The introduction of side bets in blackjack has been one of the ways of ensuring players win more money than the standard blackjack payouts give them, which are not big money payouts. There are a considerable number of side bets in blackjack, all offering different payout opportunities to players. One of the biggest when it comes to the money a player can possibly earn is the Mega Match side bet.
The Mega Match side bet in blackjack is seen usually in games from Pala Interactive, one of the many providers of casino software to online casinos. The term Mega Match stands for a hand that has a suited Queen and King. The player gets paid for different card combinations in his original hand with this side bet. The maximum payout, if the player can hit the combination generating it, is one that makes the side bet worth trying out.
- The Mega Match Side Bet in Blackjack
- Cards 2 to 10 are valued at face.
- The Jack, Queen, and King each have a value of 10 points.
- The Ace has 2 values – 1 and 11; the player’s hand dictates what value comes into play.
The rules of the blackjack game remain the same, but there are a few things to watch out for when it comes to the Mega Match side bet.
- The Mega Match side bet is applicable to one or more hands.
- The side bet applies only to the first 2 cards of a player’s hands.
- The player wins the Mega Match side bet if his original hand is one of the following:
- 2 consecutive-value cards of the same suit; the payout for such a hand is 2 to 1.
- A Mega Match hand; i.e. a hand with a Queen and King from the same suit. The payout for such a hand is 50 to 1.
- A Mega Match hand that is matched by a Mega Match hand for the dealer. The payout for such a hand is a staggering 5000 to 1.
The Mega Match side bet works only along with the regular blackjack wager; a player cannot place only the Mega Match side bet. The following steps list out the way the Mega Match side bet works in blackjack.
- The player places the regular blackjack wager by putting his chips on the designated slot on the table.
- For single-hand play, the player places his chips on the slot for the hand he wants to play.
- For multi-hand play, the player places his chips on the slots for the different hands he wants to play.
- Next, he places the Mega Match side bet.
- He places the chips for this bet on the designated slots for the number of hands he wants this side bet to apply to.
- Once the bets are placed the deal is completed.
- The player gets 2 cards face up.
- The dealer gets 2 cards, the first face up and the second – the hole card – face down.
- After the deal is over the player completes his hand by choosing from the options below:
- Hit: Pick an additional card and continue picking to get to 21 or as close as possible without going bust.
- Stand: Decide not to pick a card and stay with the original hand. This is a good option in the following scenarios:
- A strong hand total close to 21
- A hand total with a high probability of going bust by picking an additional card; e.g. a hand of 17.
- Double down: Double the initial wager and pick an additional card. After picking the extra card the player stands. The player needs to place an additional wager for this option.
- Split: Bifurcate a hand containing 2 cards of identical value – e.g. a hand of two 9s – and play each hand separately. There are additional bets to be placed for the new hands. Some games allow re-splitting, again with additional wagers.
- In case the dealer’s first card is an Ace you get the Insurance bet at some casinos.
- This bet requires an additional wager from the player.
- It guarantees half the main wager back if the dealer has a blackjack.
- After the player’s hand is done, the dealer works his hand up to a maximum by hitting or standing.
- The one with the higher hand value wins.
- At this point the wins are paid out, including wins for the Mega Match side bet, if any.
The house edge usually goes high when a player opts to use a side bet. How high or low it goes depends on the number decks being used in the game. Unlike in, say, the Safe Bet side bet where the house edge increases with an increasing in the number of decks, in the Mega Match side bet it actually comes down. The more the number of decks the lower the house edge.
One thing to know – the house edge is still very much on the higher side compared to that of a standard blackjack game. The following table shows the house edge for the Mega Match side bet for the different number of decks.
|Number of Decks||House Edge|
In this section we analyze the payouts, hand combinations, and possibilities for the Mega Match side bet in blackjack. The table lists these out for the Mega Match side bet in a blackjack game using 8 decks.
|Game Result||Payout||Possible Combinations||Probability||Returns|
|Dealer Match||5000 to 1||61,696||0.000008||0.041802|
|Mega Match||50 to 1||21,824,000||0.002957||0.147867|
|Suited Hand||2 to 1||1,809,673,488||0.245227||0.490454|
In a side bet, strategy may not really make much of an impact. This is because the side bet has limited options of winning. On the flip side, the payout is higher than the regular blackjack hand usually so it may just be what the doctor ordered for someone looking to win a little big. This is especially true of the Mega Match side bet, given the huge payout if the player manages to get a Dealer Match.
The house edge being considerably higher than what you see in regular blackjack is one reason that players need to give using this side bet a thought. Having said that, the reduction in house edge with more number of decks – 7.17% for an 8-deck game compared to 9.11% for a 2-deck game – makes this a game that a player can play with 8 decks.