Side bets in blackjack are additional, optional bets that you can place alongside the main ante bet. Blackjack side bets are typically completely independent from the main hand, and can win or lose regardless of the main result.
They can be regarded as a sort of “game within a game.” For instance, blackjack side bet payouts are completely different and separate from the main hand wager. They also have their own RTP rates, mechanics, and betting limits. However, it’s worth noting that the house edge of blackjack side bets is typically much higher than the main bet. That’s why players rarely consider them a good blackjack strategy.
That doesn’t mean that they’re not useful or fun, however. First of all, online gambling is all about having a good time. If placing a small stake on the side sounds exciting to you, you should go for it. Besides, blackjack side bet payouts are much higher than the 1:1 returns of the base game. That can make them quite lucrative in the short term.
Side wagering options are a common way for gamemakers to make their titles stand out and are often used as a special feature. That means that there are quite a lot of variations out there, and more are released every year. However, let’s go through the blackjack side bet rules of some of the most common variants.
Blackjack Perfect Pairs is a side bet that wins if your hole cards (the two cards you receive at the start of a round) are of the same rank. Higher payouts are offered if the cards are also of the same card or suit.
This side bet can be played at most Live Blackjack tables. It can be placed at the same time as the main bet and pays based on the initial two cards dealt to the player. There are different options when it comes to possible outcomes. Cards can be matched based on suits, colors, or rank, and each of these options awards different payouts.
If you get a mixed pair, you will win 6:1 on it. This refers to any pair of cards that have the same rank but are of a different color. A colored pair pays 12:1 whereas a so-called perfect pair consisting of two cards of the same suit and ranking earns you 25:1. The Perfect Pair bet has a house edge of 4.1%. It is offered by most Live Blackjack tables including Evolution Live Platinum VIP Blackjack and Playtech Ultimate Blackjack.
The 21+3 side bet in blackjack uses the player hole cards and the dealer’s upcard to make poker hands. If you get any hand stronger than a pair, you win a payout based on the relative strength of your poker hand.
Again, this wager is found at almost any modern live dealer blackjack side bet. Winning combinations can include three-of-a-kind, flush, straight or straight flush. However, the biggest win is paid when you have a so-called suited trips, which means that you have created a hand consisting of three suited cards of a kind (for instance, three Aces of hearts). Suited trips in 21+3 win 100:1, which is why this side bet is so popular.
The smallest prize is awarded when you receive a flush, which means three cards of the same suit, and it is worth 5:1. A straight hand containing three cards in numerical sequence but of a different suit earns you 10:1. A three-of-a-kind hand consisting of three cards of the same value and different suits pays 30:1, while a straight flush wins you 40:1.
The house edge depends on the number of decks in play and payouts, which may vary. As per these payouts, 21+3 side bet house edge is 3.18-3.60%.
However, there is another common way 21+3 side bet payouts may work. Some games simply pay 9:1 regardless of the combination, such as in LuckyStreak Live Blackjack. In this case, the house edge is 2.74-3.24%.
The 21+3 side bet can be played at Ezugi Live Blackjack Bet Behind and Pragmatic Play Live Blackjack tables, among many others.
Less Common Live Blackjack Side Bets
Now that we have presented the two most common side bets to you let’s take a closer look at those that are not regular at live tables.
Hot 3 & Bust It
With their Live Infinite Blackjack, Evolution Gaming has introduced a few novelties including a few new side bets. The Hot 3 side bet pays out on different card combinations worth 19, 20 and 21. It is based on the player’s first two cards and the dealer’s upcard. A total of 19 pays 1:1, 20 earns you 2:1 while 21 pays depending on the cards included. An unsuited 21 pays 4:1, a suited 21 wins 20:1 while three 7s grant 100:1.
As for Bust It, this side bet pays when the dealer busts. It pays based on how many cards the dealer busts with, so busting with 3 or more cards in their hand pays from 1:1 up to 250:1. The Hot 3 side bet has a 5.4% house edge while the Bust It bet comes with a house margin of 6.18%.
Honey Bonus & Lucky 7s
We have another pair of optional bets you can play in Live Blackjack by Betconstruct.
Honey Bonus resembles the 21+3 side bet as it pays when the player’s first two cards and the dealer’s face-up card create a 3-card Poker hand. Besides, it earns you a prize when the first two player’s cards form a Blackjack of the same suit. A flush pays 5:1, a straight pays 10:1 while a 3 of a kind grant 20:1. As for a suited Blackjack, it pays 3:1. The house edge for Honey Bonus sits at 13.51%.
When you play the Lucky 7 bet, your first card must be a 7 to get paid. In this case, the side bet pays 3:1. If the first 7 is followed by another 7 of a different or the same suit, you get paid 25:1 or 50:1 respectively. Getting three unsuited 7s, based on your two initial cards and the dealer’s upcard, grants a payout of 100:1 while three suited 7s earn you the top prize of 500:1. Be cautious with the Lucky 7s side bet as it has an abysmal house edge of 49.88%.
So what is Rummy in Blackjack?
The rummy side bet in blackjack rewards players for making certain card combinations using their initial hand and the dealer’s upcard. Sounds familiar? That’s because the Rummy bet blackjack is pretty much identical to 21+3. In most cases, the naming difference means that the blackjack rummy bet pays 9:1 regardless of your hand. However, some tables still call that 21+3, so this is by no means a rule.
The rummy blackjack bet is available in Live HD Blackjack table powered by Visionary iGaming. It’s available on many other tables as well, but it’s rarely called rummy.
You need either three cards of the same rank, three cards of the same suit or a three-card straight regardless of the suit to win on this bet. In all cases, you will win the same payout standing at 9:1.