While people think of casino table games, blackjack, roulette, and craps come to mind. These games have become so popular in casinos for their simple rules and exciting gameplay. However, casinos have to keep their games fresh and new in order to generate income. Thus, the gambling industry has developed the idea of side bets. These simple wagers are added onto players' favorite table games to offer new ways to play the game.
Nonetheless, casinos make a huge amount of revenue off of these side bets. Their house edge is generally pretty high. Smart gamblers can, however, find some side bets that won't eat at their bankroll. Let's take a look at three side bets to keep an eye out for.
#1: Pair Plus in Three Card Poker
Three Card Poker is a casino game that is growing in popularity both online and in land-based establishments. The game's main draw is its speedy gameplay and bonus payouts. Many players are also fully aware of the Pair Plus bet, which is one of the best side bets a person can make in a casino.
The base game of Three Card Poker is easy to understand. From a 52-card deck, players are dealt three cards, and the dealer deals him or herself three cards, face down. Each person at the table must choose whether to play the hand by placing a second wager of equal value to the first one, or by folding and forfeiting the initial wager. The dealer then reveals his or her hand. If it is less than queen high, the dealer does not qualify, raise bets push, and ante bets pay 1:1. Otherwise, players win 1:1 on both the raise and ante bet if their hand is stronger than the dealer's, as well as a bonus if they win with a straight or better. The house edge on the base game is 3.37%.
Pair Plus rewards players even more for high hands. The bet pays out separately than the base game. As the name of the bet implies, if a player gets a pair, he or she wins 1:1. In what is generally the best paytable, flushes pay 4:1, straights pay 6:1, threes of a kind pay 30:1, and straight flushes pay 40:1. The house edge for this bet is 2.32%, which is actually less than that of the main game of Three Card Poker.
#2: The progressive in Caribbean Stud Poker
Caribbean Stud Poker is the most easily recognizable casino poker game around. Known as “Five Card Poker” on Rival casinos, Caribbean Stud is an intense game that pits a player's five-card hand against a dealer's. The game is particularly unnerving since the big bonuses on high hand wins only pay if the dealer has a qualifying hand. Players can usually make some kind of progressive side bet, though, that pays out regardless of the dealer's hand.
Caribbean Stud Poker's base game is simple. Players and the dealer all get five cards from a single 52-card deck. The dealer only shows his or her first card face up. Everyone at the table must choose to forfeit their initial bet by folding, or play by making a raise bet that is twice the value of the initial wager. Once everyone has decided, the dealer reveals his hand. If it is less than ace/king high, all raise bets push and ante bets pay 1:1. Otherwise, if players have a stronger hand, ante bets pay 1:1 and raise bets pay according to the paytable. Most often, it is 100:1 for a royal flush, 50:1 for a straight flush, 20:1 for a four of a kind, 7:1 for a full house, 5:1 for a flush, 4:1 for a straight, 3:1 for a three of a kind, 2:1 for two pair, and 1:1 for a pair or ace/king hand. The edge is 5.22%.
The progressive wager's paytable varies throughout casinos, but the fact that it always pays out never changes. The trick to deciding when it's a good wager is to look at the jackpot. If it gets big enough, it becomes worthwhile to try, and eventually even becomes a positive expectation bet. RTG's Caribbean Stud Poker progressive, for instance, becomes a 0% edge bet at the $160,000 mark. Look out for those big jackpots for a great way to stay a winner on Caribbean Stud Poker.
#3: The Bonus in Vegas Three Card Rummy
Vegas Three Card Rummy is a casino game that is most commonly found in Internet casinos. The game is similar to Three Card Poker, but ranks hands based on rummy rules and not poker rules. Players make an initial ante bet, and the dealer and player get 3 cards each. In most cases, the total of the three cards is the score of the hand (lower is better). However, pairs, threes of a kind, and suited runs of two or three cards count as 0. Players must choose to either fold the hand, or place a second wager equal to the first to play. The dealer then reveals his or her hand. If it's over 20, the player's raise bet pushes and the ante pays 1:1. Otherwise, if the player has the lower hand, he or she wins 5:1 if it's 0, 3:1 on a total less than 6, and 1:1 on anything between 6 and 19. The resulting edge is 3.23%.
Three Card Rummy also has one of the best side bets available. This side bet pays out regardless of the dealer's hand. The big jackpot is suited A23, which wins 100:1. From there, 0 points pays 25:1, 11 or 12 points pays 4:1, 1 to 6 points pays 2:1, and 7 to 10 points pays 1:1. The resulting edge on this bet is only 3.46%, just negligibly higher than that of the base game.