What is a side bet in blackjack

What is a side bet in blackjack

Blackjack has been a staple online casino game for as long as anyone can remember, and the game only got better as it made the transition from land-based to online casinos. Nowadays, online players can benefit from sleek live studio designs, professional dealers and all sorts of innovative features right in the comfort of their own home. Along with the many blackjack variants come intriguing side bets, offering players more opportunities to win and a chance to spice up the gameplay.

If you’re new and haven’t yet grasped the idea behind side bets in blackjack, then you’ve come to the right place. Join us as we shed some light on blackjack side bets to help you become the blackjack boss you were meant to be. 


What’s So Special About Blackjack?

When trying to understand side bets, one must first understand what makes blackjack so fun to play in the first place. While blackjack is a game of chance like other online casino games, skill also has a part to play. With the right strategy, players can shift odds in their favour and reduce the house edge. Keep in mind that while this may seem enticing, the casino will always have the advantage. 

On top of that, blackjack is very easy to pick up whether you’ve been finessing the game for a while or have never picked up a pair of cards before. You also don’t need a big bankroll when starting out either, so beginners should have no trouble learning the ropes! The best part is you’ll find plenty of blackjack variations online with their own unique blackjack side bets, so you’ll have plenty of games to choose from. 

Blackjack Game Rules

Before we get right into the best side bets, we first need to go through a little bit of blackjack gameplay. The aim of the game is to form a hand with a value equal to or as close to 21 as possible to try and beat the dealer. If this number is exceeded, you’ll go bust and lose the round. The best hand you can form is a blackjack — your first two cards are an ace and a ten-value card, adding up to 21 exactly. 

The rules of blackjack are pretty straightforward to understand. All you need to do is place your wager during the allotted time frame and watch the dealer hand out cards. Once you have received your hand, you will find a few different options displayed on the screen — you can choose to either hit, stand, double down, split or take insurance. Bear in mind that different variations of online blackjack may offer different choices — this is especially true for side bets. Additionally, not all bets and actions are available universally; some blackjack tables may not offer insurance, for example. 

There are three ways to win this game:

  • The value of your hand is closer to 21 than that of the dealer.
  • The dealer goes bust.
  • You earn a hand with a value of 21 exactly.

While it seems simple enough, it can be quite easy to go bust without the proper strategy, especially if you’re dealt a low-valued hand. Blackjack side bets add a little extra spice to the game. Of course, they are optional, but they can be just what you need to turn the tides of the game.

Card Values

How you form your hand or win the round is solely dependent on the values of your cards. In blackjack, cards ranging between two and 10 are taken at their numerical value. All face cards including the jack, queen and king have a value of 10. The ace card can either have a value of one or 11 — the value it takes depends on the state of your hand. A hand containing an ace with the value of 11 is known as a soft hand. 

What Is A Blackjack Side Bet?

Blackjack side bets are additional, optional bets players can place to add a layer of complexity to the game. The way blackjack side bets work is, before cards are dealt, you will be given the option to add extra chips to the table. Of course, this comes with more risk since there is always the possibility of losing. But, if you’re lucky enough to win the round, you can enjoy even greater payouts, especially if you win a side bet as well. Some of the most common side bets include the 21+3 blackjack side bet and Perfect Pairs. 

Why Place Side Bets? 

Placing a blackjack side bet is an easy way to raise the stakes if you’re looking to add an extra dimension to your gameplay. While the risk of denting your bankroll is much higher, they bring pretty good payouts to the table as well. At the end of the day, blackjack side bets are optional, so you won’t have to take this risk every round and can abstain entirely if side bets don’t really pique your interest. 


Common Blackjack Side Bets 

When playing blackjack online, you’ll come across quite a few variations of the classic game, each offering unique features and side bets. Let’s go through a few blackjack side bets you are likely to come across on your casino gaming journey. 


The 21+3 side bet involves the player’s two cards as well as the dealer’s upcard. Players can bet on these three cards with various combinations of suits and values. Depending on the hand ranking of the three cards, this bet pays out in different ways: 

  • Flush — The flush is a hand where all three cards are of the same suit. This hand has a payout of 5:1.
  • Straight — The straight is a hand where all three cards form a consecutive sequence. The straight has a payout of 10:1. 
  • Three of a Kind — The three of a kind is a hand where all three cards are of the same rank but not of the same suit. The three of a kind has a payout of 30:1. 
  • Straight Flush — The straight flush is a hand where all three cards are of the same suit and form a sequence. The straight flush has a payout of 40:1.
  • Suited Three of a Kind — The suited three of a kind is a hand where all three cards are of the same rank and the same suit. The suited three of a kind hand has a payout of 100:1.

The better your three-card hand is, the higher the return. Although, the odds of earning better hands, like a straight flush, get slimmer as you move up in rankings. The great thing about this side bet is that, while you may lose your original bet, you can still earn a payout even if you go bust. 

Perfect Pairs

The Perfect Pairs side bet allows you to wager on whether your first two cards will be a pair.  Like the 21+3 side bet, the Perfect Pairs wager offers multiple payouts depending on the different pairs of cards that you earn: 

  • Mixed Pair — The Mixed Pair features two cards of the same value but different suit and colour. This pair has a payout of 5:1.
  • Coloured Pair — The Coloured Pair features two cards of the same value and of the same colour. This pair has a payout of 12:1.
  • Perfect Pair — The Perfect Pair is the best pair you can earn in blackjack. The Perfect Pair features two cards of the same number and the same suit. Perfect Pairs have a payout of 25:1.

The payouts you earn on these hands can vary between different blackjack tables. Blackjack tables may have unique gameplay rule and may use a varied number of decks, all of which will impact the house edge and the payouts.

Royal Match

The Royal Match blackjack side bet is less common than the 21+3 and Perfect Pairs but is a good side bet nonetheless. This side bet is based on the first two cards dealt to the player. It’s quite simple really — if the first two cards are suited, like a queen and a five of spades for example, then the player earns a payout of 5:2. If the cards feature a suited king and queen, then the player can enjoy a payout of 25:1. 

Super Sevens

The Super Sevens side bet pays out if one or more sevens are dealt to the player. Players can earn different payouts depending on how many sevens they earn:

  • One seven — pays out 3:1
  • Two unsuited sevens — pays out 50:1
  • Two suited sevens — pays out 100:1
  • Three unsuited sevens — pays out 500:1
  • Three suited sevens — pays out 5000:1

Bear in mind that a casino may not always deal a third card if the dealer has blackjack — this depends on the table you play at. Always check the rules of the game before placing any chips on the table and wagering on any side bets.

Lucky Ladies

Lucky Ladies is a side bet that pays an added bonus based solely on your initial two cards. There are five possible winning outcomes of this wager if the player’s cards add up to 20:

  • Unsuited 20 pays out 4:1
  • Suited 20 pays out 10:1
  • Matched 20 (same rank and suit) pays out 25:1
  • Two queens of hearts pays out 200:1

Over/Under 13

Players earn the Over/Under 13 payout if they successfully predict the sum of their cards as either above or below 13. If the player earns 13 exactly, then they lose the wager — some casinos do offer this payout.


Insurance is one of the most common side bets in blackjack you’ll encounter, although it isn’t really a side bet. This wager allows you to protect yourself if the dealer’s face-up card is an ace and can potentially hit blackjack — a hand that beats yours instantly unless you push with blackjack as well. While it offers a payout of 2:1, the best part about insurance is that it can reduce the overall house edge. Some say the insurance wager is one of the best bets you can place, others may argue against it as it does not offer the best odds. Again, it is totally up to you to decide.


Can I Place More Than One Side Bet?

A common misconception is that blackjack side bets can only be placed once per round. This is simply untrue. Online blackjack tables allow you to place many if not all blackjack side bets at once if you like to kick things up a notch. Betting more than once makes the game riskier since there is more of a chance of losing. Side bets can also offer an excellent way of boosting your bankroll, but this can easily go south if you hit a losing streak. 

Blackjack Tips

Like any other casino game, there is no single strategy that can guarantee a win, but these tips may help you smell the scent of victory and win your blackjack side bets. 

  • Check out the rules of the game and find the table with the best house rules. For example, knowing if the dealer stands on a hard or soft 17 is integral to establishing your strategy.
  • Select a table with more favourable odds. Compare and contrast the house edge offered by different casinos. 
  • Utilise a basic strategy chart if you’re still learning the ropes of the game.
  • Play online blackjack in the free demo mode to practise.
  • See if there are any casino bonus offers that you can use on blackjack tables. 
  • If your bankroll isn’t too large, the insurance bet may not be a wise choice. The insurance bet has pretty low odds of winning. 

Blackjack At EnergyCasino

There are pros and cons to placing blackjack side bets, but having a variety of bets and tables to choose from is essential. EnergyCasino offers some of the best side bets to go along with our impressive arsenal of blackjack tables.

If you don’t feel too confident about blackjack side bets just yet, EnergyCasino also offers a handful of online blackjack games where you can try out the game for free through the demo mode. While you may not find many bonus features, the demo version of blackjack can serve as the perfect starting point for beginners about to dip their toes in this incredible game. Practise forming your hands and beat the dealer all while leaving your money untapped. When accessing the demo, you’ll be set up with an amount of virtual money, predetermined by the game’s developer. 

Once you’ve gotten familiar with how things go down, you can test your skills at one of our many online or live blackjack tables. Get ready for totally immersive play, sleek studio design and a whole lot of side-bet fun! Don’t worry if you encounter blackjack side bets you’ve never seen before, as you can always access the rules of the game for a full explanation of how they work. 



⭐ What are blackjack side bets?

A side bet in blackjack is an additional wager that you can place alongside the main bet. They are optional and can add an additional layer of complexity to help spice up the gameplay.

⭐ Is placing side bets beneficial?

Depending on the side bet you place as well as your luck in general, you can potentially earn pretty high payouts. The only downside is that the odds of hitting these bets tend to be lower and may potentially increase the house edge as well. Whether they are worth the risk is up to you to decide.

⭐ What types of blackjack side bets can I place?

The types of side bets offered depend on which casino you play at and what variant of the game you’ve selected, especially when playing online. With that said, some of the most common side bets you’ll face include the 21+3 bet, the Perfect Pairs bet, and the Insurance bet (insurance isn’t really a side bet, but does require the player to increase their wager). All of these bets have different odds of winning and varied payouts as well.

⭐ What is the best blackjack side bet?

There is no single best blackjack side bet. It's up to you to evaluate the odds and determine whether placing a particular side bet is worth it.

⭐ What is 21+3 blackjack side bet?

The 21+3 side bet pays if your two cards and the dealer's upcard form one of the qualifying hands. The payouts differ depending on the hand's rank.

⭐ Where is the best place to play blackjack?

At EnergyCasino, of course! Enjoy a myriad of unique blackjack variants, both online and at our Live Casino, as well as an unmatched online casino experience.

⭐ Can I play blackjack for free?

Our online blackjack games come with a demo mode that allows you to place bets without putting your own cash on the line. Instead, you will be provided with virtual funds (a form of fake currency) that you can use to place bets and practise playing blackjack.