Editor’s Note: T.J. turned me on to this game a year ago – he mentioned that he “pushed” 8 times on one shoe, playing a $50 hand and $25 on the “Push” – for a total win of $2,000 on just the “Push” bet. I have been playing this bet ever since, and it has helped me keep a stack of chips to keep playing, when otherwise I would have been down to the felt. During the past year players have asked me why I play this “side bet” and I have told them, it is the only one I ever play on recommendation from my blackjack writer. I have been asked to re-run this article and include the betting chart – So, here it is.
Some Casinos now offer a side bet called “Push Your Luck” – In the Phoenix area Wild Horse Pass Hotel & Casino and Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino Resort offer this game in the blackjack pit.
Most side bets are bad bets, however the cost of playing this one is relatively low, and it does pay 10 to 1.
When calculating the odds, I was surprised to find that the house edge on this bet is small compared to that of other side bets. If you play the max on your side bet which is equal to 1/2 of your main bet the house edge goes from .51% to around .76% for a six deck game. That’s a cost of .025% – however, you are getting 10 to 1 odds.
I took this a little further. If you were dead set on playing this side bet, you actually would discard basic strategy and use a different strategy. You would end up hitting most of your hands under 17 regardless of what the dealer was showing. I am sure you would really make the other players lose their minds when you’re hitting 14 against a dealer up card of a six, but that would be the correct play.
So you might want to wait until you are alone with the dealer or at least ask the other players if they mind if you play a bit crazy. In any event I’ve included the correct strategy for “Push Your Luck” for a six deck game. If you are serious about playing this game – cut out the Strategy chart and keep it in your wallet.
T.J. Jorgensen has been a professional Blackjack player for over 20 years. He is well known for his live tournament play and has competed against, and beaten, some of the top tournament players in the world. He has also won the prestigious World Series of Blackjack. His book, “Beating the Casino at Their Own Game,” is available through his web site www.freewebs.com/tjsblackjackcorner or by e-mail TJ4justice1@msn.com