When you're playing online blackjack, there's nothing to compel you to play a side bet. To take part in a hand, the only wager you must place is the main one, where you're betting on beating the dealer to 21.
Side bets can only be placed in addition to the main bet, never on their own. As an additional bet, they will increase the amount you wager on each hand, so it might not be ideal if you're on a tight budget.
The only thing to consider is the fact that side bets have a much higher risk. The house edge is greater on a side bet compared to the main bet, which means that your odds of winning are lower.
So why place a side bet of 21+3? Simple. Because there's the chance to win much higher prizes. The amount you receive for a winning 21+3 side bet depends on the exact cards, and we'll look at this in more detail below. However, for the best type of winning 21+3 hand, you could collect a prize of up to 100/1 - which explains the attraction.
When the cards are dealt, the dealer will give you two cards initially before dealing themselves two cards. One of the dealer cards will be placed face up, the other face down. The side bet of 21+3 is played using your two cards, plus the dealer's one visible card.
If you’ve ever played poker before, the concepts in 21+3 will be very familiar. In fact, it’s often described as a three-card mini poker game.
Getting a flush (same suit), consecutive numbers (a straight) or three of a kind will mean you win the 21+3 side bet.
The amount you receive will depend on the cards that were visible:
● Flush (the same suit) - 5/1
● Straight (consecutive numbers) - 10/1
● Three of a kind (the same face value but can be different suits) - 30/1
● Straight flush (consecutive numbers AND of the same suit) - 40/1
● Suited triple (three of a kind AND of the same suit) - 100/1
The exact prizes that you receive may be slightly different, so you should check at the casino before playing.