Hobbies Card Games & Gambling How to Play Blackjack Bonus Bets Share PINTEREST Email Print John Howard / Getty Images Card Games & Gambling Blackjack Gambling Strategies & Tips Casinos Sports Gambling Poker By Al Moe Al W. Moe is an award-winning author and historian of Nevada casinos. He is a graduate of the University of Nevada-Reno Gaming Management Program. our editorial process Twitter Twitter Al Moe Updated August 06, 2018 These days you can barely find a blackjack game that doesn't have some type of a side-wager, bonus or progressive bet available. That's because players have become very proficient at the standard game of blackjack and the house edge is very small. That's not always the story with side bets! Blackjack bonus bets are designed to be easy to understand and easy to play. They accompany the standard blackjack bet and must be made before you receive your first two cards. After you find a nice comfortable chair and a friendly dealer, look for the table minimum and maximum sign and then take a seat if the bet levels match your bankroll. You want to be able to sit back, relax and have fun, so it is always advisable to start at a table that offers a comfortable limit with regard to your gambling bankroll. If you want to start with a one-hundred-dollar buy-in, a $5 minimum bet table might be just right for you. A $25 table limit would probably be too high to start at. Types of Blackjack Bonus Bets The dealer will make a change in chips for your cash buy-in and will help you with minimums and maximums on the bonus bets, but most can be made for $1. Bonus bets stand alone from the regular blackjack bet and are sometimes called side-bets; they are optional wagers with brand names like Royal Match, Progressive Blackjack, and Lucky Ladies. To play the bonus bet, place a minimum wage of $1 in the circle for the side-bet next to your regular blackjack bet. The bonus bet is paid independently of whether you win your regular bet or not. Each bonus bet offered has a payoff table located on the blackjack table. If you don't see one, ask the dealer what the payoffs are for their bonus bets and they will point them out or get you a brochure with all the rules and payoffs. Bonus bets are a fun diversion and offer added excitement to the game of blackjack. However, because bonus bets usually offer the casino a much higher advantage per dollar bet than the standard blackjack bet, players are advised to play bonuses sparingly. Most casino bonus bets are available in different variations and the casino advantage is also dependent on the number of decks used. Some bets are available at only one casino and some are available at many because they are sponsored by companies like Shuffle Master and Mikohn Gaming. The Cost of Playing Bonus Bets To understand how the casino edge works, remember that the average blackjack player is playing at about a 2.5 percent disadvantage to the house. Over the long run, the player will lose about 2.5 cents for each dollar wagered. Player-friendly bonus bets like Straight 8's and Sweet Sixteen are on the low end of the casino edge at just 2.7 percent. Higher percentage bets like Royal Match, Match The Dealer, Hi/Low, and Bonus Spin, have a casino edge of 3.5 percent to 8.6 percent. Lucky Ladies, Magic Jack and Wheel of Madness have a casino edge of 17 percent to 24 percent. On the outer edge are games like Perfect Charlie, with a house edge of 38.9 percent.