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Understanding Side Bets in Blackjack

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Lisa Dawson

My name is Lisa Dawson. I'm a passionate card game player with many years of expertise in the field. Enjoy my guides and articles!

Blackjack is one of the most popular card games played in both offline and online casinos. While the main objective remains to beat the dealer by getting close to 21 without busting, there’s an interesting twist that often goes unnoticed by beginners: side bets. Side bets in blackjack can add an extra layer of excitement and potential profit. In this guide, we’ll dive deep into understanding side bets, including their types, benefits, and how they work.

What Are Side Bets?

Side bets are additional wagers that players can place alongside their primary blackjack bet. These bets are typically made before any cards are dealt and offer a variety of ways to win beyond the standard gameplay. They often come with higher payouts but also carry more risk.

Popular Types of Side Bets

There are several common side bets you might encounter while playing blackjack. Here are a few:

  • Perfect Pairs: This bet wins if your first two cards form a pair. The payout varies based on whether it’s a mixed pair, colored pair, or a perfect pair (same suit).
  • 21+3: This bet is based on your first two cards and the dealer’s up card. It combines elements of poker, rewarding payouts for a flush, straight, three-of-a-kind, or a straight flush.
  • Insurance: Offered when the dealer’s up card is an Ace, this bet pays out if the dealer has a blackjack. It’s generally considered a risky bet.
  • Over/Under 13: This wager allows you to bet on whether your initial hand’s total will be over or under 13.

The Benefits and Drawbacks of Side Bets

While side bets can spice up your blackjack experience, they come with their own set of pros and cons.

Benefits Drawbacks
Higher potential payouts Higher house edge
Adds variety to the game Increased likelihood of losing money in the long run
Allows for more strategic options Requires additional bankroll

How Side Bets Work

To place a side bet, simply put your chips in the designated area on the table before any cards are dealt. Each type of side bet has its own rules and payouts, so it’s essential to understand them before wagering. For example, in the Perfect Pairs side bet, your payout depends on the type of pair you get:

  • Mixed Pair: Pays out at 5:1
  • Colored Pair: Pays out at 10:1
  • Perfect Pair: Pays out at 30:1

Strategies for Side Bets

Given the higher house edge associated with side bets, a cautious approach is often recommended. Here’s a basic strategy guide:

  • Understand the odds and payouts of each side bet before participating.
  • Allocate a small percentage of your bankroll specifically for side bets.
  • Avoid making side bets just to chase losses.
  • Use side bets to complement your main strategy rather than relying solely on them for profits.


Side bets in blackjack offer an exciting way to enhance your gaming experience. While they bring the possibility of higher rewards, it’s crucial to understand that they come with greater risks. By knowing the different types of side bets, their benefits, and drawbacks, and employing a sound strategy, you can make the most out of these intriguing wagers. Always remember to gamble responsibly and enjoy the game!

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