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Dan Ippolito

As Casino City's associate editor, Dan produces and edits all of our weekly newsletters, and he writes about the gaming industry for our websites and the GPWA Times Magazine. Dan graduated from Marist College in 2017 with a degree in Communications and a concentration in Sports.

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Top 10 favorite casino side bets

31 Oct 2022

By Dan Ippolito
Everyone has their favorite casino game when it comes to gambling. Some may immediately head to a blackjack table, or wander or to a crowd surrounding a craps table to get in on the fun. But let’s take it a step further.

Why do you get drawn to these games? Is it the base gameplay? Or maybe it is the different kinds of bets you can make at each table? For me, finding a blackjack table includes the table minimum, the amount of people sitting already and the side bet.

Let’s take a look at some of the different bets I like to play when I head into to a casino:

The pass line is the best bet for a new craps player.

The pass line is the best bet for a new craps player. (photo by Flickr)

10. The pass line
Sometimes craps can be confusing, especially for a beginner. So, in order to have stake in the game, and a simple one at that, players tend to ride the pass line.

During the come out, or the shooter’s first roll, the pass line pays on a seven or 11. If the roll ends up as a two, three or 12, then the bet loses. However, if any other number hits then the bet remains on the table and the point is set at whatever number was rolled.

At this point, the shooter will continue to roll until he either craps out with a seven or 11 or hits the point. The pass line will then pay if the point is hit.

The pass line is a very basic way to get your feet wet in craps as you learn the other types of bets the game has to offer.

9. 21+3
This 21+3 blackjack side bets brings somewhat of a poker aspect to the game of blackjack in a sense.
This has players hoping their two cards and the dealer’s face up card will make a three-card hand, like a straight, flush, three-of-a-kind, etc.

While it may not occur as often as some of the other blackjack side bets, the payouts in return are greater. For example, in some casinos, a suited three-of-a-kind can pay 100-to-1.

8. Single number bet
If you are turned off from a game like blackjack because of the speed and the strategy involved in it, then you may prefer roulette, which is strictly random.

Roulette offers a plethora of betting options and typically I tend to stick to the inside bets rather than the outside like red or black, and even or odd.

Why is the single number bet so attractive to players? Well, it’s simple, it has a payout of 35-to-1, the best possible on the roulette table.

While I wouldn’t recommend it to be your only type of bet you place, having one or a couple single bets sprinkled around is something that I tend to do myself.

7. Six and eight in craps
If you are new to craps and have understand the pass line understood, then you may want to push further a little more and start expanding your bets.

Some players, after the point has been established, will get involved in what is called buy bets. This entails players wagering on certain numbers to be rolled before a crap out.

Since they are more common to be rolled, I tend to put my money on six and eight. Whenever the shooter rolls a six or an eight after the come out roll and before a crap out, I win with these bets.

Again, it is one of the more basic craps bets to have in craps, but it is a way to stay in the game while hopefully slowly building your bankroll.

6. Perfect Pairs
Back over to my favorite casino game, blackjack. It used to be at The Venetian Las Vegas, not sure if it still is or not but this , where you can play this side bet, which is also popular with online casinos, as well.

This bet only refers to your two cards, it has nothing to do with the dealer like 21+3 does. It really is simple. If your two cards have the same number or face, like two fours or two queens, then you get paid 5-to-1.

It goes a little further. If the two cards have the same number and are the same color, like a three of hearts and three of diamonds, the payout is 15-to-1. When the two matching numbers are suited, the payout increases to 30-to-1.

While you should never depend on side bets being the saving grace of a betting session, landing perfect pairs can sometimes salvage a round if you are in the midst of a bad shoe in blackjack.

5. Corner bet
If you are at the roulette table and are not looking to take as much of a risk like betting on single numbers, corner bets may be more your speed as it covers four different numbers on the roulette board.

While it is not the 35-to-1 payout, the corner bet still pays 8-to-1. For example, if you place your chips on the corner of the first group of numbers, your bet will hit if one, two, four or five land on the roulette wheel.

This is a common bet for me to make and I tend to throw about three or four corner bets out there when I do play this way. It increases the chances of a number I have to hit while still being profitable despite adding more bets.

4. Lucky Ladies
While I don’t have a ton of experience playing the Lucky Ladies side bet in blackjack, a trip to Rivers Casino & Resort Schenectady moved it up on my list.

To quickly explain, any 20 you are dealt is a winning side bet. and if it is a suited 20 it pays more and it goes up to the highest payout, which is two queen of hearts which pays 200-to-1. and iIf the dealer has a blackjack when you get dealt two queens of hearts, it pays 1,000-to-1.

During my trip, the first hand after I sat down, I was dealt a queen of hearts as my first card, in my head I know the likelihood of being dealt a second one is quite low, but it definitely did get the blood pumping knowing it does have some sort of a chance. Unfortunately, it turned out to be the dealer’s under card, go figure right?

But I have to admit, this is the only side bet I have played where if any person is given a queen of hearts as their first card, the entire table holds their breath.

Split bet allows you to wager on four numbers at once in roulette.

Split bet allows you to wager on four numbers at once in roulette. (photo by Wikimedia Commons)

3. Split bet
As I mentioned before, if you don’t want to be bold and go for a single bet, you have the option of corner bets, but what if 8-to-1 isn’t enough of a payout for you? Well, there is a happy medium called the split bet which is my favorite in roulette.

Players will place their chips on the line between the two numbers they want and if either number is landed on, they get paid 17-to-1.

Because the payout is roughly doubled from corner bets, this allows players to increase how many split bets they place all over the board and still manage to come out profitable if a number hits for them.

2. Dealer Bust
Yes, you probably could guess from the name of this side bet that you win when the dealer busts. The more cards it takes for the dealer to bust, the larger the payout.

I have had some success with this side bet. and I also like that if the dealer busts, that could be a win on top of my base game bet unless I have already busted too. Even if I do bust, if the dealer busts after me, I still get paid out on my side bet and can cover my base bet.

During one of my first trips to Las Vegas, I spent some time playing at The Mirage, which has since been sold to Hard Rock from MGM. It was I believe a $15 table and I was just back and forth between down $30 and even for about 20 minutes or so.

I was nearing the point where I had to end my session so I could make a dinner reservation when the dealer took six cards to bust and paid out 30-to-1 on my side bet to change the entire outlook on my session.

It made for a much happier dinner; I will say that.

1. Match the Dealer
Just like Dealer Bust, Match the Dealer is pretty self-explanatory and if either of your two cards match the dealer’s up card then you win. Obviously, if both match you win more and if they are a suited match you also get paid out more.

Why is this my favorite side bet? Well, I have had some success with this side bet, but also have found it hits the most for me so I continue to look for tables with it.

In July 2021, I took a trip to Connecticut to Foxwoods Resort Casino and Mohegan Sun. My brother, father and I found a $15 blackjack table at Foxwoods during the afternoon and wanted to sit and play for a bit.

I had been playing the side bet for a bit and it wasn’t my best session but without a doubt not my worst. Anyways, I was in the first seat and I was dealt a three of diamonds and as he dealt around he made it back toward me and placed another three of diamonds on top of the original.

My eyes immediately were drawn to the felt of the table where the payouts of the bet are listed as I was curious what it would be if the dealer’s up card turned out to match. Before my eyes even scrolled down to the payout, I heard my brother exclaim “three!”

My head shot up and wouldn’t you know it, the dealer’s card read three of diamonds and it was a quick 22-to-1 payout.
 
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