21+3 Blackjack Side Bet: All you need to know about

The 21+3 blackjack side bet is a simple optional side bet played along with the required main blackjack bet.  The game is distributed by Galaxy Gaming, Inc. from Las Vegas, Nevada.  21+3 was originally brought to market by a company called Prime Table Games, LLC..  Galaxy Gaming purchased the rights to the game from Prime Table Games, LLC. in October of 2011. Since that time, 21+3 Blackjack has been one of the most popular blackjack side bets in the World.

The basic premise of 21+3 is that after receiving the first two cards and seeing the dealer’s up card, the player can win the side bet if the hand contains a winning three card poker hand.  The 21+3 Blackjack Side Bet rides on the coat tails of the most popular carnival game in the world, Three Card Poker, by combining standard blackjack play with the three card poker theme.  This combination ads a little bit of excitement to the basic game of blackjack.

How to Play 21+3 Blackjack Side Bet

The original and still most common paytable for the 21+3 blackjack side bet is that any hand of a flush, straight, 3 of a kind or straight flush pays 9-1.  More recently a  newer paytable has come out that includes a pair as a winning hand and another paytable that pays different amounts based on the hand achieved.  The paytable that includes a pair reduces all the pays from 9-1 to 2.5-1.  The most common paytable for the varying payouts with a six deck shoe based on the rank of the hand is:

  • Suited 3 of a kind – 100-1
  • Straight Flush – 35-1
  • 3 of a kind – 33-1
  • Straight 10-1
  • Flush 5-1
  • Other – Lose

Once all players have their two cards and the dealer has exposed the up card, winning players are paid for winning hands and losing wagers are removed from the table.  From this point on, regular blackjack is played and there is no affect on the game from the 21+3 side bet.

House Advantage

The house advantage on the 21+3 blackjack side bet is generally pretty fair compared to other side bets.  Using a six deck shoe, the following are the house advantages for each of the versions described above:

  • Original version with 9-1 payouts – 3.24%
  • Newer version with a pair included and 2.5-1 payouts – 2.78%
  • Varying payouts based on the hand rank – 4.14%

There is also one more version of the game, but the house advantage on it is 13.39%.  It’s called 21+3 Extreme.  I would suggest avoiding this version if you see it.  It has no large jackpot payoff in return for the terrible house advantage and will most likely result in a fast(er) depletion of your money.