# 21 + 3 Side Bet: How Does it Work?

21 + 3 is two games in one: you play a standard game of blackjack while playing a small game of Three Card Poker. The player uses their original two cards and a dealer’s up card to make a ranking three card poker hand. Thus, you can stand to win a sizeable amount of money if fortune falls in your favour.

## How to Make the 21 Plus 3 Blackjack Side Bet

Before the cards are laid out, when you are placing your wager, you have two choices. The first is on your blackjack bet and how much you want to stake. Making this bet is not optional if you want to continue with the Three Card Poker wager. Once the minimum amount is staked on blackjack, you have the option of making the Three Card Poker side bet.

The side bet is played before the hand of blackjack. Once the player has received 2 cards the dealer will lay down a 1 up card. These are the 3 cards used in the bet. If they total a straight flush, 3 of a kind, straight or flush then the side bet gets paid out and the hand continues as a standard game of blackjack.

## How to Play Blackjack 21+3

When you make a wager on a standard hand of blackjack, you can make a small side wager. The caveat being that the small side wager is based on 3-card poker rather than the hand of blackjack.

The side wager is that the original two cards, plus the dealer’s up card, will combine to create a winning hand of poker. If they make a straight, flush, three of a kind, or straight flush, the player wins. Side wagers pay out at 9-to-1 no matter what.

The game itself is dealt as it would be for a standard hand of blackjack. Before the cards are dealt, a side bet is paid and the first cards are dealt. When the 3-card wagers have been settled, the hand of blackjack continues as it would normally.

## Variations on the 21 + 3 Side Bet

There are variations to the game, depending on the casino you play at. A standard version will pay out with a 9 to 1 ratio for each winning hand. This is irrespective of its ranking, so a straight flush would pay out the same as 3 of a kind. If you want one that uses a sliding pay scale based on the hand, then you need to look for a game of 21 + 3 extreme.

When playing a standard game of 21 + 3, you can expect a house edge of around 13.39% This may contain variations depending on the casino you are in, which can shift the house edge from anywhere between 1.60% to 33.44%.

It has many ways in which the player can win and has a return to player of over 95% depending on which version is played.

## 21 + 3: Winning Odds and Payouts

Flush – A flush contains 3 cards all in the same suit. It has 292,896 combinations with odds of 73:117. A flush will give a payout of 5 to 1.

Straight – A straight occurs when the two cards dealt to the player and the dealer’s up card run in consecutive order. For example, this may be a 5-6-7. This is irrespective of the suit. A flush has 155520 combinations with odds of 31:969. It gives a payout of 10 to 1.

3 of a Kind – These are 3 cards of the same value or face cards. When they all belong to the same suit, it becomes a suited 3 of a kind in version 7, which pays the maximum on a live dealer game of 100 to 1. A 3 of a kind on 21+3 Xtreme has 26,312 combinations with odds of 1:199. It provides a payout of 20 to 1.

Straight flush – A straight flush is the same as a flush, being that the 2 cards of the players and 1-up card of the dealer must be in consecutive order. However, for a straight flush, they must be of the same suit. A straight flush has 10,368 combinations with odds of 1:499. It also has a payout of 30 to 1.

## How Much Can I win on a Blackjack 21+3 side bet?

Though the payout odds can differ depending on the casino, they are largely similar. Most casinos round up the side bet to 9-5to-1 odds no matter what kind of hand you have. The probability of each possible hand occurring might vary but the payouts remain the same.

Remember that there are just a few ways to win the side bet in Blackjack 21+3. Players can combine their two cards and the dealer’s face up card to form a straight, flush, straight flush, three-of-a-kind, or suited three-of-a-kind.

You generally aren’t going to win big making a ton on any winning side bet hand, but it is still a nice way to gain a chunk on your bankroll. Check with the establishment in which you wish to play to find out the odds before sitting down at the table.

## 21+3 Blackjack with Top 3

The top 3 is another propositional bet some casinos offer used in conjunction with the 21 + 3 game. You can find it on blackjack tables offering 21 + 3 that have a 4, 6 or 8 deck shoe.

Bets of this kind can only take place if both the blackjack wager and the 21 + 3 poker wager are made. It is based on a 3-card hand using the dealer’s 1-up card and the player’s 2 initial cards to form a 3-card poker hand. 3 of kind, straight flush and 3 of a kind suited get paid according to the pay table.

Winning occurs when the player’s original 2 cards with the dealer’s card combine for a winning hand. The odds are 3 of a kind suited at 270 to 1, a straight flush at 180 to 1, and 3 of a kind at 90 to 1.

## Tips for Winning at Blackjack 21+3 Side Bet Game

Just like winning at blackjack, it helps to be very good with math before sitting down and attempting side bets. It helps to know the mathematical odds of winning, the payout odds, and a little bit of card-counting before sitting down.

Targeting flushes is the best bet. Since there are 10 of each suit, the odds of making a three-card flush is roughly 1:480. Depending on distribution and the number of shoes used in a casino deck, that can change. There is no sure way to win in this game but you can give yourself a means of cutting down on the house edge.

## Advantages of 21 + 3 Bets

For a basic strategy when playing the game, you don’t need to deviate too much from normal Three Card Poker and blackjack strategy. As decks get shuffled after each round, it does make it hard to predict what cards may come up in the side bet. The only way you can tip the odds in your favour is by utilising any casino bonuses.

One of its advantages is that it is an easy game to get to grips with, excellent for beginners who have a rudimentary knowledge of blackjack and poker. However, not all casinos will offer the game, even online, so you may need to search around for it.

## FAQ

The “21 + 3” blackjack side bet looks at the player’s two cards and the dealer’s up-card. If these three cards make a flush, straight, three-of-a-kind, or straight flush, the player wins. Originally, the payout for each of these hands was 9-to-1.

In some single-deck games, the house edge for the 21+3 side bet can be as high as 13.39%. Given that the house edge for standard blackjack with optimal strategy is about 0.5%, the 21+3 bet is not worth it.

21 + 3 is an exciting twist on regular blackjack. After placing your main bet, you can make a side bet on a three-card poker hand. This side bet is based on whether your two cards and the dealer’s up card will make a winning poker hand.

Are side bets in blackjack worth it? Side bets can be fun and might pay out more than the main game, but they also have a higher house edge, making them riskier over time.

The house edge for 21+3 blackjack decreases when more decks are used. In a six-deck game where different hands like Flush, Straight, Three of a Kind, Straight Flush, and Three of a Kind Flush have varying payouts (instead of a flat 9:1 rate), the house edge is 4.14%.

Heather Ferris is the CEO & Founder of Vegas Aces, with over 15 years of experience in the casino industry. She’s also an adjunct professor at UNLV, as well as a table games consultant. Heather has been writing articles and making videos about the casino industry for a decade and her marketing business helps new table game inventors break into the industry.

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