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Poker news | Jul 31, 2023

Fun Poker Side Bets

By RTR Alex

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Poker side bets provide an opportunity to have some extra fun at the casino, even if you're not playing a hand. You can place side bets alongside the game, or even if you're struggling to find a seat at the tables, you can still get involved in the action...

What is a poker side bet?

In poker, side bets refer to wagers or bets made between players in addition to the main pot formed by the standard betting during a hand. These side bets are separate from the main betting and are usually related to part of the game,

Side bets can add an extra layer of excitement to the game and provide opportunities for people to win or lose additional money, whether they are playing at the table or not.

So, what kind of side bets could you place?

Prop Bets

Proposition bets, or "prop bets" for short, are the classic side bets that let players showcase their psychic abilities at the poker table. During a hand, players can wager on specific events or outcomes that may or may not happen.

For example, predicting whether the flop will contain three cards of the same suit, whether a player will hit a straight on the turn, or even betting on the exact final card of the river can create some electrifying moments at the table.

Prop bets can also go much further than that. Over the years we have witnessed plenty of crazy side bets in the poker world, from weight loss bets to WSOP win wagers.

High Hand/Low Hand

For players who enjoy the thrill of extremes, the high hand/low hand side bet is a simple but ideal choice.

In games like Omaha, where players receive four hole cards, the side bet can involve predicting the highest and lowest possible hands at the end of a round. As players aim to form either the best possible hand or the lowest possible hand, things become a lot more interesting than your standard game of poker.

Run It Twice

In cash games, the "run it twice" side bet can help players reduce the impact of plain luck.

This usually happens when players are all-in - they agree to deal the remaining community cards twice, dividing the pot between the results of each deal. It adds a fun twist to the game, as players negotiate whether or not to run it twice and how many times to do so, adding in both the strategic and social aspects of poker.

Bad Beat Jackpot

One of the most popular side bets in poker rooms worldwide is the Bad Beat Jackpot.

This side bet offers consolation to players who experience a crushing defeat despite having a strong hand. If you put a 'Bad Beat Jackpot' in place, then when a player loses with a hand of a certain rank or better against an even stronger hand, the Bad Beat Jackpot is triggered, and all players who participated in the side bet share a portion of the jackpot, with the loser of the hand receiving the largest share. It's a fantastic way to turn a bad beat into a memorable payday. This is yet another way to reduce the impact of pure luck on the game.

Colour Up

For cash game players, "colour up" side bets are a unique way to add fun to the process of swapping lower denomination chips for higher ones.

When players 'colour up' their chips, they may bet on who will receive any remaining chips that can't be converted to higher denominations. It's a light-hearted way to make chip consolidation more engaging and potentially profitable.

Famous Poker Side Bets

The pros are no strangers to a side bet or two either! In fact, they are fairly popular, even among the highest ranks in world poker...

Vanessa Selbst & Jason Mercier

Vanessa Selbst, renowned pro poker player, was the talk of the town after making a supposedly drunken side bet with Jason Mercier back in 2016.

The story from Selbst goes: She got drunk with rising polish star Dzmitry Urbanovich at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure and ended up providing 180:1 odds on a $10,000 wager for Mercier to win three bracelets at the WSOP. The next morning, she was reminded of the bet and immediately offered $1,000 dollars to Mercier to buy out of the bet, but he declined.

Mercier bet the $10,000 at 180:1 odds, standing to win $1.8 million if he managed to bring home 3 bracelets.

Over the next seven days, Mercier landed first place, second place and then first again, and with two bracelets to his name, he headed into the $10K Razz Championship. Towards the end of the Razz, he had a 2:1 chip advantage heads-up against Ray Dehkharghani. But the pressure got the best of him and Dehkharghani denied him his third bracelet of the series. Mercier may not have won the big side bet but he walked with roughly $900,000 in prize money and many other side bet wins.

"It was really clear the stress really set in and affected him. It wasn’t a matter of my capitalising on that, but I do believe the weight of [the side bets] affected him negatively in the match. It was palpable. - Dehkharghani

Shaun Deeb & Bill Perkins

Now this side bet isn't exactly poker related, but it did hit headlines across the world.

Shaun Deeb, the 2018 WSOP Player of the Year and five-time gold bracelet winner, has booked a body fat percentage prop bet against the king of weight loss bets, Bill Perkins.

The deal, which was agreed to over Twitter in March 2023, has Deeb putting up $100,000 to Perkins $1 million with a goal of getting Deeb down to 17% body fat in 14 months.

It all began when a video surfaced, capturing poker pro Shaun Deeb casually munching on chicken strips during the intense $1,700 Main Event of the WSOP Circuit in New York. The footage was shared by his close friend and fellow poker pro, Josh Arieh, sparking a conversation that would bring about significant changes for Deeb.

As fate would have it, Deeb emerged victorious in the tournament, claiming the impressive first-place prize of $275,916. However, the attention drawn to his on-table snacking prompted discussions about his overall fitness and health. The video became a catalyst for contemplating whether Deeb should seriously consider getting into shape.

The combination of triumph at the poker table and the newfound dialogue surrounding his well-being set the stage for a potential transformation in Deeb's approach to his personal fitness.

So there you have it, some of the best side bets you can place, along with some inspiration from the pros for some of the more whacky options!

Will you stick to playing your hand? Or will you risk the pot on guessing the river card on the next deal?