Side bets in blackjack are some of the most popular in-game wagers of all casino games, adding that dose of excitement to your game with the shot at a large payout. This page will guide you through some of the most commonly played blackjack side wagers across land based casinos and within the online realm of gambling.
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What are blackjack side bets?
In any casino game, side wagers are bets which don’t affect the final outcome, but instead add another dimension to the gameplay by utilising already established results during the game.
In blackjack, the aim will always remain the same, regardless if there are side bet options available to play or not – achieve a hand which totals nearer to 21 than the banker’s hand, but without exceeding 21 points.
Any side bet will be an optional wager, placed separately to your primary blackjack wagers, with a lucrative payout attached to it, because it is typically at long odds.
Below is a list of favourited side bets and how they work in tandem with the traditional blackjack game:
One of, if not the, most commonly played blackjack side bet, Perfect Pairs is straight forward but thoroughly enjoyable. Based on the first two cards you receive for your hand, if these cards are of the same value (identical number or face card), then you are awarded a payout. Payouts are split into three different categories:
- A mixed pair: two cards which differ in suit and colour but are of the same rank
- A coloured pair: two cards which differ only in suit
- A perfect pair: two identical cards
Depending on the casino, payouts will vary. A commonly used payout chart for Perfect Pairs is 6 to 1 for a mixed pair, 12 to 1 for a coloured pair and 25 to 1 for a perfect pair.
One of Crown Casino’s local specialties, Blackpot began as a trial side wager and became hugely popular almost overnight, and was promptly introduced to more than 60 blackjack tables in Melbourne’s Crown Casino. Also based on the player’s initial two cards, to win you must be dealt one of the three following combinations (any suits):
- A 6 and a 7
- A 6 and an 8
- A 7 and an 8
If you successfully draw one of the above combinations, you are paid out at 10 to 1 of the initial side-bet amount. The player can then choose to hit and let the Blackpot wager ride, or take no more cards and end the side bet. It is always recommended to hit if you have already been dealt a winning combo. If the third card completes the combination to make up a total of 21 (so you are showing a 6, 7 and 8), the player is paid out 100 to 1 of the initial side-bet amount.
If this occurs, the Blackpot bet continues over to your next blackjack hand (you don’t need to place another side wager), and you stand a chance to win more. Hit the initial two card combo again and you are paid out 1000 to 1, and complete the three card combo with the next hit and you are paid out 20,000 to 1.
Another ‘initial two cards’ side wager, Lucky Ladies is found all through Las Vegas casinos, as well within the online gambling industry. Place the bet, and if your two initial cards total 20, you win. The different payouts are based on how you net your 20 total:
- Two non-suited cards
- Two matching cards of the same suit and rank
- A pair of Queens of Hearts
- A pair of Queens of Hearts with a dealer blackjack (payout of 1000:1)
Payouts will vary according to how many decks are being used in the blackjack game.
Match the Dealer
Place this side bet, and if either one of the player’s first two cards dealt, or both of them, match the dealer’s up-card, then a bonus payout will be awarded. The different matching possibilities include:
- One non-suited matching card
- One suited matching card
- Two non-suited matching cards
- One non-suited match and one suited match
- Two suited matching cards
Again, payouts will differ depending on how many decks are being used, while two suited matching cards always offers the highest return (ranges from an 18:1 to a 28:1 payout).
21 + 3
A nice and easy side bet, 21 + 3 is based on the dealer’s up-card and the player’s initial two cards. If the side wager is placed, and those three cards form either a mini flush, mini straight, mini straight flush or a three of a kind, the player will earn a bonus payout which is typically 9:1 for all outcomes.
Super 7s is a relatively simple side bet, and pays out if the player is dealt any 7, with the chance for ultimate glory if he or she draws three sevens for a total of 21. The combinations are as follows, and again, payouts differ from game to game:
- 7, 7
- 7, 7 on suit
- 7, 7, 7
- 7, 7, 7 on suit
A common payout structure is 3 to 1, 50 to 1, 100 to 1, 500 to 1 and 1000 to 1.
The Lucky Lucky side wager is a favourite among many Las Vegas casino goers, and has found its way to many online gambling websites, too. Based on the player’s initial two cards along with the dealer’s up-card, there are many different combinations which will return a bonus payout if the side wager is played. Here are those combos:
- Suited 7-7-7 (200 to 1)
- Suited 6-7-8 (100 to 1)
- Unsuited 7-7-7 (50 to 1)
- Unsuited 6-7-8 (30 to 1)
- Suited 21 total (15 to 1)
- Unsuited 21 total (3 to 1)
- Any total of 20 (2 to 1)
- Any total of 19 (2 to 1)
A common payout structure found in many casinos has been written in parenthesis next to the combinations. Lucky Lucky holds one of the lower house edges of all blackjack side wager, at around 2.65 per cent (dependent on how many decks are used).
Hi Lo 13
Chiefly an online blackjack side wager, Hi Lo 13 is a side bet that allows the player to choose whether he or she thinks the first two cards he or she draws will equate to a total less than 13 (which pays 1:1), a total more than 13 (which also pays 1:1), or exactly 13 (which pays out 10:1). An Ace will always be valued as one in this side wager.
Another online side bet, the High Streak bet is simply a shot at a consistently increasing payout if you manage to beat the dealer at least two times in a row. The payouts are as follows:
- Two consecutive wins: 1 to 1
- Three consecutive wins: 2 to 1
- Four consecutive wins: 5 to 1
- Five consecutive wins: 10 to 1
Place the side wager, and if you win your first hand, the streak will be automatically initiated. You can then choose to either let that streak ride alone, or place another streak side bet and have multiple streaks running simultaneously. The side bet pushes (no win, no loss, remains in the same position) if your hand ties with the dealer’s hand.
House edges and other important information
Side wagers in blackjack should not be expected to net consistent returns, simply because they hold far higher house edges than your typical blackjack game, which is why the payouts are often so lucrative. House edges in blackjack side bets can range from two per cent to as much as 75 per cent.
They are easy to understand and highly entertaining, but we should use them sparingly. Remember, side wagers are separate bets from the main hand/game.
For the best odds, lowest house edge and games offering multiple side bets, play real money blackjack online at our top-rated blackjack sites listed in the table above. We recommend Raging Bull Casino as our top-rated casino site for players from United States, which has some excellent welcome bonuses available for new players along with a great range of blackjack variants and other casino games.
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