Beyond the Basics: Mastering 21+3 Side Bets in Blackjack

21 3 side bets blackjack

Blackjack is a well-known and much-loved casino card game that features relatively simple gameplay. Many blackjack tables have been enhanced with a variety of optional side bets, such as 21+3.

  • There are many different types of blackjack side bets, but they are all based on the same principles.

  • Unlike the main wager, they are entirely optional.

  • Their outcome is not dependent on who wins the main game.

  • They tend to provide higher payouts than 3:2.

  • Their result is usually determined when the initial cards are dealt.


The 21+3 Blackjack Side Bet

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To understand what is 21 3 in blackjack, it helps to have a basic knowledge of both blackjack and winning poker hands. In most poker games, you'll need to create a five-card hand that's stronger than the ones of your opponent. The 21+3 blackjack side bet is based on a three-card adaptation of five of these winning hands.

This side bet is based on your first two cards and the dealer's face-up card. Together, these three cards must create one of the following hands for this bet to be won.

  • Flush - three cards of the same suit.
  • Straight - three cards in sequence.
  • Three of a kind - three cards of the same rank.
  • Straight flush - three cards of the same suit in sequence.
  • Suited three of a kind - three cards of the same suit and rank.

Three of a kind combinations are possible as most blackjack games are played with between six and eight decks.

21+3 Odds and Payouts

Side bets exist to make the player's experience a little more interesting. While these bets, including the 21+3, offer higher potential prizes than the maximum 3:2 that you can win in the main game, they have generally lower odds.

In the following table, we've outlined the main odds and payouts of the 21+3 side bet. These are based on a six-deck game but may vary from one table to another.

Result Odds Payouts
Flush 0.058424 5/1
Straight 0.031021 10/1
Straight flush 0.002068 30/1
Three of a kind 0.005041 40/1
Suited three of a kind 0.000207 100/1

The overall house edge on the 21 3 side bet is 13.39%. Moreover, some games don't differentiate between the different poker hands and simply pay out 9 to 1 on any winning bet. You can check the exact rules and payouts of this and all other side bets by viewing the paytable of your chosen blackjack game.

The Top 3 Side Bet

In addition to offering the main 21 3 side bet, several blackjack tables also accept the so-called Top 3 propositional bet. This optional wager is only available on virtual or live games that are based on multiple decks, typically four, six, or eight. You won't be able to find this bet on Single Deck Blackjack or similar variants.

The Top 3 side bet focuses entirely on the three most valuable outcomes of the 21+3 side bet, namely the suited three of a kind, the straight flush, and unsuited the three of a kind. Once again, the outcome of this bet is determined by your first two cards and the dealer's face-up card.

Winning a Top 3 side bet pays out between 90/1 and 270/1, far higher than the standard 21+3 payouts. However, the reason for this is that the probability of winning is lower.


How do you Place and Win a 21+3 Side Bet?

Here are the steps that you need to follow to place a 21+3 side bet in a blackjack game on Betfair.

  1. Place your main wager.
  2. Place your 21+3 side bet wager.
  3. Watch as the dealer or computer deals the cards.
  4. Find out whether you've won.
  5. Receive an applicable side bet payout instantly.

You won't need to wait to find out whether you've won as this and most other side bets are settled before you have a chance to play your hand.


Are There Any Good 21+3 Blackjack Strategies?

Unfortunately not. While there is a blackjack chart that can help you determine the best way to play your hand, there is no strategy that can guide you in placing optional side bets. There are many different ways to win this bet and while the odds are relatively low, they are based on thousands of rounds.

As is the case for any casino game, you should only place blackjack side bets if you can afford to lose your wager. It's always better to avoid this wager if you've got a limited bankroll as you'll always need to place a mandatory main wager in addition to the optional side bet. However, you can also seek ways to enhance your bankroll by, for example, participating in welcome or ongoing promotions offered by Betfair.

It's also a good idea to look at alternative blackjack side bets, such as Perfect Pairs or Over/Under. Some of these bets have better odds than 21+3, so you might find them to be better suited for you.


Key Takeaways

  • 21 3 is an optional side bet found in many blackjack games.
  • To win the 21+3 side bet, your first two cards and the dealer's face-up card must combine to create one of five winning poker hands.
  • The maximum payout from a 21 3 side bet is 100/1 that's paid out when the three cards combine to create a suited three of a kind.
  • The odds of winning a 21+3 bet are lower than those of winning a blackjack game, however, the potential payouts are also much higher.
  • Always play responsibly and place optional side bets, such as 21+3, when you afford to do so.

Prices quoted in copy are correct at time of publication but liable to change.