How to Play Bonus Blackjack: Rules, Strategy & Odds
Bonus Blackjack is the one of the oldest side-bet variations of the classic blackjack game. Players are not obligated to make a side bet, but if they choose to do so, they can win some extremely lucrative payouts depending on the cards dealt to their original hand. Aside from the side bet option, the game is pretty standard, although there are a few interesting variations to the traditional rules.
Variations in the rules of Bonus Blackjack include the following:
- Bonus Blackjack is generally played with two standard decks of 52 cards each. In a live casino, card counting can be beneficial here, but please be aware that online casinos negate the effectiveness of card counting by reshuffling the deck with each new hand.
- Players are allowed to Double Down on any two or more cards, before or after a split. Doubling requires an additional bet, equal to the original wager. The player takes one hit and must stand on the total.
- Splitting is allowed on any two cards of the same value. This means a player can split any exact pair or any two-card total of 20, whether it is made up of exact pairs or any two 10 valued cards (i.e. 10+Queen). However, we do not advise splitting a hand of 20. In general, splitting is permitted up to three times, producing a maximum of four hands per game. However, if splitting Aces, they may not be re-split. A player can hit split Aces, but they cannot produce a natural blackjack.
- If a player and dealer tie, it is always a push, even on a natural blackjack.
- The dealer will accord to the following rules: The dealer will always stand on 17, including a Soft 17 (any hand of 17 with an Ace valued at 11). Bonus Blackjack is a hole card game, thus the dealer will offer insurance bets if his up-card is an Ace, 10 or Face Card. He will then peek for blackjack.
- Insurance bets are optional and are purchased at half the cost of the original wager. If the dealer reveals a blackjack, insurance bets are paid at 2 to 1, but the original bet is lost (i.e. the player breaks even). If the dealer has no blackjack, insurance bets are lost and the game continues.
Bonus Blackjack Standard Pay Table
Natural Blackjack Pays 3 to 2
Insurance Pays 2 to 1
Beating the Dealer Pays 1 to 1
All Ties are a Push (player’s bet is returned)
Bonus Side Bet Pay Table
Any player who chooses to place a bonus side bet will be eligible to win the corresponding payouts if their original hand contains the following cards:
Ace of Spades + Jack of Spades Pays 50 to 1
Any other Natural Blackjack Pays 25 to 1
Hand Totaling 21 in Same Suits Pays 20 to 1
Mixed Suit Hand Totaling 21 Pays 3 to 2
Another version of the Bonus Blackjack Pay Table will double, triple or quadruple bonus payouts when the dealer has a Mixed Blackjack, Suited Blackjack, Ace+Jack Suited (not Spades) or Ace+Jack Spades. However, the payouts above are generally decreased when this additional bonus applies.