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21+3 Blackjack - A Guide to the Most Popular Side Bet

The best way to spice up your favourite game and get another shot at luck! Blackjack is the king of side bets, and 21+3 Blackjack, in particular, takes the proverbial cake. But what does 21+3 mean in Blackjack?

Among the numerous types of side bets in Blackjack, 21+3 has cemented itself as the most popular in the last two decades for various reasons. In this piece, we will explain how 21+3 works and what to keep an eye out for when placing this favoured side bet.

What Is 21+3 in Blackjack?

21+3 refers to a side bet combining the player's two cards and the dealer's upcard. 21+3 blackjack rules stipulate this side bet must be placed before the cards are dealt and on top of your initial wager. It's usually available at all Blackjack tables, but you can always ask the dealer to confirm.

There are multiple winning hands in Blackjack 21+3, meaning you have more ways to win than in the main beat-the-dealer round.

21 3 Blackjack is one of the more popular side bets, thanks in equal part to the appealing odds and the mashup of classic Blackjack and three-card poker. If you love these two games, you will enjoy adding an extra pinch of excitement to your Blackjack routine with an occasional 21+3 bet.

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How Does 21+3 Work in Blackjack?

In 21+3 Blackjack, you make a side bet on your first two cards and the dealer's face-up card. There are five winning hands in 21+3 Blackjack:

Flush – Three cards of the same suit in no particular order.

Straight – Three cards in sequential order, like 7-8-9, regardless of the suit; in a straight hand, Aces act as either high or low.

Three-of-a-Kind – Three cards of the same face value irrespective of the suit.

Straight flush – Three cards in sequential order and the same suit.

Suited three-of-a-Kind – Three cards of the same value and the same suit.

The side bet is placed before the dealer deals your cards, and the stake is usually placed in a designated box on the table.

Should your initial two cards and the dealer's upcard make up one of the five hands, you win your 21+3 bet. Otherwise, you lose your side wager.

Of course, before playing a side bet, you should familiarise yourself with Blackjack rules; the game is simple, so it won't take much of your time to grasp it.

Odds of Blackjack 21+3 Side Bet

One of the reasons why 21+3 side bets in Blackjack are so popular are the odds. Unlike winning a 2:1 odds bet when beating the dealer, side bet odds go as high as 100:1!

Here's a breakdown of 21+3 Blackjack odds:

  • Flush pays 5:1
  • Straight pays 10:1
  • Three-of-a-Kind pays 30:1
  • Straight flush pays 40:1
  • Suited three-of-a-Kind pays 100:1

Generally, the house edge for 21+3 side bets is higher than that for the main Blackjack game. This is because the odds are more in your favour, so the casino wants to keep a (larger) portion of your winnings.

21+3 Blackjack odds vary based on the specific casino rules and the number of decks used, so it's always best to double-check before sitting at the table.

Is It Possible to Beat 21+3?

While they do offer more ways to win (betting on five outcomes in the case of 21+3), most side bets offer little chance of winning due to their substantially higher house edge compared to the main Blackjack game.

When playing an 8-deck shoe round, the house advantage on 21 plus 3 bets is 2.74%, which is far greater than in a regular Blackjack round (coming in at 0.4%-2% at most casinos). And if you decrease the number of decks to, let's say, 2, the house edge jumps up to a dizzying 7.26%; for one deck, it surges further up to 13.3%.

So the question isn't can 21+3 be beaten, but whether it's worth it. Yes, the more decks you have, the greater your chances of winning, but the odds aren't enough to offset the astronomical house edge. And since none of the usual Blackjack strategies apply to side bets, it's best not to call them too often; this is one of the best Blackjack tips we can give you.

You should call 21+3 Blackjack side bets just for fun rather than using them as a sustainable manner to increase your winnings. Engage in side bets occasionally to speed up the pace of a round and spice up the gameplay, but don't call them in every round, as they are simply not worth it.

Why 21+3 Is the Most Popular Side Bet?

Because it's fun! By putting in a 21+3 side wager, you spice up the gameplay and make Blackjack faster-paced, and we all know that gambling should be entertaining.

But as is usually the case with having fun, you shouldn't push it: 21 plus 3 may be an exciting addition to a regular Blackjack round, but it's not a viable way to build up your winnings given the high house edge and volatility of this type of bet.

For the best results, you should stick to the tried and tested basic Blackjack strategy and work your way from there, occasionally pulling off a 21+3 side bet to liven up the atmosphere at the table.