Royal Match is a blackjack side bet that is commonly offered in casinos. It’s a rather simple side bet, but one I advise avoiding. Like all side bets, it carries a higher house advantage than the regular game.
Royal match is a side bet that concerns the first two cards of a player’s hand. They place their bets before drawing their first card and then win or lose money based on the first two cards they receive. This bet is independent of the hand because it takes place before the hand is paid out.
The player wins money if the first two cards match in suit. A regular match, such as a king of spades and a six of spades, pays out 5:2. A “royal match” is drawing two royal cards (king or queen) that have the same suit. If you draw a royal match, the casino pays out 25:1. Both of those may sounds good because of the good payouts, but the odds are still against you.
The odds for this blackjack side bet vary depending on the number of decks in play. Your odds increase with each deck, because that gives you more potential matches. If the game is played with 6 decks, as is the norm, the casino has a 6.46% house edge with the royal match side bet. With a single-deck game, this side bet has a house edge of 10.86%. Keeping in mind that blackjack basic strategy reduces the house edge of the regular game to 0.5%, those are very bad odds.
If you decide to play one of these side bets, it should be with the same state of mind as playing a progressive slot machine. In all likelihood, you will lose your money on the bet. On the slim chance that you win, though, there will be good money.