What you need to know about blackjack side bets

If you’ve ever played at a casino, there’s a great chance that you already know how to play blackjack. It is, after all, one of the most popular games that exist. While you may have mastered the basics, have you ever wondered about side bets? Some players love the opportunities that these present while others just know nothing at all about them. Read more about blackjack side bets.

There are players who find side bets exciting and are thrilled by the chances that they offer. Others avoid them like the plague, feeling that they’re just impossible to win. The truth is that side bets are great fun, but you shouldn’t rely on them to boost your winnings.

You will come across varying side bets depending upon the casino that you’re playing at. In this article, we’re going to explore the main ones that you’re likely to see. Yes, the odds may be against you, but you can still win a side bet even if you lose the main game.

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21 + 3 – blackjack side bets

You probably already know that, when playing the main blackjack game, you’re only ever going to receive a 1:1 payout. The only exception here is if you make a blackjack. If that’s the case then you’ll get 3:2 (although 6:5 seems more common these days). The draw of side bets is that they offer much bigger payouts. They do this because they’re so much harder to win.

With the 21 + 3 the aim is to produce a winning hand from your two initial cards and the dealer’s upturned one. The odds will depend on the hand that you go for, but this is what you can expect:

  • Suited three of a kind – 100/1
  • Straight flush – 40/1
  • Three of a kind – 30/1
  • Straight – 10/1
  • Flush – 5/1

As you can see for yourself, the available odds are certainly attractive and you can understand why players take their chances. However, these odds don’t increase your chances of winning and in the end, they usually just end up costing you more. 

Perfect Pairs – blackjack side bets

The name of this side bet is probably pretty self-explanatory. It needs you to make a pair from the two cards that you’re originally dealt. You can’t use the dealer’s upturned card to achieve this. If you’re interested in looking in more detail at perfect pairs as a side bet, you’ll need to know the three types that there are:

  • A mixed pair meaning that there are different colors – 5/1
  • Colored pair meaning that they’re the same color but different suits – 10/1
  • Perfect pair. With more than one deck, this means two cards of the same number and suite – 30/1

Again, the odds are very attractive. Especially when you compare it to the main game payout. However, the odds aren’t quite up there with 21 + 3. Why? Well, this one is mathematically more possible to achieve and the casino needs to protect itself to a degree. 


Something that 21 + 3 and perfect pair side bets have in common is that you need to opt-in and wager before the cards are dealt. With insurance, things are a little different. Here, you are given the chance to take out insurance if the dealer’s upturned card is an ace. Of course, with an ace being present there’s a good chance that the dealer may hit a blackjack. To negate this risk, you’re given the opportunity to place an insurance bet.

There’s little denying that insurance looks like a good option, but in truth, it’s not something that you should ever consider in blackjack. That’s because, just like other blackjack side bets, it’s going to cost you money. Yes, the dealer may well turn over their next card and end up with a blackjack. Just remember, that’s a single hand. Rather than worry about a game in isolation, stop and look at the long term. Taking insurance bets will see you burn through your bankroll more quickly. 

Are there any other blackjack side bets?

If the thought of these side bets have left you with a sense of excitement, then you may be wondering if there are any others that you can try. As we’ve said, the excitement is understandable, just don’t go getting carried away. 

That being said, there are other side bets that you can explore. These, however, are much rarer than the ones that we’ve already looked at. These are what you may come across in different casinos:

Royal Match

With this side bet, you can get a 5/2 payout for any suited cards. This increases to 25/1 for a suited king and queen. Again, the odds are certainly attractive when compared to the main bet, but stop to consider how likely these outcomes really are.

Over/under 13

This is an even-money bet. It really is as simple as it sounds. You’re betting on whether the card total will be over or under 13. 

Super Sevens

This one can lead to some seriously big wins, but only if you’re extremely lucky! Here’s a look at the odds on offer:

  • One seven – 3/1
  • Two sevens – 50/1
  • Two suited sevens – 100/1
  • If the third card is also a seven – 500/1
  • Three suited sevens – 5,000/1

Lucky Ladies

Here’s a look at the payouts for this side bet:

  • Cards totalling 20 – 4/1
  • Suited 20 – 10/1
  • Two queens of hearts – 200/1
  • Two queens of hearts while the dealer has blackjack – 100/1

Final thoughts about blackjack side bets

The truth is that side bets add an extra dimension to blackjack. The can be fun and, if your luck is in, you could win far more than is possible in the main game. However, you need to approach these with caution. 

While there is no getting away from how impressive the potential payouts are, the chances of winning are mathematically slim. The best advice is to stick to the main game. If, however, you want to give these side bets a go, just make sure that you’re going in with your eyes open. In the long run, you are certain to lose more. 

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