The Lowdown on Casino Side Bets

Table games are popular with casino players at land-based and online casinos. One of the reasons for their popularity is the fact that players’ moves can affect the outcome of each round. By applying optimal strategies, players can decrease the house edge and gain leverage over the casino. While these skill-based games cannot earn you as large prizes as slot games, for instance, they provide you with higher odds of winning when played properly.

While main bets involve less risk while offering modest payouts, side bets are a riskier option and promise some sizeable prizes. While adding more excitement to the gameplay, they come with higher house edges. If you are interested in the most popular optional bets available at table games, you have landed on the right page.

Blackjack Side Bets

Blackjack is famous for multiple game variants it comes in. Each of Blackjack variants has its own side bets you can play if you want to. Here are some of the most popular ones.

Perfect Pairs

Perfect Pairs is a Blackjack side bet that wins when you have a pair of cards. Depending on a pair you get, it can pay from 5:1 up to 30:1. The most valuable pair is one of the same colour and suit while the least rewarding pair is that of mixed colours and suits. If you are dealt a pair of cards of the same colour and mixed suits, you will win a 10:1 payout. This side bet comes with a 6% house edge.

21+3

It is one of the most popular Blackjack optional bets. Combining the rules of standard Blackjack and Three Card Poker, the side bet wins when the player’s two cards and the dealer’s face-up card create one of the poker hands. It can be a three-of-a-kind, flush, straight or straight flush. The 21+3 side bet may have different payouts and house edges. In most cases, it pays 9:1 and comes with a house edge of 3.2386%. Yet, there are certain bet variants where the top prize can go up to 270:1 if you create a suited three-of-a-kind hand. In general, the 21+3 side bet’s house edge can start at 2% and exceed 3%.

Match the Dealer

Available in some standard Blackjack games and in Spanish 21, Match the Dealer is a side bet that wins when the player’s hand matches the dealer’s face-up card or both of them. The cards may match in rank or in rank and suit, which is criteria that determines how much you win on this bet. Payouts can be from 4:1 up to 28:1. The house edge of the Match the Dealer side bet is around 3%.

Baccarat Side Bets

Another popular casino game that comes with multiple side bets depending on the table you join. Here are some of the most common optional bets.

Dragon Bonus Bet

This side bet can be placed on the Banker or the Player and by playing it you bet that the chosen side will win with 9 points or at least 4 points. Its popularity owes to the fact that it pays up to 30:1 when the chosen hand wins with natural 9 points. Other outcomes pay lower prizes ranging from 1:1 for 4 points up to 10:1 for 8 points. The house edge for this side bet depends on the side you place it on, being 2.65% when betting on the Player and 9.37% on the Banker.

Most Popular Baccarat Side Bets

Pairs Side Bet

Pairs is a side wager that can be found at Baccarat tables in different variations. Basically, it wins when the first two cards dealt to the side you have placed your bet on form a pair. A winning pair on either side pays 11:1 and the house edge varies depending on the number of decks in play. When played with 8 decks, the house edge is 10.36% while with 6-deck shoe, it increases to 11.25%.

Some Baccarat tables offer a Perfect Pairs side bet that can pay up to 200:1 but it requires that both the Player and the Banker have a pair of cards that match in rank and suit in the first hand. The house edge rate depends on the number of decks in play and the prizes the side bet pays. It can be from 2.99% up to 17.07%.

Roulette Side Bets

The game of Roulette per se offers multiple betting options. However, there are not many side bets you can play at virtual or live tables offering it.

Lucky Ball Side Bets

Lucky Ball Roulette is a live casino game by Authentic Gaming that offers four side bets paying bonuses up to 120:1. They are called Lucky Ball side bets and are defined by a colour. You can place a green, blue, orange or purple Lucky Ball bet. The green bet pays the biggest bonus prize of 120:1, blue pays 100:1, orange 75:1 while the purple bet awards 60:1. To win on these side bets you need to predict which Roulette number and in which colour will be selected. The house edge for these side bets ranges between 4.05% for the Green Number bet and 6.08% for the Purple and Orange Number bet.

Poker Side Bets

At online casinos, you can choose from multiple Poker variants. Live Poker tables powered by Evolution Gaming offer different side bets with some of them paying progressive jackpot prizes.

AA Bonus Bet – Live Casino Hold’em

AA Bonus or simply Bonus is a side bet which considers only your hand and the first three community cards. To win with it, you need to create a pair of Aces or better. A pair of Aces grants a payout of 7:1 while the biggest payout is secured with a royal flush awarding 100:1. This optional bet comes with a house edge of 6.26%.

Jumbo 7 Bonus Bet – Live Casino Hold’em

This is an additional bet that can win you a progressive jackpot. It pays on a 7-Card Straight Flush and you can win on it even if you fold or get beaten by the dealer. This side bet has an RTP of 81.64%, meaning that it comes with a house edge of 18.36%.

5+1 Bonus Bet – Live Caribbean Stud Poker

Available in Live Caribbean Stud Poker, the 5+1 Bonus side bet requires you to make the best 5-card poker hand by combining your five cards and the dealer’s initial face-up card. Payouts start at 7:1 paid by a three of a kind and go up to 1,000:1 with a royal flush hand. The 5+1 Bonus bet has a house edge of 8.56%.

Trips Bonus Bet – Live Ultimate Texas Hold’em

Another side bet that requires you to make the best 5-card poker hand. Unlike the previous one, the Trips Bonus side bet pays when you create a hand by combining your two cards with three community cards. A three of a kind pays 4:1 while the top prize of 50:1 is paid on a royal flush. The RTP of this side bet is 98.1%, meaning that it has a house edge of 1.9%.

Six Card Bonus Bet – Live Three Card Poker

To win with the Six Card Bonus bet, you need to create the best 5-card poker hand combining your three cards and the dealer’s three cards. To do so, you must have at least a three of a kind hand which pays 7:1 or better. The top prize is granted on a royal flush hand paying 1,000:1. The RTP of this Three Card Poker side bet is 91.44%, which translates to an 8.85% house edge.

Are Side Bets Worth It?

As you can see, side bets come with a higher house edge, meaning that it is more likely that you won’t win on them. Keep in mind that luck plays a big role when playing these bets, which means that you cannot do much to increase your odds. What you can do is set aside the budget for a side bet to your liking only and give it a go from time to time for a chance to win a bigger prize than one offered by the main bet.

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