Blackjack is one of the classic casino games that have plenty of fans. This is is why it has gained massive popularity both at brick-and-mortar and virtual casinos. While there are different variations of the game of 21, the standard rules apply to most of them. This being said, there are some options offering extra betting options which are worth exploring before joining a certain blackjack table.
One of the variants you can come across at several online casinos is Bonus Blackjack. As the name of the game suggests, there is a special payout for a certain side bet that players have the chance to make before the game begins. Bonus Blackjack is very similar to the classic version of the game but, in the meantime, it offers players different and fun gaming experience.
How to Play Bonus Blackjack
In this variation of blackjack, players can place a general bet and a side bet. Before they are offered the option to make the bonus bet, however, players will have to bet on the main game. This being said, it is possible to stick only to the standard blackjack bet and refrain from placing a stake for the bonus payout.
There are several variations of Bonus Blackjack which will allow players to place their side bet on different possible outcomes. Once you have placed the bets you have set your mind to, the game will proceed as any standard blackjack variation.
At online casinos, you can often come across Bonus Blackjack powered by Microgaming. In this version, there are two standard decks, comprised of 52 cards. On the table felt, there is a bigger circle for the main bet and a smaller one for the side bet. When you are ready with your bets, you simply press the button that says ‘Deal’ and the game will begin. The player’s two cards are dealt facing upwards, while the value of only one of the dealer’s cards is revealed.
The bonus bet applies on the two cards that the player is given on the first dealt. In this variation the special payout is rewarded if the initial two cards are Jack and Aces of spades, Jack and Ace of the same pair of hearts, diamond or clubs or the two cards are of different values but of the same suit. The rest of the game is played the same you would play any other blackjack game. This means that the main objective of the base game will be to beat the dealer by getting closer to the total of 21 without going bust.
Rules That Apply to Bonus Blackjack
If you are playing Bonus Blackjack by Microgaming, you will need to know the rules that apply to the main game. This will allow you to make the best decisions, based on the options you can use. As it was mentioned earlier, this variation is played with 2 decks which are comprised by the standard 52 playing cards.
In this version of the game of 21, the dealer hits when holding soft 17. Players are allowed to double down on any two cards and they can make use of this option even after splitting. Speaking of which, players can split up to three times but that does not apply to Aces.
In this game, the maximum credits for the main bet is 2,000 while you can wager up to 25 credits on the bonus bet. If you have opted for the side bet and you happen to draw Jack and Ace of spades, you will enjoy the generous payout of 50 to 1. If your hand is comprised of Jack and Ace with the same suit of hearts, diamonds or clubs, you will be paid 25 to 1. Lastly, if your initial two cards are of different values but of the same suit, you will be rewarded with a payout of 5 to 2.
In Bonus Blackjack, players can also take insurance when the dealer’s face-up card is an Ace. If you decide to make this type of bet and the dealer really gets a blackjack, you will be paid 2 times your insurance bet. If the dealer does not hold blackjack, however, you will lose your insurance bet. Provided both you and the dealer are holding a blackjack, this is considered a push and you receive your bet back.
Expected Return and House Edge on Bonus Blackjack
The estimated RTP for this Bonus Blackjack variation is 99.62% which is definitely not a bad percentage that players can enjoy. It should be noted, however, that the house edge of the insurance bet is very high. This is why players are often advised to avoid taking insurance as it most often will cost them their bet while the winning chances are very sparse.
It should be noted that while the side bet sounds like a fun option, it is not the most reasonable decision to always make this wager when playing blackjack. If you play a variant with two decks, the odds of landing Jack and Ace of spades are 1 in 1,300. Meanwhile, the odds of landing the same combination but of another suit are estimated to be 1 in 450. Of course, players will also win a bonus payout for different cards of the same suit and the odds for that are 1 in 4.2 but the payout is only 5 to 2.
The bonus bets only increase the casino’s advantage, making the house edge 6.46%. It becomes clear that you will be much better sticking to the main game and maybe opt for the bonus bet only once in a while.