Bonus Blackjack – Rules, Payouts & Strategy
Bonus Blackjack is similar to traditional blackjack. The one component that distinguishes this variation from traditional blackjack is that there is a bonus side bet. The idea for this side bet stems from past blackjack games when players used to be given 10:1 odds for a blackjack with an ace and jack of spades.
Unlike many other blackjack variations, you’ll be able to find bonus blackjack online. The best place to look are Microgaming casinos. Microgaming is the oldest and most solid casino software that you’ll play on. In addition to their 20+ blackjack variations, you’ll also be able to choose from 500+ other games, including slots, video poker, table games and specialty games, such as keno and scratch cards. These can be accessed on your desktop computer, via your browser or mobile device. Unfortunately, Microgaming casinos aren’t available to US players.
For everyone else, however, I’ve outlined the rules for bonus blackjack. You’ll find them below.
How to Play Bonus Blackjack
The game will start off with each person placing their bet. If you want to participate in the side bet you’ll need to do that now, too. Unlike other blackjack variations, your side bet can be as big or small as you want, so long as it meets the table requirements.
Once the bets have been placed, each person will be dealt two cards. Each card will be worth their face value. For example, a 9 is worth 9 points, 10 equals 10 points and so on. Aces are worth 1 or 11 points, and face cards are worth 10 points. The dealer will also receive two cards, one face down and the other face up.
Your objective in bonus blackjack is to beat the dealer by having a hand with a higher point total using all of your cards. You want to do this without exceeding 21 points. If you go over 21 points you’ll bust, and automatically lose your hand. Of course, the dealer can bust, too, which means that you’ll automatically win.
Once the cards have been dealt the action will start with the player closest to the left of the dealer. Here are the guidelines that the players and dealer will have to follow:
- Players can split up to 3 times to make 4 playable hands.
- Aces can only be split once.
- Players can double down on any two cards.
- Players can double down following a split.
- Dealer hits soft 17.
- Blackjacks (that miss the bonus) will be paid 3:2.
- Players can accept insurance (2:1).
- All ties are pushes. The player’s bet will be returned.
The bonus aspect will pay based on the following table:
- Suited Ace/Jack – 25:1
- Ace/Jack of Spades – 50:1
Both of these are in addition to the 3:2 payout for a blackjack. In other words, if you bet $1 on the side bet and hit an ace/jack of spades, you’ll receive $50 for that, as well as $1.50 for being a natural blackjack in the actual game. The total you’d receive is $53.50.
Additional Bonus Blackjack Variations
According to the Wizard of Odds, there are 3 other side bets that are labeled as “bonus blackjack.” Here they are in case you ever come across them.
This version pays on the outcome of either the dealer or player receiving a blackjack. You can bet on the player and/or dealer. If you bet on both and the player is dealt an ace/jack of spades, he will win the progressive jackpot. Otherwise the payout is 15:1. This has a house edge of 22 to 24 percent.
This variation pays on the outcome of the player receiving a:
- 777 (500:1)
- 678 (50:1)
- Suited Blackjack (20:1)
This has a house edge of 40.78 percent, and it assumes a 6-deck game and that the player will always go for a 678 or 777, even if it goes against basic strategy.
This version assumes a 1-deck game and pays on the players’ first two cards, and in the best case scenario, the player’s and dealer’s first two cards. Here are the payouts:
- Player/Dealer Blackjack (25:1)
- Player Suited Blackjack (10:1)
- Player Unsuited Blackjack (3:1)
- Pair (2:1)
- Suited (1:1)
This has a house edge of slightly over 6 percent.