The Thrill of Blackjack: When Side Bets Steal the Show

, Comment regular icon1 comments

Discover the exhilarating world of blackjack side bets and how they add an extra layer of excitement to the classic casino game. Uncover the top side bets that will have you on the edge of your seat.

Edit Article

Blackjack, one of the world's most beloved casino games, requires more than mere luck if you want to enjoy its many nuances. If you're looking to improve your existing strategy, becoming acquainted with its side bets will give you a truly enhanced gaming experience.

Quick overview: What are blackjack side bets?

Side bets add an exhilarating dimension to traditional blackjack, offering higher odds and adding another layer of strategy. In blackjack, side bets can be placed concurrently with your main bet at the beginning of every round. The three main side bets you’ll encounter are:


• 21+3

• Perfect Pairs

• Insurance

These additional bets do not form part of the main game and are determined by factors including the initial cards dealt to you as well as what cards may be face up in front of the dealer.

Keep in mind that not all casinos offer side bets, but many of the top real money blackjack applink outside website platforms do, especially those that specialize in this game over others. Tables offering side bets are more common at real money online casinos with live dealer games than those powered by RNGs or social casinos, but that’s not to say they’re impossible to find here.

Spice up the game with popular side bets

So, what actually are side bets? We named them above, but what does this mean? Most casinos will offer the following three side bets at their blackjack tables:

1. 21+3 Side Bet

The 21+3 side bet is based on your two initial cards plus the dealer’s face-up card forming a three card poker hand. This can be either a flush, straight, three-of-a-kind (suited or not), or straight flush.

A flush occurs when any three cards of one suit—for instance, the king, 10, and 6 of diamonds—come together. The odds for such a result are usually 5/1.

Straights occur when the three cards shown have consecutive values (e.g., 2, 3, 4). The odds for this combination are generally 10/1.

Three of a kind refers to three identically ranked cards (e.g., three jacks of any suit) in one hand; these odds are usually 30/1. But, if the three cards are also the same suit (e.g., three jacks of diamonds), the odds are usually increased to 100/1—of course, it’s quite rare for this to happen.

The final hand to look out for when placing a 21+3 side bet is the straight flush. As the name suggests, this hand combines both the straight and the flush. So, it pays out when three cards of one suit and in numerical order (2, 3, and 4 of spades, for example) come together. Most casinos offer odds of 40/1 on such an occurrence.

2. Perfect Pairs Side Bet

A "perfect pair" side bet is successful when two cards are combined to form a pair. In other words, the first two cards you are dealt must have the same value, but they can be either the same or different suits. Of course, the payout varies depending on the suit.

Mixed pairs consist of one red card and one black card of equal rank; for instance, the queen of hearts and the queen of spades. The mixed pair generally pays out at odds of 5/1.

A colored pair refers to two cards that share the same color but are different suits. An example of this hand is the ten of hearts and the ten of diamonds. The odds of such a pair are 10/1 at most casinos.

Pairs consisting of the same suit and rank (for instance, two kings of hearts) have odds of 30/1 at most blackjack tables.

3. Insurance Side Bet

When the dealer shows an ace as their up card, players have the option of placing an insurance side bet to “protect” themselves in case the dealer has blackjack. This bet pays out at 2/1 and, as the name suggests, acts like an insurance policy against being outshone by the house.


Should You Place Side Bets?

Now let's dive in: are blackjack side bets worth taking on? Typically, side bets have higher house edges; however, they offer players greater odds. In the majority of casinos (online and land-based), main game play offers even money returns on all winning hands and 3 to 2 for blackjack (an ace and a card with a value of 10). Side bets offer players the chance to increase the odds significantly—up to 100/1 as we’ve seen above.

So, side bets have the power to enhance both the excitement level of a game and its complexity, providing more engaging gaming experiences for players who seek an adrenaline-rich gaming experience. Just keep in mind that the chances of hitting one are somewhat improbablelink outside website compared to being dealt a blackjack. Overall, while they can make the game more exciting, it’s best to stick to small stakes as the chances of a side bet hitting are generally pretty small.