What are blackjack side bets, and are they worth it?

Blackjack is one of the most popular games at an online casino. It is simple enough for anyone to play – anyone who can count to 21, in any case – and at the same time tactical and cerebral enough to be enjoyed by tactical players. It doesn’t take long to play a hand, and when you’re well-versed enough in the game you have a genuine chance of winning pretty often. People may sneer at casino gaming as being all about random chance, but the truth is that there’s a lot you can do to make your online casino blackjack game more effective.

Blackjack also tends to offer a range of side bets that play the role of making things more “interesting”. Picking these bets as an aside to the main game can allow you to add to your winnings, or just present an extra challenge to a game which can, admittedly, become repetitive. So let’s have a look at some of the most popular side bets in online casino blackjack and see if they are worth your time.


The idea is that your cards, plus the dealer’s “up” card, will combine to make a straight, a flush, three of a kind or a straight flush, and if they do, you will win at odds dictated by the casino. Usually, they will be in the region of 5/1 on a flush, and can be as much as 40/1 for a straight flush. The chances of this side bet coming off are markedly lower than the odds offered, and looking out for the side bet is likely to distract you from playing the actual blackjack game properly. Unless you’ve got some spare chips you don’t mind wasting, this isn’t a good online casino blackjack side bet.


Insurance is a bet you can make to, in theory, guard against the dealer having blackjack when they are showing an Ace as their up card. It’s often recommended by people who know a little about blackjack, and never recommended by those who know a lot. Here’s a situation to consider. You have two tens, and the dealer is showing an Ace. You should win from here – there are many cards a dealer can take that won’t beat you, and they have to pull a ten-value card to get blackjack. Your hand should win, and if it does, the insurance bet will definitely lose. So all you’re doing is diminishing your winnings. The odds of an insurance bet are 2/1 – again, far too short considering the possibility of it paying out.

Perfect Pairs

The way to win a Perfect Pairs side bet is to pull two cards of the same value – with the multiplying factor of getting a bigger payout if they are also of the same colour, and more so if they are of the same suit, too. Guess what? The odds you are offered are not good value. To get two cards of the same value pays out at odds of 5/1, which is horrifically short for something that generally has a 1 in 26 chance of happening. Blackjack’s house edge, which is pretty slim in normal time, leaps above 10% if you take this side bet. The sensible play is just to play Blackjack as intended and use strategy to win as many hands as possible.