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How do side bets work in blackjack? Complete explanation!
How do side bets work in blackjack? Complete explanation!

16/02/2024 18:00

How do side bets work in blackjack? Complete explanation!

Blackjack, one of the most popular card games in online casinos worldwide, offers players not only the chance to compete against the dealer, but also to increase their chances of winning through side bets. This guide explains how side bets work, including the different types available, their advantages and disadvantages, and strategies for using them wisely.

'Introduction to Blackjack side bets' written in front of a blackjack table

How does blackjack work?

In online blackjack, also known as 21, the goal is to have a hand value higher than that of the dealer, without exceeding 21 in the process. This card game, played with one or more standard decks, combines luck with the necessary strategic insight. The value of the cards are simple: cards 2 to 10 have their face value, while jacks, queens, and kings are worth 10 points each. The ace is flexible and can count as 1 or 11, whichever is most favorable to your hand. The game starts by placing a bet, after which each player, including the dealer, receives two cards. As a player, you can choose to "hit" for an extra card, "stand" to pass, "double" your bet with only one extra card, or "split" if you have two equal cards to split them into two separate hands.

The dealer follows set rules, usually by continuing to take cards until a minimum of 17 is reached. If you beat the dealer without going over 21, you win. Blackjack, getting 21 with your first two cards, often pays out more. By making smart decisions based on both your own hand and the dealer's, you increase your chances of winning.

What are side bets in blackjack?

In addition to regular bets in blackjack, there is also such a thing as side bets. Side bets offer you extra chances to win because they are additional betting options.

These additional betting options in the form of side bets, add an extra dimension to the game and can potentially lead to higher payouts. But note that blackjack rules state that you must always place a standard bet on the blackjack game before you can bet on side bets. There is often a specific box on the table designated for these side bets, usually to the right of your normal betting box.

The beauty of side bets is that they add a whole new dimension to the game. They are about more than just beating the dealer; they can revolve around the first two cards you are dealt, the combination of your cards with the dealer's, or even specific card combinations. These bets play completely independent of the outcome of the main game. So you can lose your main hand but still win on your side bet and vice versa. This provides a nice twist that makes it extra attractive to players who are looking for extra winning opportunities and who don't mind taking a little more risk for the chance of a higher payout.

While the specific types of side bets vary depending on the online casino and table, they all introduce unique chances to win. In the next paragraph, we will dive deeper into the different types of side bets available in online blackjack, allowing you to strategically choose which side bets best suit your playing style.

Different types of side bets

There are a lot of different types of side bets. You have simple combinations to very complex ones that can increase your chances of extra winnings. One popular option is 'Perfect Pairs,' where you bet on getting a pair with your first two cards. Another exciting option is '21+3', where you bet on a combination of your own two cards and the dealer's face-up card, with payouts based on poker hands such as straights, flushes, and three of a kind. Learn everything about the 21+3 side bet here.

Then you have 'Insurance,' a side bet that gives you the chance to protect yourself from the dealer's blackjack. 'Lucky Ladies' focuses on achieving a total of 20 with your first two cards, while 'Bust It' lets you bet on the dealer busting himself, or scoring more than 21. For those seeking challenge and diversity, some blackjack games offer even more unique side bets such as 'Hot 3,' where you bet on the sum of your cards plus the dealer's to reach 19, 20, or 21.

Each side bet has its own payoffs and odds, adding an extra layer of strategy and excitement to the game. It is essential to understand each side bet you choose so that you can make an informed decision about where to bet your money.

What are the pros and cons of side bets?

Of course, as you would expect, there are advantages and disadvantages to side bets. One big advantage is the chance of high winnings on top of the winnings you can achieve with the standard game; some side bets can produce payouts that are many times your initial bet. This makes them particularly attractive to players who are looking to win big with relatively small bets. In addition, they enrich the gaming experience by adding more variety and strategic options to the game, providing increased excitement and entertainment value. After all, you go to an (online) casino primarily for your gaming pleasure.

However, the flip side of the coin should not be ignored. Side bets tend to have a higher house edge compared to standard blackjack play. This means that while there is the chance of high payouts, the chance of losing in the long run also increases. This higher house edge means that side bets are generally considered riskier than regular bets. Furthermore, because outcomes of side bets are based entirely on luck, the ability to influence one's own odds of winning through strategy or skill is lacking, unlike the basic blackjack game where decision-making skills play a role.

Alternative Blackjack strategies for side bets

Given the higher risks and house advantage associated with side bets, do you prefer to play it safe? Then there are plenty of other blackjack strategies you can consider to strengthen your game without unnecessarily risking your bankroll.

A good strategy is to limit side bets to times when you feel particularly lucky or when your winnings from the main game justify this extra gamble. That way, you won't be too dependent on side bets during your blackjack game.

In this way, you use side bets more as a condiment than as the main course of your blackjack experience. In addition, learning and applying basic blackjack strategies, such as when to hit, split or double down, can significantly improve your chances of success and provide a more structured approach to the game.

Another approach is to use bankroll management techniques to limit your bets on side bets to a small percentage of your total budget. The Martingale strategy is a good example of this. This strategy is used in games such as blackjack, roulette, and other casino games. This strategy involves doubling your bet after each loss, with the goal of recovering the lost money and making a small profit once you win a hand.