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Popular Side Bets in Blackjack

Popular Side Bets in Blackjack

Popular Side Bets in Blackjack

Here are the most common side bets you will find at any casino's blackjack tables. Most online casinos and live blackjack games will offer these wagers too:

What is the 21+3 Side Bet in Blackjack?

The 21+3 side bet comes from another popular casino game, 3-card poker. Essentially, you are betting on whether your first two cards and the dealer's upcard combined can make one of the following hands from 3-card poker:

21+3 Side Bet Hand Values

HandDefinitionExample
Suited Three-of-a-KindThree cards of the same suit and number/face valueK-K + K of Hearts
Straight FlushThree cards of successive value and of the same suit3-4 + 5 of Clubs
Three-of-a-KindThree cards of the same number/face value, any suitK-K + K
StraightThree cards of successive value, any suit; Aces can be high or low5 of Spades-6 of Diamonds + 7 of Clubs
FlushThree cards of the same suitQ-4 + 7 of Hearts

How to Play the 21+3 Side Bet:

Most blackjack tables will have a 21+3 side bet box where you should add your wager. To make this side bet, you should:

  1. Stake your wager on the 21+3 side bet box before your cards are dealt.

  2. Wait for the dealer to deal everyone's initial cards. They will then check whether your cards make any of the 3-card poker hands.

  3. If you win, you'll receive the following payout depending on your hand combination:

21+3 Side Bet Payouts & Odds of Winning

HandPayout
Suited Trips (Three-of-a-Kind)100:1
Straight Flush40:1
Three-of-a-Kind30:1
Straight10:1
Flush5:1

Remember that some casinos may change the payout sizes, so it's always worth checking beforehand with the dealer.

Is a 21+3 Side Bet Worth It?

With payouts reaching 100:1, it's easy to see why 21+3 payouts attract so many players. However this side bet has a steep house edge, hitting 13.39% in single-deck blackjack games.

Players can't apply any strategy to 21+3, and basic strategy says you should avoid side bets completely if you're playing to win at blackjack. If you want to add some extra excitement to your blackjack games though, then the 21+3 side bet is ideal.

What is Perfect Pairs in Blackjack?

Perfect pairs started as a side bet, but its popularity has grown so much that many casino sites now offer it as another online blackjack game.

In this side bet you are wagering on your first two cards making one of these pairs:

Perfect Pairs Hands

NameDefinitionExample
Perfect PairIdentical face/number value, color, and suit2 Queen of Diamonds
Color PairSame face/number value and color, different suit7 of Clubs and 7 of Spades
Mixed PairSame face/number value, different suit and color5 of Diamonds and 5 of Spades

How to Play Perfect Pairs Side Bet:

Like most side bets, blackjack tables will have a special space to add perfect pairs wagers. If you want to play perfect pairs, just:

  1. Decide before any cards are dealt. Once the dealer starts, it's too late.

  2. Add your wager to the specified area on the table.

  3. Wait until after the dealer has dealt the table's cards. They will immediately play any side bets in the game.

  4. Depending on your hand, your Perfect Pairs bet can win one of the following payouts:

Perfect Pairs Payout Table

HandPayout
Perfect Pair30:1
Color Pair10:1
Mixed Pair5:1

Casinos may adjust the payout structures on Perfect Pairs bets, so remember to check the table rules. Avoid any casinos offering 20:1 on Perfect Pairs or 8:1 on Color Pairs; these payouts are just a ripoff to players.

What are the Odds of Getting a Perfect Pair?

Land the top payout on Perfect Pairs, and you can walk away with hefty returns. A $10 wager on a winning Perfect Pair hand means a massive $300 payout. Before you start dreaming of ways to spend your profits, you should know the odds of landing a Perfect Pair are low.

If you take a typical eight-deck game, you have to consider the blackjack odds of the 415 remaining cards in play matching your first card. That means only 7 cards out of 415 can make a Perfect Pair. You have just over a 1 in 59 chance of landing this hand, or 1.69%.

Is Perfect Pairs a Good Bet?

The house edge on this side bet varies between 2-11%, depending on the number of decks in the shoe. Considering the the lowest hand (Mixed Pair) only gives a 5:1 payout and has a mere 3.86% chance of being dealt, this side bet won't excite players looking to profit on real money blackjack games.

Like 21+3, there are no strategies for winning this side bet. It's down to pure luck. If you have a pair in blackjack, you're better off following basic strategy rules on splitting hands.

If you're looking to play blackjack for fun, then Perfect Pairs offers just that — nothing more.

What is an Insurance Bet in Blackjack?

Insurance bet may be the most popular side bet in blackjack, but players also lose the most money on this wager. It supposedly protects your bankroll if the dealer has blackjack, but there are only a few occasions when taking insurance actually works. Our blackjack insurance bet guide covers the essential rules and strategies needed to make this side bet pay out for you.