What Are Blackjack Side Bets and When Should You Make Them?

What Are Blackjack Side Bets and When Should You Make Them?

Blackjack Side Bets

Blackjack is the single most popular casino table game in the world. The game is revered for its simplicity as well as its fast-paced action and meaningful player decisions. There isn’t a casino anywhere in the world where table games are allowed, that isn’t littered with blackjack tables.

The game truly is a staple on every casino floor.

With so many players flocking to the game, casinos are always looking for ways to spice up the action on the venerable game.

The best way to do that is by adding side bets to the table, as it allows you to add action to the game, without fundamentally changing the way the game is played.

You never want to fix something that isn’t broken, so messing with the standard gameplay is a major no-no, but adding side bets can be a great way to make the game more fun for players that have been hitting, standing, and doubling down for decades. There are so many different blackjack side bets out there that we couldn’t even count them if we tried.

It seems like every day we see another new BJ side bet pop up on the casino floor. With so many different options, it can get a bit confusing and overwhelming for players at times.

That is where we here at TheSportsGeek come in, as we are here to guide you through all of these different blackjack side bet options.

Should you play them? Should you avoid them?

We will tell you which side bets are high value and which ones are bets that you want to stay away from.

What Are Blackjack Side Bets?

A blackjack side bet is any bet that isn’t your main wager. These are almost never mandatory bets, but they are quite popular, and outside of some high limit pits, basically every blackjack game is going to have at least 1 side bet option, and sometimes 2 or more.

Please Note:

While there are far too many blackjack side bets to name them all, I will list several of the most popular ones below, so you can get an idea of the types of bets that are offered.

These bets can vary from being based on your cards, the dealer’s cards, or a combination of both. Most blackjack side bets offer odds-based payouts and others offer progressive jackpot payouts.

Popular Blackjack Side Bets

21+3: This side bet combines blackjack with popular poker derivative game, 3 Card Poker.

This bet is completely independent of your blackjack hand and uses the player’s first 2 cards and the dealer’s up card, to make a 3 Card Poker hand. Wins are paid out on hands like 3 of a kind, straights, flushes, and straight flushes.

Match The Dealer While I am not sure if Match The Dealer was the very first blackjack side bet, it was certainly one of the first to gain widespread popularity.

Match The Dealer is simple enough, as you are trying to match 1 or both of your first 2 cards to the dealer’s up card. The best hand in Match The Dealer is 3 identical cards of the same suit and rank and it pays out big when it hits.

Royal Match Royal Match has been around for a long time and is a twist on the typical match the dealer side bets that were some of the very first blackjack side bets developed. Royal Match is where you are looking to match your first 2 cards.

Unlike the first versions of matching side bets, that focused on matching the dealer’s up card, Royal Match is based on the player’s first 2 cards. The best hand is a suited king and queen, thus the name royal match.

Blazing 7’s The Blazing 7s blackjack side bet is a side bet that features a progressive payout. If you get a 7 as one of your first 2 cards you win, that’s it! The more 7s that you get, the more you get paid out.

If you get 2 7s and the dealer gets a 7 as their up card, that is where the big money starts to come into play. The progressive payout is hit when your first 2 cards and the dealer’s up card are all suited 7s, and it can pay life-changing money for just a single dollar bet.

King’s Bounty Kings Bounty is another popular side bet that focuses mostly on kings and getting 20 on your first 2 cards.

You get paid out for any 2 card 20, with 20’s that are suited and have kings in them paying even more. The draw to this side bet is the huge payout of 1000-1 if you get 2 kings of spades, and the dealer has a blackjack.

When Should You Make Side Bets in Blackjack?

Now that you have a good idea of what a blackjack side bet is, and you have seen some of the most popular ones on the market, now we get to the real question, when should you make side bets in blackjack?

For me:

I almost always play the blackjack side bets, as I think they add some additional fun and excitement to what can sometimes a bit of a monotonous game.

One thing that you do have to take into account though, is that many of these side bets aren’t very player-friendly.

The casino didn’t add these bets to the layout for players to win money, they did it to increase their hold on the game.

The house advantage on blackjack side bets are nearly always significantly higher than the house advantage on the blackjack game itself.

Which Blackjack Side Bets I Like

Personally, I like the side bets that feature huge payouts or progressive jackpots. I rarely ever play big money when I am playing blackjack, so for me, the only way I am ever going to make a big score, is by playing the side bets.

I also like the blackjack side bets that serve as a bit of a hedge to my main bet. Some of these can be the side bets like 21+3 that have basically nothing to do with the actual game.

Getting dealt a pair of 2 isn’t a very good blackjack hand, but when the dealer rolls up another 2 as their up card, and you nail a big payout for trip deuces playing the 21+3 side bet, it turns your loser of a hand into a big win.

Which Blackjack Side Bets I Don’t Like

We just talked about how I like side bets that pay out big amounts, so it probably won’t surprise you that I am not a huge fan of blackjack side bets that only offer small payouts.

I already know that these side bets aren’t great value:

So if I am going to play them, I want a shot to hit it big. Payouts of 2-1 or 3-1 don’t do anything for me, so if those types of bets are the only option, generally I will pass on playing them. The other type of blackjack side bet that I am not a fan of is a bet that pays you out when you already have a good hand and are likely to win anyway.

Kings Bounty is an example of that, as when I get a 20, I am already happy as I have a very good chance of winning my main bet, I don’t really need the bonus to add a couple more bucks to my already strong hand.


If you are looking for some additional action the next time you sit down at a blackjack table, side bets are a great way to add some fun and excitement to the game. There are endless blackjack side bet options available, and we see new ones introduced all of the time.

The best place to find a variety of blackjack side bets for you to play, is online!

Online casinos tend to have way more blackjack side bets available than brick-and-mortar casinos. So, if you can’t find your favorite side bet at your local casino, you should give online blackjack a try, as they are sure to have just what you are looking for!

Many of these online casinos now even feature live dealers, dealing real cards, to give you the most authentic blackjack experience possible. If you are new to online gaming and you are looking for a place to play, make sure that you swing by TheSportsGeek’s online blackjack sites page, where we have exclusive offers from all of the top online casinos.

At TheSportsGeek we pride ourselves on delivering value to our readers, and you aren’t going to want to miss out on all of these offers! Thanks for reading and good luck playing blackjack side bets!


Author: Tamara Kim