How to Count Side Bets in Blackjack


Blackjack is a game of dependent trials, meaning that the probabilities of subsequent trials depend on the outcome of previous ones. This is why it is important to learn about different strategies and practice them regularly.

Using basic strategy to play blackjack can reduce the casino’s advantage to a small percentage. However, it is not a perfect strategy and requires a certain level of skill.

Basic strategy

Blackjack incorporates an element of skill, and players who use basic strategy can minimize the house edge. Some advanced strategies, like counting cards and team play, can also improve the player’s odds of winning. However, it is important to practice responsible gambling and avoid side bets. These betting options generally come with a high house edge and can be counted using a specialized card counting method.

The house edge in a standard game of blackjack is less than 1%, which makes it one of the lowest casino edges in any game. Despite the low edge, it is still possible for casinos to lose more than they should in the long run. This is largely due to the fact that blackjack rules vary from place to place, and player deviations from basic strategy increase the house edge. To lower the house edge, memorize a blackjack strategy chart and follow it while playing the game. You can find charts online for free, or purchase a small, credit card-sized card that you can carry with you in the casino.

Insurance bets

Insurance in blackjack is an optional side bet that plays out independently from the player’s original wager. It pays out 2:1 if the dealer’s second card is a ten or picture card and results in a blackjack. The dealer will ask players if they wish to take insurance before dealing the cards and the terms are usually printed on the table layout.

In general, insurance bets should be avoided by basic strategy players as they will lose money on the long term. However, it can be profitable for advanced card counters who can keep track of the number of ten-point cards remaining in the deck.

Despite the fact that casinos are actively encouraging players to make this bet, it is one of the worst bets you can make in blackjack. This bet will increase the house edge from 2% to at least 7% and it will also reduce your chances of winning. It is recommended to avoid this bet at all costs.

Side bets

Blackjack side bets are an excellent way to add more excitement and reward to the game. These bets are separate wagers made outside of the main hand, and they often pay out larger amounts than standard blackjack payouts. There are many different side bets available, and new ones are being invented all the time.

Some of the most popular blackjack side bets include Perfect Pairs and Insurance bets. These bets are based on the player’s cards, and they can pay out depending on whether the two cards match in rank, suit, or color. Some of these side bets have large payouts, but they also come with risk.

Insurance bets are the most common side bet in blackjack, but they should be avoided by professional card counters as the house edge is high and the probability of winning is only 1/3. Other side bets, such as the over/under 13 side bet, are a risky gamble of luck that can deplete your bankroll quickly.

Rules of conduct

Blackjack has a number of procedures and codes of conduct that must be followed. Players should be aware of these rules so they do not offend their fellow players or the dealer. They should also know what side bets are available and how to make them. Some side bets can improve the player’s edge over the house. However, some are not worth the effort of counting.

When a player is dealt two cards of the same value, they can split them. The player then copies the original bet on each hand and plays them separately. This is known as splitting pairs.

It’s good blackjack etiquette to tip the dealer from time to time. This is usually done by placing a chip on the front line of the betting circle. In addition, you can “toke” the dealer by handing them cash if they win their hand. This is a good way to show your appreciation for the dealer’s hard work.