The game of Blackjack becomes more interesting thanks to the exciting and thrilling option of Blackjack side bets or simply called, side bets.
Side bets are mostly side games of luck and chance. They are occasions for adventurous players to gain extra wagers. High rollers and big spenders enjoy side bets as they procure an enriched experience.
Side bets have almost always been part of Blackjack's history. They used to be casual bets between players at the same table. Today, they are full-on revenue drivers for casino operators.
What Are Blackjack Side Bets?
Side bets are optional additional bets that players can wager on during the beginning of a round in the game of Blackjack. On a blackjack table, the side bet's wager is placed on the area next to the box for the main bet.
A side bet is a game of luck rather than skills. A side bet comprises of guessing one or multiple cards that a player or the dealer will receive in this round. A player may use the advanced strategy of card counting during side bet as it can improve the player's edge and is advantageous.
In simple words, side bets are an optional gamble that one chooses along with the regular bet.
Blackjack Side Bet Payouts
Here are the typical payouts for the common side bets found in both online and land-based Blackjack.
|Side Bet||Typical Payout|
|Perfect Pair (Mixed)||5:1|
|Perfect Pair (Coloured)||10:1|
|Perfect Pair (Perfect)||30:1|
|21+3 (Three of a Kind)||30:1|
|21+3 (Straight Flush)||40:1|
|21+3 (Suited Trips)||100:1|
|Royal Match (Easy)||5:2 to 5:1|
|Royal Match (Royal)||10-to-25:1|
|Super Sevens (Single)||3:1|
|Super Sevens (Pair)||50:1|
|Super Sevens (Set)||500:1|
|Super Sevens (Suited Set)||5000:1|
|Lucky Ladies ('s w/ Dealer BJ)||1000:1|
|Lucky Ladies ('s)||200:1|
|Lucky Ladies (Matching)||25:1|
|Lucky Ladies (Suited)||20:1|
|Lucky Ladies (Any)||4:1|
Considering they are a game of luck, there is no blackjack side bet strategy to employ to increase the odds of winning - besides card counting!
Why Should I Play Side Bets in Blackjack?
With blackjack side bets, the house edge is much higher than that of the regular game itself. Side bets are high risk, high reward.
So, are these worth it?
In blackjack, side bets require smaller wagers than the standard bets, but the reward is better than that of the standard ones. Blackjack side bets are appealing because of the relatively large payouts you can win for a smaller bet. However, the odds of winning these side bets are quite low, so don't get your hopes high.
Such gamblers are suitable for you if you love taking risks or seek a fast-paced, thrilling game. It must be, however, kept in mind that players should not mindlessly and naively place side bets just for the sake of higher pay-offs. Any blackjack player should think logistically before trying their luck.
Where to Play Side Bets?
Traditionally, blackjack side bets have been mostly played in land-based casinos and offline gambling rooms. However, these days, online casino sites offer as many if not more side bets at their blackjack tables with and without live dealers.
Offering players the comfort of betting from their home or local area is convenient but also dangerous. Remember that side bets are in clear favor of the operators. But, if you are particularly excited at placing some side bets while playing online blackjack, online casinos have abundant options!
For every blackjack table, the rules of the variant played are posted near the table, including the side bets available. So, it will be easy to look for a table that offers side bets. In the online version of Blackjack, the common side bets and their odds are available as handouts or side menu in the game.
There are a variety of forms of side bets. The most common forms of side bets offered in the blackjack game, both online and land-based, are 21+3, Perfect Pairs, and Insurance.
Back Betting and Bet Behind
Most casinos allow you to gamble on other players' hands, even if you are not a part of the main bet at the table. In land-based casinos, this is known as back betting, and in live casinos, this strategy is known as bet behind.
If you get bored at a blackjack table or want to get more fun from the ongoing game, some casinos allow you to place side bets on other players. But, one important point here is that you will have no say in other players' gameplan.
Types of Blackjack Side Bets
Side bets come in various types but a few very popular side bets include insurance, 21+3, and perfect pairs. Most casinos and online gambling sites offer these types of side bets. A player can stick to a single type or play a few in the same game.
Here are the different types of side bets that enrich your experience.
After the two cards are dealt, and the dealer's face-up card is an ace, the player has a choice to make this wager. This is a bet on the possibility that the dealer's hand is a blackjack (1-to-3 odds). If the dealer's hole card has a value of 10, the player receives a payout of 2:1. In other words, the player breaks even on the hand.
The maximum bet allowed is half of the player's main bet. An insurance bet has to be made before the dealer checks the hole card. This is bet is a risky and losing bet in the long term as the chance that the hole card is of value 10 (card 10 or face cards) is only 1 out of 3.
Unless you are an expert card counter, it is advised to avoid insurance side bets in Blackjack.
Perfect Pairs are the type of side bets that involve players' cards only. This side bet is won when the player's first two dealt cards are a pair. Two cards are considered to be a pair when they both hold the same numerical value or the same face value for face cards (e.g., , , ).
There are three different kinds of perfect pairs in Blackjack:
This wager is placed on the possibility of the player having both the cards of the same value, but different suit and color. For example, one red ace and one black ace (e.g.,). The odds of winning this bet are 5:1.
This bet is placed on the possibility of the player having both cards of the same value and the same color, but a different suit (e.g.,). The odds of winning this bet are 12:1.
This side bet is placed upon the possibility of the player having the perfect pair of cards in a multi-deck blackjack game. A perfect pair, in Blackjack, is both cards have the same value and same suit (e.g.,). The odds of winning this bet are 30:1.
True perfect pairs can only be found in games of blackjack using multiple decks of cards. Otherwise, it would be impossible to have two cards of the same rank and the same suit.
The 21+3 side bet is the most common side bet in blackjack. It is offered in most land-based and online casinos. This side bet is adapted from poker and involves both the player's and the dealer's cards.
There are four major types of 21+3 side bets in Blackjack. The payout for each winning hand was 9:1, resulting in a house edge of 3.24%. The wager results in a win if the player's two cards and the dealers' face-up cards make any of these combinations.
This bet is placed on the possibility of all the three cards being of the same suit. The odds of winning this bet are 5:1. For example, three spade cards (i.e.,).
In this bet, the player wins if the three cards are of consecutive ranks. The odds of winning this bet are 10:1. For example, two, three, and four of different suits (i.e.,).
This wager is placed on the possibility that all three cards are of the same suit and have consecutive values. The odds of winning this bet are 40:1. For example, four, five, and six of hearts (i.e.,).
Three of a Kind
In this wager, the player wins if the three cards are of the same numerical value (meaning tens and figures are considered the same). The odds of winning this bet are 30:1. For example, two kings and a ten (i.e.,).
A suited three-of-a-kind is a side bet in which the cards are of the same numerical denomination and are of the same suit. The payout for this bet is 100:1. For example, three ten-ranked cards of spades (i.e.,).
A player can bet that the sum of their initial two cards would be either over 13 or under 13. If the sum of the cards is exactly 13, the player loses. In this bet, the value of the ace is counted as 1. The house edge for over 13 is 6.5%, and the house edge for under 13 is 10%.
Super Sevens is a side bet that counts the number of "Seven" cards a player hits. This bet is placed based on the player's first three cards.
If the first card is seven, the player wins. The player is given a payout at 3:1.
Suppose the second card is also seven, the winning increases. If the two sevens are unsuited, the payout is at 50:1 whilst if the pair of sevens is suited the player is given a payout of 100:1.
If the first three cards are unsuited sevens, then the payout is at 500:1, and if they are suited, the player is given a payout of 5000:1.
In some casinos, when the dealer has a blackjack, and the player has two sevens, a third card won't be dealt for the player. This raises the house edge to 12.6%. However, if the player is allowed to hit a third card, it drops the house edge to 11.4%.
The Lucky Ladies side bet is made on the possibility that the player's initial hand totals 20. The house edge is 17%.
There are five possible winning outcomes for a Lucky Ladies side bet in Blackjack:
- Lucky Ladies - A pair of Queen of hearts totaling 20 (i.e., ). The payout is 200:1. There is a bonus payout of 1000:1 if the dealer has a blackjack. This side bet is used only in multi-deck games.
- Matching 20 - This wager is placed on the possibility that the player's initial cards are of the same rank and suit, totaling 20 (e.g., ), it has a payout of 25:1. This side bet is used in multi-deck blackjack games and is not possible in single-deck games.
- Paired 20 - The two initial cards are of the same rank and total 20 (e.g., ). This side bet is mostly used only in single-deck games.
- Suited 20 - The player's initial card can be of any value of the same suit, totaling 20 (e.g., ). This side bet is used both in single deck and multi deck blackjack games. The side bet has a payout of 10:1.
- Any 20 or Unsuited 20 - The two cards can be of any combination of numbers from any suit, totaling 20 (e.g., ). This side bet is used both in single-deck and multi-deck games. This side bet pays 4:1.
This bet allows players to double their bet in exchange for an extra card, but the player has to stand after receiving the card. This is a risky gamble as one cannot hit again if the person receives a low-value card.
There are three times for which this bet is worthy of its inherent risk:
- When the cards total 11 - As it gives the player a fantastic chance to hit 21 or a number close to it.
- Soft 16,17 or 18 - If the player has an ace and a value card of 5, 6, or 7, and the dealer has a low standard card, it is the best time to double down as it is less likely for the player to end with a high hand.
- A hard 9 or 10 - If the player's cards total 9 or 10, and the dealer has a low standard card, there is a high winning chance if you get a high standard card.
In Blackjack, doubling down is generally considered an expert move so you should probably give it a pass until you are consistently winning at the standard game.
The Royal Match side bet is offered in both single-deck and multi-deck blackjack games. There are two options to win this bet:
- Easy Match - If the player's initial hand is suited, i.e. the first two dealt cards are of the same suit, the player gets a payout of 5:2. Moreover, for a suited blackjack, the payout is 5:1. In the single-deck version, the payout is 3:1.
- Royal Match - If the player's initial hand is King and Queen of the same suit (suited K-Q), the player gets a payout of 25:1. In the single-deck version, the payout is 10:1.
Blackjack Side Bets - FAQ
We have gather the most asked-around questions about side bets in blackjack and answered them concisely below.
Are Blackjack side bets worth it?
Side bets have higher house edges than the main bet itself, so they are more profitable to the casinos. Players can easily lose more money than they can gain with Blackjack side bets.
Additionally, side bets are games of luck, not talent. Therefore, they come with risk factors as there is no guarantee of winning. If you like taking risks and the thought of an adrenaline-rush game excites you, then side bets are a great choice. But if you are more of a systematic blackjack player who likes to rely on skills and odds rather than luck, then side bets are not a safe option for you.
What is the most profitable type of side bets in Blackjack?
Different side bets have different payouts. Out of all the side bets, 21+3 and perfect pairs are the most popular and offer the highest payouts.
Both 21+3 and perfect pairs have different combinations of cards among themselves. The Perfect Pairs side bet offers a payout of 30:1 while the Three of a Kind pays out as high as 40:1.
Is a surrender a type of side bet in Blackjack?
Surrender is not a side bet; rather, it is an option offered to players in the main wager. A player surrenders after the initial deal and decides the chance of winning is low. When you surrender, you will keep half of your original bet, thereby saving yourself from the risk of losing all your bet.
How much do Blackjack side bets payout?
In Blackjack, side bets' payouts are not fixed. It depends upon the type of side bet you wager. A perfect pair side bet has a payout of 30:1, while the payout of a royal match side bet is 25:1. All side bets have more than an even payout and cost the player only a dollar wager.
What is a perfect pair in the game of Twenty-One?
A perfect pair is a form of side bet offered in the game. In this optional bet, the player bets on the possibility of being dealt two cards as a pair. Two cards are said to be a pair if they have the same value.
In the bet, if the player's initial hands are of mixed pair (same value, different suit, and color), colored pair (same value and color, but different suit), or perfect pair (same card value, color, and suit), the player wins the wager and if not, gets busted.
What does insurance do in Blackjack?
The players have the option of making an insurance bet when the dealer has an ace. The bet is won when the dealer has a natural blackjack. The bet gets busted if it turns out to be any other combination.
The probability of the dealer's hand being Blackjack if the face-up card is ace is only 1/3. Insurance bet has a high house edge, making it one of the riskiest and worst side bets for a player.
Side bets are fun and adventurous; it adds a bit of excitement to the otherwise repetitive and slow-paced game. It offers the potential of a bigger payout.
But it is still a draw of luck. One should not get stuck up in this gamble of luck and brush aside the main game. Wrong side bets can lose you more money. Professional blackjack players prefer to stay away from the side bets and believe in their skills.
Enjoy it as an enriching experience that adds complexity to the game. In the end, you have to play logically.