6 Sep

Disciplinary Guide to 21+3 Strategy

Patience begets mastery of a winning 21+3 Blackjack strategy.

Patience begets Mastery of a Winning 21+3 Blackjack Strategy

21+3 is by no means your typical blackjack game. Its rules are such that players can compete in two games at once – Blackjack (21) and Three Card Poker (+3). Put them both together, and you get… 24! Just kidding. You get a unique game that offers a more appealing level of entertainment for casino goers who enjoy the prospects of a lucrative side bet.

What makes this particular variation so hard to detail a proper strategy guide for is that 21+3 Blackjack Rules are not set in stone. In fact, there isn’t even a common set of rules for the game. Each and every casino that offers it, both online and on line, can chisel out their own rules and pay tables for the 21 and +3 portions, respectively.

21+3 Blackjack Strategy

They key to mastering the blackjack portion of the game is to know exactly what rules are being invoked, and finding a perfect strategy chart for those rules. Suffice to say, you really have to know your stuff, or at least be patient enough to scour the different rule sets and choose a game that offers a favorably low edge.

Some of the best blackjack rules to look for include:

Blackjack Game Playing Winning Edge
Vegas Single Deck Blackjack Rules Strategy 0.31%
Atlantic City Blackjack Rules Strategy 0.35%
Vegas Strip Blackjack Rules Strategy 0.35%
Vegas Downtown Blackjack Rules Strategy 0.38%

21+3 Side Bet Strategy

Let me start by saying that, in order to participate in the Three Card Poker (+3) side of this game, you must place a wager in the 21+3 betting circle. It is an optional wager, not a mandatory one. If you do not intend to place the side bet, there’s really no point in playing this game. You should instead be basing your strategic blackjack selection on the base-game rules and house edge.

If you do intend to place this wager, be aware that there’s no such thing as a good deal. The lowest edge I’ve managed to calculate comes in at 2.58%, and scales up to a blistering 13.70%, and those both apply to the same pay table! (See Table 3 below; house edge varies by number of decks.)

Suffice it to say, you really have to want to make that wager. Even at its best, the side bet will deviate you far from the typical 0.30- to 0.40-something edge percentage of standard blackjack rules. With that being said, here’s a selection of +3 pay tables you may come across, and the edge you can expect to receive for making that wager.

21+3 Side Bet Pay Tables & Edge

There are two major difference in the most common pay tables for this game. First is the three card poker hands that you get paid for. You’ll notice the inclusion of Pairs and Suited 3 of a Kind fluctuates. The second is the pay the pay outs are distributed, either with a static pay for every winning hand, or a scaling payout for different hand strengths.

These elements have a significant impact on the house edge. A game that pays for Pairs is better for the player, despite the seemingly less lucrative pay table. Compare the house edge of each table below to gain a better understanding of this concept.

Table 1 – Static 9 to 1 Pays, Pairs Lose

3-Card Hand Requirements Payout
Straight Flush 9 to 1
3 of a Kind 9 to 1
Straight 9 to 1
Flush 9 to 1
All Else Lose
House Edge with 6 Decks = 3.24%

Table 2 – Static 5 to 2 Pays, Pairs Win

3-Card Hand Requirements Payout
Straight Flush 5 to 2
3 of a Kind 5 to 2
Straight 5 to 2
Flush 5 to 2
Pair 5 to 2
All Else Lose
House Edge with 2 Decks = 2.78%

Table 3 – Static Pays, Pairs Lose

3-Card Hand Requirements Payout
Straight Flush 7 to 1
3 of a Kind 7 to 1
Straight 7 to 1
Flush 7 to 1
All Else Lose
House Edge with 1 Decks = 13.70%; 8 Decks 2.58%

Table 4 – Variable Pays, Pair Loses

3-Card Hand Requirements Payout
Suited 3 of a Kind 100 to 1
Straight Flush 35 to 1
3 of a Kind 33 to 1
Straight 10 to 1
Flush 5 to 1
All Else Lose
House Edge with 3 Decks = 7.76%; 8 Decks 3.18%

Table 5 – Variable Pays, Pair Loses

3-Card Hand Requirements Payout
Straight Flush 30 to 1
3 of a Kind 20 to 1
Straight 10 to 1
Flush 5 to 1
All Else Lose
House Edge with 6 Decks = 13.39%

Table 6 – Variable Pays, Pair Loses

3-Card Hand Requirements Payout
Suited 3 of a Kind 100 to 1
Straight Flush 40 to 1
3 of a Kind 25 to 1
Straight 10 to 1
Flush 5 to 1
All Else Lose
House Edge with 4 Decks = 8.78%; 8 Decks 6.29%

Table 7 – Variable Pays, Pair Loses

3-Card Hand Requirements Payout
Suited 3 of a Kind 100 to 1
Straight Flush 40 to 1
3 of a Kind 30 to 1
Straight 10 to 1
Flush 5 to 1
All Else Lose
House Edge with 4 Decks = 6.39%; 8 Decks 3.70%

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