One of the basic rules of smart casino play is that side bets are generally sucker bets. There are plenty of exceptions – for instance, the Caribbean Stud Poker progressive side bet can be profitable if the jackpot gets large enough – but for the most part, the casino is only offering you side bets because they know they’re extra profitable.
Blackjack is no exception to this rule. While blackjack itself is one of the best games in the casino for smart players, the side bets that are usually attached to the game can be among the worst, featuring huge house edges and few opportunities to play them profitably.
The Super Sevens Bet
One of the most popular of these blackjack side bets is known as Super Sevens. With house edges on this game usually ranging between 11-13%, this game fits right into the category of sucker bets – at least if you play it normally. But while it might not be a wager you want to make every time you sit down at the table, there are a few situations in which this bet actually becomes profitable.
If you’re not familiar with the game, the rules of Super Sevens are fairly simple. If you want to make this bet, there’s a special spot on the table where you can place a chip (most casinos cap the maximum bet on Super Sevens at $1 or $5). The bet pays out if the first card dealt to you is a seven, with bigger prizes available if two or more sevens are dealt to you consecutively. The normal pay table is as follows:
- One Seven: 3-1
- Two Unsuited Sevens: 50-1
- Two Suited Sevens: 100-1
- Three Unsuited Sevens: 500-1
- Three Suited Sevens: 5,000-1
Remember when we said Super Sevens was a sucker bet? That’s absolutely true if you play it every hand. But a simple look at the rules should show you that this game is vulnerable to counting at some level. In fact, it’s really easy to count this game, since you only need to count sevens and non-sevens.
How Super Sevens Can Be a Winner
Here’s how you do it. Each seven that comes out of the deck counts as -12. Any other card you see hit the table is worth +1 for your count. Divide your count by the approximate number of decks left in the shoe. If your count is +5 or greater, it’s time to play the Super Sevens bet!
Okay, this isn’t going to make you rich; the count is very rarely in your favor, and even if you bet $5 each time you do have the advantage, you’re probably going to show a long-term profit of less than $1 an hour. Nonetheless, this can be a fun way for non-card counters to get the hang of basic card counting techniques – not to mention cut (ever so slightly) into the house’s edge on the main blackjack bet.