Blackjack is one of the most popular casino games in the world, and for good reason – it’s one of the simplest card games to learn.

The game usually involves a standard 52-card deck, and unlike many casino card games, players do not have to compete against one another. Instead, in blackjack, players compete against the dealer.

After receiving two cards face up, the player aims to get a hand total that’s closer to 21 than the dealer. However, if they exceed 21, they go bust!

This is the basic idea of blackjack – but did you know that there are several blackjack side bets you can make along the way?

Side betting in blackjack adds extra twists to the game – but as always, it’s wise to know your limits and carefully manage your bankroll while making any extra wagers.

In this guide, we take a look at the most popular blackjack side bets, what’s expected from players, and how they change up the game. If you don’t feel comfortable making these types of bets, make sure to take a step back or stick to the rules of the original game!

Here are some of the most popular blackjack side bets explained.

Blackjack side bet rules

Blackjack side bets take place during the same period of action as the main game. The clue is in the name – ‘side’ – meaning that while focusing on a traditional game of blackjack, you can add optional wagers along the way.

As always, blackjack side bets come with their own set of rules. These will vary from bet to bet, so always make sure to read the paytable or instructions supplied when you play online or to ask for advice from your dealer before you get started.

The first thing to understand about blackjack side bets is that they don’t really require any skill. Aside from understanding what kind of bet you are making and how to make it, there’s not much you need to know!

Unlike placing side or extra bets in skill-based card games such as poker, blackjack side bets rely entirely on chance. That being said, some players count cards to help them determine the most likely card combinations to come, but even then, it takes more chance than skill to win anything from blackjack side bets!

It’s also unwise to count cards in any casino game – especially when you’re playing at a land-based casino, where this type of strategy is frowned upon.

Some blackjack side bets are available to place at the start of a round, while others will be available throughout. Some refer to the suits you draw, while others, such as insurance, give you a little back if things go wrong.

Many people choose to place blackjack side bets because they give their games a little more longevity. However, don’t mistake this for an extra boost to your chances of winning! You’ll receive separate odds on blackjack side bets, but there’s still no guarantee of a win.

The dealer and the house are certain to have a better edge than the player in the side bets – so, always check the odds available and be careful with your bankroll.

Generally, we only recommend looking into side bets in blackjack once you’re accustomed to the main game and are comfortable making additional wagers. It’s not a move that we recommend to beginners.

If you do want to proceed with side bets, however, it’s worth checking out the different types. Let’s get those blackjack side bets explained.

Types of side bets in blackjack

Given that blackjack is such an interesting game with multiple possible outcomes, it should come as no surprise that there are also various side bets. Blackjack is actually one of the most varied games when it comes to extra wagers and twists.

The following list of side bets to use in blackjack isn’t exhaustive – there are many different ways to play the game, and these will differ from site to site and table to table. Therefore, consider the following details to be something of an introduction.

21+3 side bet

The most common blackjack side bet is 21+3. This bet allows the player to make a side wager on the first two dealt cards and the dealer’s face-up card. It’s based loosely on the rules of three-card poker, so you’re essentially playing two games at once!

You place a 21+3 bet on whether the three cards combined (in the opening hands between you and the dealer) make a flush, a straight, a three of a kind, a straight flush, or a suited three of a kind. You’re looking for poker hands as soon as the cards are dealt, so this is a bet you place before play starts.

A flush occurs when the three cards are of the same suit. For example, you could have the two, seven and king of hearts.

A straight, meanwhile, happens when the three cards are in sequence. For example, you could get four diamonds, five hearts and six clubs. Regardless of the suit, the cards are in order.

As the name suggests, a three of a kind happens when you line up three cards in both hands that are of the same value. For example, three queens are of the same value, regardless of their suits.

A straight flush occurs when three cards are in sequence and are of the same suit. For example, a three, four and five of hearts would be considered a straight flush and a winning combination.

Finally, the suited three of a kind – the hardest poker match to achieve in this side bet – occurs when the three cards have the same value and suit. For example, if you have three eights of clubs, you’d have a suited three of a kind.

Royal match side bet

The royal match is a side bet that wagers that the first two cards in your hand will be a king and queen of the exact same suit.

For example, if you’re lucky enough to draw a king and queen of hearts in your first two face-up cards, you’ve got a royal match.

This side bet doesn’t convert if you spot a king and queen in two separate suits – meaning that if one’s a club and the other’s a spade, you lose the side bet.

In a standard single-deck game, your odds of getting a royal match in blackjack are about 10:1. However, in a multiple-deck game, the odds go to about 25:1! These odds can and will vary, so be sure to read the fine print of any tables you play at.

Lucky ladies side bet

The lucky ladies side bet wagers that the first two cards in your hand will have a combined value of 20. This is a great position to be in if you’re playing traditional blackjack in any case – you’re only one off the magic total, and sticking could be a safe move!

For example, if you have 10 hearts and 10 diamonds, you’d have a lucky lady!

However, there’s a bit more to this bet than meets the eye. Odds will differ depending on the cards you draw. If your two cards are in different suits, the payout is about 4:1 on average.

On the other hand, if they are of the same suit, the payout goes to 10:1. For same-suit and same-value hands, you could get odds of 25:1.

Some blackjack tables go one step further and offer a 200:1 side bet for lining up two queens of hearts. Add a dealer getting blackjack (scoring 21) to this, and the odds extend to a whopping 1,000:1.

Pair square side bet

The pair square side bet has one of the easier blackjack side bet rules to learn. In particular, this bet wagers that the first two cards in your hand will be a pair. Think of it as a truncated version of betting on poker hands.

However, again, take caution – if the pair you draw in your first hand is made up of different suits (for example, if you had an eight of diamonds and an eight of hearts), you can expect a payout of about 10:1.

On the other hand, if you have a pair of the same suit (for example, if you have two 10s of spades), you can expect a payout of about 15:1! Once again, payouts and odds will vary from table to table, so do read the fine print and ask your dealer for advice if you’re playing at a brick-and-mortar casino.

What is the house edge on blackjack side bets?

One of the key reasons why blackjack is so popular is that the house edge is pretty low, especially compared to other bets available in land-based casinos or online.

Generally, a decent player must deal with a house edge of about 0.5 %.

Thankfully, for the less skilled players, the house edge usually only reaches about 2%! So, whether it’s your first time or your 50th, you don’t have to worry too much about the house edge.

However, when we look at side bets, the house edge starts to scale up. It’s here where players have less and less chance of winning, and it’s why we never recommend side betting to complete blackjack beginners.

In fact, in some cases, you might see the house edge in blackjack rise to as much as 10% when you consider side bets. Therefore, you really need to keep tighter control of your bankroll and playing time if you’re mixing things up.

Before placing your bets, it’s also important to remember that while you can win, winning big on blackjack side bets is pretty rare.

So, if you do happen to win on a side bet, don’t expect this to be the start of a winning streak or that you’re set to break a losing run. It’s never healthy to chase wins or losses, and this is all the more the case when you place side bets in blackjack.

These are the basic blackjack side bets explained! If you do want to dive into blackjack side betting, make sure to do so with a casino you can trust. Why not take a look at TonyBet’s reputable blackjack tables and side bets? We also have plenty of support to help you manage your gaming time and bankroll.

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