any player. Baccarat was always intended to be a slow-paced, elegant game, so don't let the tie bet ruin your fun.

#1: The high streak bet in blackjack

The worst of these three really bad side bets goes to high streak in blackjack. This variant is only available in Microgaming online casinos, but has been spotted at various land-based ones, as well. The premise is simple: players make the bonus high streak bet, and if they win, it is moved to a circle labeled “Second Streak: 1:1”. If the player wins again, he wins 1:1 on the wager, and it is then moved to “Third Streak: 2:1”. The process is repeated for fourth and fifth consecutive wins, and then the bet is taken off the table and returned to the player.

Casinos profit off of this wager by making it appealing to players who feel that they're lucky. Let's face it, though: if we weren't feeling lucky, we wouldn't gamble. There's no such thing as a “hot” table, and the house edge will always come through in the long run. If the odds weren't so terrible, this bet could be fun. However, at its current paytable, it's a horrible bet, especially when compared to blackjack.

  • The second streak pays 1:1
  • The third streak pays 2:1
  • The fourth streak pays 5:1
  • The fifth streak pays 10:1

The resulting house edge for this bet is a dismal 16.74%. Ouch! Be sure to enjoy the low house edge of normal blackjack without getting caught up in the high streak fever.