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Last updated: 12 July 2022

Many land-based and online casinos have added side bets to their blackjack tables in an effort to entice more players to play blackjack while simultaneously improving their profits. The seemingly innocuous side bets normally demand a little risk, typically only a dollar, and feature payoffs that are bigger than the standard even-money blackjack payouts. This article will discuss their meaning, some examples of these,  and address the question of whether they are worth your wager. Read on to find out.

What are Blackjack Side Bets?

Theoretically, side bets are supplementary wagers in blackjack that forecast the cards you or the dealer will get. They are separate from the main bets in blackjack, and they give players the opportunity to take more risks with their hands through the addition of other bets that are not directly related to the game's outcome.

What are Blackjack Side Bets?
Two aces playing cards and chips (Source: Freepik)

To make it easier to visualize, you can imagine them working almost like what props do in NHL games.

Before any cards are dealt, you can place your side bets. There is little or no blackjack technique that can impact your odds of winning; it is all down to luck. However, card counting can suggest when you have an edge on a few side bets, which we will explain further below.

The allure of side bets stems from their rewards. If you're lucky, your earnings can exceed what you earned in a single blackjack session. The benefits and thrilling risk side bets provide are enough to make casual players forget about the massive house edge that comes with them.

What Are Common Side Bets At Most Casinos? 

The following are the most popular side bets seen at any casino's blackjack tables. Most online casinos and live blackjack games will also accept these bets:

21+3 Blackjack Side Bet

The 21+3 side bet is inspired by another famous casino game, three-card poker. Its payouts depend on the first two cards dealt to the gambler and the dealer's upcard. The player wins if the three cards complete a flush, straight, three-of-a-kind, or straight flush. The payoff for each winning hand in the original version of the 21+3 side bet was 9 to 1, giving a house edge of 3.24 percent.

Royal Match Blackjack Side Bet 

The Royal Match side bet is available at both single and multi-deck tables. In a multi-deck game, if your first two dealt cards are of the same suite, known as an Easy Match, the payment is 5 to 2, whereas a Royal Match - a suited King and Queen - pays 25 to 1. You also get a 5-to-1 reward for a suited blackjack. These are player-friendly rewards with a 3.7 percent house edge. The payoffs in the single-deck variant are 3 to 1 for an Easy Match and 10 to 1 for a Royal Match, which results in the house edge of 3.8 percent.

Over/Under 13 Blackjack Side Bet

What Are Common Side Bets At Most Casinos? 
Close-up of a player's hand with playing card (Source: Freepik)

This type of side bet allows the player to wager on whether the total of his first two cards will be greater than or less than 13. A total of 13 always loses, and the ace is worth one point. The house edge for the Over 13 wager is 6.5 percent, and the house edge for the Under 13 wager is 10 percent. This side bet is often available on six- and eight-deck games.

Super Sevens Blackjack Side Bet

The gamer is hoping for a lot of 7s - the more the better. If his first card is a 7, he will be paid 3 to 1. If his first two cards are 7s, the payout is determined by whether they are suited (100 to 1) or unsuited (50 to 1). 

The dealer draws you a third 7, and things start to get intriguing. The reward is 500 to 1 if your first three cards are unsuited 7s, and 5,000 to 1 if they are suited. When the dealer has a blackjack and a player has two 7s, the casino will not deal a third card, and the house margin on this side bet is 12.6 percent.

However, in this circumstance, some casinos may draw the gambler with the third card, lowering the house edge to 11.4 percent.

Lucky Ladies' Blackjack Side Bet

Players wager on the Lucky Ladies side bet hope that their first two cards are worth a total of 20, ideally with two queens. If you obtain two queens of hearts and the dealer has a blackjack, the top reward is 1,000 to 1. It pays 200 to 1 if you receive two queens of hearts; a matched 20 (same rank and suit) pays 25 to 1; a suited 20 pays 10 to 1, and any unsuited 20 pays 4 to 1. The house edge is 17 percent.

Pair Square Blackjack Side Bet

If a player's first two cards have the same rank, he wins this side bet (like a pair of 6s). A mismatched pair (for example, the 6 of clubs and the 6 of spades) pays 10 to 1. A matching pair (such as a pair of sixes) pays 15 to 1. The house has a 10.6 percent advantage.

Should You Play Blackjack Side Bets?

In the end, whether you should wager on blackjack side bets comes down to your motivation for playing them. Play side bets if you're a casual blackjack player searching for additional excitement. The greatest rewards on these wagers rival slot jackpots and provide some thrilling action if they land.

You should avoid them if you're hoping to make a profit. Almost all of them make strategy difficult. The odds of the largest side bets landing are extremely low, and even if they do, a massive house edge takes up a large percentage of your earnings.

If you want to place a side bet, look for ones that offer large rewards for little stakes. Otherwise, stick to fundamental technique and card counting and your winnings will eventually climb.

Blackjack Side Bet Payouts

Each side bet in blackjack comes with different payouts. The values that we cover in the article relate to the most common payout levels in today's online and land-based casinos. However, they may vary between your gambling locations depending on the operator's own regulations.

Conclusion

Side bets are an exciting aspect of blackjack and they can make the game riskier for players. Their appeal is undeniable, as they allow you to win relatively large amounts with just a small bet. However, expert opinion shows that the house edge in these bets is quite large, and you should not abuse this type of bet if you do not have enough in-depth knowledge of the game.

Published: 12 July 2022 16:31