Blackjack Side Bet Variations

Published: 11/11/2013

More so than any other casino table game, blackjack lends itself to the creation of side bets. Literally dozens of variations exist. Most of these are based on the initial cards received by either the player or the dealer or a combination of the two. In general, they are not wise wagers. The associated House edge tends to be much higher than the casino’s advantage on the primary bet and additional funds are better off gambled on additional hands, splits and double downs.

21 + 3 – This side bet offers payouts based upon the player’s first two cards plus the dealer’s up card. If the three cards form a flush, a straight, a straight flush or three of a kind the side bet pays 9 to 1. The House edge is 3.24%. An “Xtreme” version of this side bet pays 5 to 1 for a flush, 10 to 1 for a straight, 20 to 1 for a straight flush or 30 to 1 for three of a kind. The House edge is a whopping 20.11%.

Bet the Set – Also known as “Pair Square,” this blackjack side bet wins 10 to 1 when the player’s first two cards are a pair. If the pair is sited, the payout is usually 12 to 1 or sometimes 15 to 1. The House edge can vary from 3.85% to 10.6%.

Cowboys & Cowgirls – The player may make a wager on either of the two side bet options. Cowboys will pay even money if the dealer’s up card is a red card other than a three. It pays 3 to 2 if the card is a red Queen or King. By contrast, Cowgirls will pay even money if the dealer’s up card is a black card other than a three. It pays 3 to 2 if the card is a black Queen or King. For either side bet, the House edge is about 3.85%.

Hi/Low – This is a fun and easy side bet on whether the player’s first card will be higher or lower than the dealer’s up card. It pays even money for a correct prediction, but the dealer wins all ties except Aces, which results in a push. The House edge is 5.43% to 6.90%, depending on how many decks are in play.

Match the Dealer – This side bet is sometimes seen with Spanish 21 as well as standard blackjack. The player wins if either or both of the initial two cards dealt match the dealer’s up card. The bet pays 4 to 1 for an unsuited match, 8 to 1 for two unsuited matches, 11 to 1 for a single suited match, 15 to 1 for a suited match plus an unsuited match, and 22 to 1 for two suited matches. The House edge is 4.06%.

Perfect Pairs – One of the most common side bets offered worldwide, this wager pays at least 5 to 1 if the player’s initial two cards form a pair. A “perfect pair” is two identical cards, such as two Kings of spades and it pays either 25 to 1 or 30 to 1. A “colored pair” occurs if the two cards are of the same rank and color, such a King of clubs and a King of spades. It pays 10 to 1 or 12 to 1. The House edge can vary from 3.37% to 7.95%.

Royal Match – This side bet pays a bonus of 3 to 1 or 5 to 2 for an “easy match” when the player’s initial two cards are suited. Ff the first two cards are the suited King and Queen, it is a Royal Match worth 10 to 1 or 25 to 1, depending on how many decks are in play. The House edge can vary from 3.77% to 6.66%.

Super Sevens – This side bet pays out for seven in the player’s hand. If the first card dealt is a seven, it pays 3 to 1. If the first two cards are both seven, it pays 100 to 1 if they are suited and 50 to 1 otherwise. For three sevens, the payouts are 500 to 1 unsuited and 5,000 to 1 suited. Some 92.3% of all hands will be losers and the House edge is 12.61%.

Wild Aces – Players who receive an Ace as their first card may wager $5~$100 on the next card having a face value of 10 for a payout of 2:1. The amount of the side bet may not exceed the value of the original wager. Depending on how many decks are in play, the House edge can vary from 5.88% to 7.47%.

Published on: 11/11/2013

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