Perfect Pairs is a variation of Vegas Strip Blackjack played with six standard 52-card decks of cards. The major difference between this and the classic game is inclusion of a special optional side bet, which pays out bonuses whenever certain pairs of cards appear as the first two cards dealt—a “pair” being defined as “two cards of the same value.” Therefore, the objective of the game is not only to win the hand, but also to anticipate correctly the appearance pairs, which is no easy task.
As a casino table game, Perfect Pairs Blackjack is played directly against a dealer. Each player position is marked with a Betting Box area where the optional Perfect Pairs Bet can be made. This bet must be placed at the same time the initial Blackjack bet is made, at the beginning of a new round of play, before the deal of the cards.
All cards except the dealer’s hole card are dealt face up. If the player has made a Perfect Pairs Bet and no pair is received, the side bet loses and is collected immediately by the dealer before Blackjack play continues. If the side-bet-wagering player does receive a pair, payouts are made according to the following schedule:
Mixed Pair – This is a pair composed of one red-suited card and one black-suited card of the same value, such as a 3 of diamonds and a 3 of clubs or a Jack of spades and a Jack of hearts. A Mixed Pair pays 5:1 odds.
Colored Pair – This a pair composed of two cards of equal value of the same color, but of different suits, such as a 5 of clubs and a five of spades or an Ace of hearts and an Ace of diamonds. A Colored Pair pays 10:1 odds.
Perfect Pair – This is an identical pair of the same value, color and suit, such as two Kings of clubs or two 4’s of hearts. A Perfect Pair pays 30:1 odds.
Some casinos vary the odds slightly for the pairs, paying slightly more for a Mixed Pair at 6:1 and a Colored Pair at 12:1, but only 25:1 for a Perfect Pair. Players need to be mindful of these differences in odds, as they do not affect the probability of pairs coming up, but they do have an impact on the chances of winning.
Because the Perfect Pair Bets are decided immediately by the first two cards dealt, whatever cards the dealer holds in his/her hand has no bearing whatsoever on the payouts. Only after the side bets are settled will the Blackjack aspect of the game be played, with the dealer standing on all 17s or higher.
In Perfect Pairs Blackjack, insurance bets may also be made, but only on the Blackjack hand. Insurance is offered whenever an Ace is showing face up in the dealer’s hand. The dealer will then peek at his/her hole card to determine whether the hand is a natural blackjack. If it is, insurance is paid to those who purchased it, and all other player bets lose, except tying blackjacks, which push, and the Perfect Pairs Bets, which will have already been paid out by this time.
Other rules follow those of Vegas Strip Blackjack. The player may double down on any two initial card and after a split, except split Aces. Re-splits up to four hands are allowed, again with the exception of Aces. And natural blackjacks pay 3-to-2. This makes the house edge about 0.62%, but the Perfect Pairs Bet itself is not part of the Blackjack equation. It gives the house an advantage of around 7.3%—not a very wise wager, although it certainly evokes smiles when it pays for a Perfect Pair.