What Are Blackjack Side Bets?
Preface: Blackjack side bets are optional bets that players can place during blackjack games. The most commonly placed blackjack side bets are Blackjack Insurance Bets, Perfect Pairs Bets, and the 21+3 Blackjack bet. The latter is a bet on a winning combination with the player’s 2 cards and the dealer’s upcard.
In this comprehensive blackjack side bets guide, Casinofy is going to reveal all the facts, stats, and probabilities associated with these optional bets. Side bets are readily available at many land-based casinos and online casinos alike. Each of these side bets has different payout possibilities, all of which are substantially greater than traditional even-money payouts or the 3:2 payout on blackjack.
Different Types of Blackjack Side Bets
Blackjack side bets are available to players in 3 unique variants, including:
Blackjack Insurance Bet
Blackjack Insurance bets are offered to players as a ‘hedge’ against a dealer blackjack. The blackjack insurance bet will become available when the dealer’s upcard is an Ace. The only way a dealer can form a blackjack hand is with an Ace and a 10-value card. These include 10-Jack-Queen-King. Since a dealer blackjack beats any player hand, with the exception of a player blackjack (in which case a push results), casinos and online casinos offer players the possibility of a blackjack insurance bet.
Be advised that Casinofy does not recommend playing the blackjack insurance bet since the dealer is only likely to have blackjack approximately 31% of the time. The other 69% of the time, the dealer will not have blackjack and the player will lose this optional side bet. If a player decides to play the blackjack side bet, the cost of this bet is 50% of the original bet. As an example, if a player places a $100 blackjack bet and the dealer’s upcard is an Ace then the player will have the option of hedging with a blackjack insurance bet at $50. The total stake on the table at this point is $150. If the player loses the blackjack insurance bet and the hand, the loss is $150. If the player wins the blackjack insurance bet but loses the hand, the return to the player is 2:1 on insurance to even out the loss on the hand for a net gain of zero.
Perfect Pairs Side Bets
The ‘Perfect Pairs’ side bet – like other side bets – must be placed at the beginning of your betting session. Simply stated, a Perfect Pairs side bet in blackjack states that the player is wagering on the assumption that a ‘Perfect Pair’ of cards will be dealt. The ‘Perfect Pairs’ bet requires that the first two cards the player is dealt will be a pair. There are 3 unique ‘Perfect Pairs’ bets that players can place, including the following:
Perfect Pair – As its namesake suggests, the ‘Perfect Pair’ bet is the ranking side bet for this particular option. It is also the most lucrative bet you can place at a payout of 30:1 (may vary from one casino to the next). To be a ‘Perfect Pair’ and qualify for that type of payout, the 2 cards must be identical. Any two cards of the same suit and same value (Aces, Kings, Queens, Jacks, etcetera) qualify as ‘Perfect Pairs’.
Colored Pairs – The ‘Colored Pair’ side bet in blackjack is an interesting selection. When players select this option, they are betting on forming a pair of cards in the same color (red or black) but each card in the pair must be from a different suit. For example, players can form a hand of 2 x Kings – both black – with one being a spade and one being a club. The payout odds associated with ‘Colored Pairs’ are typically 10:1.
Mixed Pair – The ‘Mixed Pair’ is a 2-card combination of cards featuring a pair with different colored cards. Since there are only 2 different colors in blackjack (Red – hearts and diamonds – and Black – spades and clubs) players are simply required to bet on hitting a ‘Mixed Pair’ on their opening 2 cards. The odds associated with ‘Mixed Pairs’ are relatively low at 5:1 which is still substantially higher than the best standard blackjack payout of 3:2.
21+3 Blackjack Side Bet
21+3 is actually an altogether unique blackjack variant. It’s a fusion of 2 card games – traditional blackjack and 3 Card Poker. This game brings the best of poker and blackjack to the fore with an optional side bet on the +3 component of the game. Simply stated, if the first 3 cards on the table ‘+3’ including the dealer’s upcard and the player’s 2 pocket cards form a combination of cards such as a Suited Three-of-a-Kind, Straight Flush, Three-of-a-Kind, a Straight, or a Flush, then the player will receive a substantial payout.
*Take Note: The precise odds paid on 21+3 Blackjack Side Bets may vary from one online casino to the next.
- Suited Three-of-a-Kind – 3 identical cards of the same suit with an overall payout of 100:1.
- Straight Flush – 3 cards in sequential order of the same suit. A Straight Flush usually pays at odds of 40:1.
- Three-of-a-Kind – Unlike the Suited Three-of-a-Kind, Three-of-a-Kind requires that the 3 up-cards at the table are the same rank. Any set of trips will do, such as 3 x Jacks, 3 x Kings, 3 x 2s etcetera. The only condition is that they are mixed suits. The payout for Three-of-a-Kind is usually 30:1
- Straight – 3 blackjack cards in sequential order. The suits don’t matter when you bet on a Straight in blackjack. The payout odds on a Straight hover around 10:1.
- Flush – Players can form a Flush by simply having 3 cards of the same suit. None of the cards needs to be in sequential order. An example of a Flush is 2, 8 and Ace of hearts. The overall payout for a Flush is around 5:1.
There are pros and cons to placing blackjack side bets. On the plus side, these bets have tremendous payout potential. On the minus side, the odds of winning a blackjack side bet are extremely low and players are unlikely to win these bets. They also significantly increase the house edge. Casinofy does not recommend side bets as a rule, but they are entertaining and potentially rewarding bets to place.