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Should You Engage in Blackjack Side Bets While Playing Online Blackjack Games?

Staff Writer 08/02/2023 Blog 82 views

When it comes to playing online blackjack games, both the regular ones and live casino versions, players are often presented with exciting blackjack side bets. These optional wagers allow players to invest on specific situations or combinations of cards. Side bets even have much higher payouts than the standard 1:1.

While this can be a thrilling notion with much grander potential rewards, blackjack sidebetting also comes with its risks. This is because these special situations or combinations are much harder to achieve and occur quite rarely. A question of risk versus reward is presented that makes us wonder are blackjack side bets worth it? Let us explore whether you should engage in them.

Understanding Side Bets in Online Blackjack

As we mentioned blackjack side bets are optional wagers alongside the main hand that usually have a lower maximum bet limit. They presented and work in such a way that you can win or lose the main hand without affecting your side bet outcome.

Common examples include the popular 21+3 or Perfect Pairs side bets and even Guess the Dealer’s Card-style side bets. The poker-inspired 21+3 side bet has you wager on whether your two opening cards and the dealer’s upcard will score a poker combinations such as a straight or flush.

Furthermore, the Perfect Pairs bet has you bet on whether your first two cards will form a suited or colored pair. Even riskier are the Guess the Dealer’s Card-themed side bets where you are trying to predict what the dealer’s opening card or card will be or how many cards will they draw.

The Attraction of Side Bets

Whatever the case, these side bets all operate under the assumption that you are willing to risk your wager for a rare outcome. They usually have structured payouts based on the likelihood of their results. For example, the Perfect Pairs side bet pays lower if you get a suited pair but pays drastically more if that pair is both of the same suit and color.  21+3 pays higher the more prestige your poker combination is. These payouts can reach drastic amounts up to 50:1 or even 100:1 in some special cases.

These drastically higher payouts than the base hand of blackjack which can only reward you with 1:1 or 3:2 in most cases draw you in with big numbers. Who could blame us, they appeal to players who seek that thrill of high-risk high-reward gameplay. They even allow you to showcase your knowledge of poker for example with the 21+3 bets.

But are they worth it?

Side Bets In Terms of Basic Blackjack Strategy

One of the critical factors to consider when deciding whether to engage in side bets during online blackjack is how they align with basic blackjack strategy. As you know, this is the optimal set of moves you should make for the best results. As per the basic blackjack strategy which aims to maximize wins and minimize losses the side bets have the following problems:

  • Distraction from Optimal Moves – At the end of the day, blackjack is about making optimal moves for your main hand. Side bets can divert a player’s attention from the main blackjack hand and basic strategy. As players focus on predicting specific card combinations, they may deviate from the optimal decisions and make suboptimal plays that increase the house edge.
  • Higher House Edge – Speaking of house edge, side bets drastically increase the house edge in favor of the casino. They have much lower RTP values and while they promise massive payouts, your wagers end up in favor of the house.
  • Impact on Bankroll – Since side bets usually have lesser maximum bets and are really easy to opt in, you may end up just betting on side bets every main hand round without even noticing. This might not even catch your attention as you are betting lower values over and over again with each hand. This can have drastic impacts on your bankroll.

So should you engage in blackjack sidebetting?


The short answer is generally not. However, some players enjoy the high-risk high-reward volatile gameplay of side bets. If you must engage in side betting, always open the paytable of the game first. Then scroll to the section where the rules and payouts of side bets are outlined. Check each side-bet separately in terms of RTP values and pick to invest in one that has the highest RTP. At least in this way, you will be minimizing the casino’s house edge as much as possible.

All in all, responsible gaming and a thorough understanding of the odds of each side-bet is essential. This is how you make informed decisions. If you encounter a game where side bets have bad RTP, it might be better to abstain from them. You can always find a different game with better side bet odds.

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