Taking Almost Any Other Side Bet in the Casino
Insurance isn’t the only side bet in the casino. It’s just the most common. One thing that side bets in the casino seem to have in common is lousy odds. Different variations of blackjack offer different side bets. They almost always carry an absurdly high house edge. Here are a couple of examples:
21+3 is a side bet that pays off based on your 2 cards combined with the dealer’s face-up card. If those 3 cards form one of the following poker hands, the side bet pays off:
A 3 of a kind
The most basic version of this side bet offers a payout of 9 to 1 if you hit any of those hands. The house edge on that bet is 3.24%. That’s not terrible when compared to many other casino games. After all, roulette has a house edge of 5.26%. But compared to the less than 1% you should expect at blackjack, it’s pretty bad. Another common blackjack side bet is called “super sevens.” You are betting that your hand will have a lot of 7s in it. The payout depends on how many 7s you wind up with and what the suits of those 7s are. If you get a 7 as your 1st card, the payoff is 3 to 1. If you get 7s on both your 1st 2 cards, the payoff depends on whether they are of the same suit. Unsuited 7s are worth 50 to 1, and suited 7s are worth 100 to 1.
If you get 7s on your 1st 3 cards, the payoff is 500 to 1 if they are unsuited, but it’s 5000 to 1 if they are suited. With big payoffs like these, you might think the house edge on this bet is low. You’d mistaken, though. The house edge for this bet is at least 11.4%, but it’s probably more like 12.6%. The difference is based on whether you get a 3rd card if the dealer has a blackjack. If you do, you see the 11.4% edge. That difference of 1.2% does little to make this into anything other than a lousy bet.