Of the many blackjack variations out there, 21+3 Blackjack is particularly intriguing. Combining elements of poker with the base blackjack experience is an interesting notion and it has proven popular with the general player base. Several software providers have come out with their own take on this variation and you can find these across hundreds of online casinos.
How to Play 21+3 Blackjack
When it comes to unique changes, 21+3 Blackjack does not mess around with the base formula. Often, the base game will be the classic version of blackjack and if you have ever played it before, you will be immediately familiar with it now. Players still take the same actions in the form of hitting, standing, splitting, doubling, etc. A blackjack hand still pays 3:2, the dealer stands on a soft 17, while Insurance offers a 2:1 payout. Nothing really is changed, since the 21+3 side bet does not affect the gameplay in any significant way.
Basic Rules and Payouts
When it comes to 21+3 Blackjack, there is very little that is actually required of you. More specifically, you only have to place the bet. So what does this side bet does? The 21+3 side bet is inspired by the rules of poker and it forms winning poker hands from your first two cards and the dealer’s face-up card.
These combinations can range from a Pair to a Suited Three of a Kind or a Straight Flush. What hands will be included depends entirely on the software provider or the establishment, as are the payouts. The same is also true for the minimum qualifying hand, as some games will pay for a Pair, while others will only pay for a Flush or better. As for payout, this can also vary widely between the different available games, though usually, the highest hand rewards you with x100 the bet value. For example, Evolution Gaming uses the following paytable for the eight-deck version of 21+3 Blackjack:
- Suited Three of a Kind: 100:1
- Straight Flush: 40:1
- Three of a Kind: 30:1
- Straight: 10:1
- Flush: 5:1
Insurance is often offered in 21+3 Blackjack, whenever the dealer draws an Ace. To prevent losing to the dealer’s blackjack, the game gives you the opportunity to put down an Insurance bet valued at half of the original bet, which pays 2:1. In the event that the dealer really does hit a blackjack, you will lose the original bet but win the Insurance wager, keeping your net balance the same. Insurance is a touchy subject in the world of online gambling, with many advocating for and against it.
The Double Down action is of great importance to the general gameplay in any blackjack title. When you have a good hand, you may want to increase the size of your bet and the potential of the winnings. Doubling Down is generally available in 21+3 Blackjack on a starting hand of 9, 10, or 11 and even after splitting. Though useful, you need to be careful when using this feature as it may cause your bankroll to deplete if you Double Down randomly.
When it comes to splitting hands in 21+3 Blackjack, the game is both liberal and conservative with its rules. You can split any hand with identical-valued cards, however, you can only do this one time for a maximum of two hands. As a result, if you are dealt another pair, you will not be able to resplit it. However, you will be able to hit on split Aces and even Double Down on split hands.
Surrender is a useful option in blackjack, giving you the opportunity to get back half of your bet on a potentially bad hand. It works wonders for your bankroll and players are thankful when it is available. Unfortunately, 21+3 Blackjack rarely has this option enabled and you will most likely not get the opportunity to use it.
21+3 Blackjack House Edge and RTP Values
Something to always consider is the house edge and return-to-player percentage of any casino game. As it happens, blackjack has some of the best odds in the whole industry in general. But how does 21+3 Blackjack stack up against other variations? The base game is not all too different from regular blackjack and as such, it comes with a casino advantage of over 99%. This is in-line with blackjack standards and some of the best odds in the casino world.
However, the 21+3 side bet comes with slightly different odds than you might expect. The house edge of the 21+3 bet is highly dependant on the number of decks in play. It can range between 7% to 2.7%, with a lot of different numbers in between. The general rule is that the lower the number of decks, the higher the probability of a winning combination. Take this into account if you want to play 21+3 Blackjack.