14th May2019

Blackjack Variations and Side Bets

by James Smith


There’s little doubt that in terms of casino games, blackjack is one of, if not, the most popular. It’s centuries-old and easy to learn, as well as play, making it a good choice for beginners. However, its simplicity often leads to players wanting more. Luckily casinos have cottoned on to this and have introduced a number of variations to the much-loved game. Online, you’ll be able to find countless variations of blackjack, with slight twists on the rules or gameplay, and many with side bets too – so not only can you place your main wager, there are other optional bets you can place in addition, to spice things up – and hopefully win more money!

Here, we will take a look at some of the variations to blackjack and the side bets that can be played alongside the main game – meaning even the most ardent of blackjack players won’t ever get bored!

Perfect Pairs

Perfect pairs is played in exactly the same way as a standard game of eight-deck blackjack. The card values are the same; players have the same options for each hand; and pay-outs remain the same as standard blackjack However, it varies in its side bets. A perfect pairs side bet is one that suggests your first two cards will be the same, and therefore pairs. There are three bets that can be placed: a perfect pair is one that consists of two identical cards, in rank and suit; a mixed pair is one that consists of two cards of the same rank, but different coloured suits; and a coloured pair is one that consists of two identical cards in rank and colour, but different suits. The pay-outs vary for each, but are most lucrative for perfect pairs, which are paid out at 30:1. Mixed pairs are 6:1, while coloured pairs are 12:1.

Blackjack Switch

Blackjack switch is an exciting variation of the main game, which can be played with six or eight decks and while the options and card values remain the same as the standard game, this is where the similarities end. The main difference of blackjack switch is that players have two hands of cards to play with – and can switch the top card of each hand before gameplay begins. This does mean that two bets are placed, rather than one, but having the ability to switch could strengthen your hand. Each player will play two hands in turn, before the dealer plays theirs. The side bet in blackjack switch is called Super Match and wins if your first four cards contain a pair (or better). The match is based on the card rank only and the following are winning bets (and their pay-outs): pair (1:1), three of a kind (5:1), two pair (8:1) and four of a kind (40:1).

Double Attack

Double attack blackjack is definitely more complex, due to the number of rules, but once you’ve overcome that, it’s a really fun variation with plenty of bets to be placed. The game is played with eight decks of cards, but unusually, these are Spanish decks (meaning the 10s have been removed); however, the ranks are still same (i.e. face cards worth 10, and aces, 1 or 11). The game begins with the dealer receiving one card, face up and then it’s down to the players to place their bets. If you think the dealer has been dealt a weak first card, you can then place a double attack bet.

Once each player has received their two cards (face up) and the dealer receives their second (face down), the standard blackjack rules apply. Players are able to hit or stick as normal, but have the options to surrender or split their hand, or double (which doubles the initial bet and double attack bet). Doubling down also sees players receive as many cards as they like, as opposed to the usual rule, which sees players receive just one additional card.

As well as the double attack bet, there’s a ‘bust it!’ side bet which is a bet based on the dealer going bust with exactly three cards. The rule applies only to the third card, so would be null if the dealer receives four or more cards and the bet must be placed before the dealer’s first card is revealed. There are a number of pay-outs to this rule, which vary in price: busts with face card (3:1); busts with 9 (6:1), 8 (8:1), 7 (10:1), 6 (15:1); same colour 888 (50:1); and same suit 888 (200:1).

If you’re bored of the standard game of blackjack, why not give one of these, or one of the other many variations of the game a go? You can find plenty of games at Betfair Casino.

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