If you think that getting as close as possible to 21 and not busting is all there is to it, you have clearly been staying away from Blackjack tables your whole life and have a rather modest knowledge of this extremely fun and challenging game. There so much more to Blackjack than scoring the perfect 21 hand and, as if the strategic potential of the game was not enough, Blackjack experts and casino operators introduced some diversity to the game (and increased the house edge at the same time) by adding optional side bets.
As always, additional bets come with higher payouts and matching risk level, which makes them both appealing and dangerous at the same time. Opinions regarding tables that offer side betting alternatives can be quite different; while some will diligently stake on the extra betting areas, others will warn you to stay clear and stick to the standard betting system. Regardless of numbers and probabilities, it’s always fun to shake things up a bit and take your chances – otherwise, what is the point of gambling?
The most common optional bets
A side betting option that you are most likely to find is 21+3. It combines the players’ initial two cards and the dealer’s hole card, offering 9 to 1 payout. Valid combinations are derived from the game of Poker and the player wins this bet for a Flush, Straight, Straight Flush and 3 of a Kind hand.
If you are fortunate enough to land a pair on your initial hand, the payout ratio will be even higher than with 21+3 bet. Depending on the type of pair, players are looking at up to 25:1 payout. There are three types of payouts that you can cash:
- Perfect Pair: cards that have the same suit – 25 to 1
- Coloured Pair: cards with the same colour/different suit– 15 to 1
- Mixed Pair: red +black card with matching ranks – 5 to 1
The two bets described above are included in a number of online Blackjack variants – both video and Live – and the player is allowed to completely eliminate the options from the table or turn them back on at any given moment. Also, Pairs and 21+3 bets come as a “value pack” and Blackjack variant with Pairs stake area will also include the 21+3 bet.
Some casinos will offer insurance bet that you can take if the dealer’s hole card is an Ace. Since this increases a chance of dealer landing a Blackjack, the players are allowed to follow up on their wager with 50% of the initial amount, which carries 2 to 1 payout if the dealer’s hand turns out to be Blackjack. On the other hand, if your Insurance bet wins, your original bet will lose.
Optional bets with lower frequency rate
The following side bets are not found as often as the ones previously explained, but more and more developers are launching different versions of Blackjack that digress from the standard 21+3/Pairs combo and includes the ones listed below.
This option is introduced with single and multi decks Blackjack variants, but with a slight difference when payouts are concerned. In a multi-deck version, the player will get a payout of 5:2 for the first two suited cards. Royal Match, which is a suited pair of a King and a Queen pays 25 to 1, while a suited Blackjack has a 5 to 1 payout ratio.
Single deck Blackjack offers lower payouts – 3 to 1 for Easy Match (suited cards) and 10 to 1 for the Royal Match.
Over 13, Under 13
Pretty self-explanatory bet type usually found at the 6 and 8 decks Blackjack tables. The players wager that their hand will be either lower than 13 or go above that number. The actual total of 13 will, of course, be counted as a loss.
When selecting this bet, the players wager that the total of their two cards will amount to 20 and preferably consist out of 2 Queens of Hearts. The payout ratio is equivalent to the risk that you take when betting on a probability like this and if your hunch is right, you end up with 1000:1 payout for a perfect hand in a combination with the dealer’s blackjack.
The same player’s hand without the dealer’s blackjack pays 200:1 and the payout table drops down to 25:1 for a hand with matching suit and rank, 10:1 for the suited 20 and 4:1 for any total of 20.
Any 7 that comes your way pays and if the first dealt card is the lucky 7, the payout will start at 3 to 1. Every next 7 will increase the payout, with the highest rates for suited sevens (100 to 1 for the pair). Third 7 will reach the whopping 500 to 1 rate, which fades in comparison to the number you get for 3 suited 7s – 5,000 to 1!
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