# Blackjack Variations & Side Wagers

Love the game? Here are some more ways to play Blackjack.

## Blazing 7s Blackjack Progressive Side Bet

Blazing 7s Blackjack offers a progressive side bet that pays out depending on how many 7s are in your hand and the dealer’s hand – the more 7s, the more you win!

### How is it played?

The Blazing 7s side bet can be played for \$1 or \$5 and can only be placed after making a standard Blackjack bet. You’ll then play a hand as usual – if at least one of your first two cards is a 7, you’ll win on your side bet. If you have two 7s, you’ll win even more. If your dealer’s face-up card is also a 7? You guessed it: even more.

Each time someone makes a Blazing 7s side bet, it’s added to a growing progressive prize pool. Depending on how many and which specific 7s you get, you can qualify for a portion of or the entire progressive prize.

Here’s a breakdown of the prize payouts:

• Three 7s – Same Suit = 100% Progressive
• Three 7s – Same Colour = 10% Progressive
• Three 7s = \$1,000
• First Two Player’s Cards – 7s = \$125
• Either of First Two Player’s Cards – 7 = \$10

• If a player doesn’t receive a 7 in their initial two cards, the Blazing 7s side bet will lose, but their original bet is still in play
• If you were dealt a first or second 7 but your hand busts, you qualify for only the non-progressive side bet prizes
• If the 10% and 100% progressive prizes are won in the same round, the 10% winner is paid off first, and 100% winner is paid the remaining jackpot

• If multiple players win the 100% prize simultaneously, it is divided equally among them
• Splitting your hand may make you unable to win the progressive side bet in some casinos
• Most casinos have their dealer stand on all 17s, but some will allow hitting on soft 17s

## Free Bet Blackjack

Free Bet Blackjack plays the same rules as normal, except that it gives you free splits and double downs! Instead of wagering on these additional play options, this version of blackjack lets you leave your initial bet while getting paid as if you had doubled it.

### How is it played?

In standard blackjack, you have to double your wager to split or double down on an eligible hand. In Free Bet Blackjack, these options are offered to you on the house – with a special button or “lammer” used by the dealer to represent your second wager. If you win, you get paid as if you doubled your initial bet.

Free Bet Blackjack is a “Push 22 game”: if a dealer busts (loses) with a total of 22, any bets left in action are “pushed”, meaning they don’t win – they’re just returned to their player. Since you’d win in this scenario in standard blackjack, consider this the “catch” for receiving free betting options.

• Free splitting on any pairs below 10
• Free “re-splitting”: if you split and are dealt another card of the same rank, you can split again for free. You can have a total of four hands.
• Free double downs on any two-card hands (including splits) that are hard 9, 10 or 11 (i.e., they add up to these without containing an ace)
• Free double downs on split hands

Tip

Accept every free double and free split opportunity – it’s another chance to win without risking any more of your play budget.

## Xtreme 21 + 3 Side Bet

Xtreme 21 + 3 is a side bet that adds a little poker excitement to your standard Blackjack game – if your first two cards and the dealer’s face-up card combine into an eligible three-card poker hand, you win!

### How is it played?

Players can place a side bet on the marked 21+3 box after placing a standard blackjack bet. You’ll then play a hand as usual – if your first two cards and the dealer’s “up card” combines to make one of the poker hands below, you’ll be paid out accordingly:

• Straight Flush (all the same suit, in sequential order) = 30:1
• Three-of-a-Kind (three cards of the same value) = 20:1
• Straight (three cards in sequential order) = 10:1
• Flush (three cards of the same suit) = 50:1

Tip

All side bets are a risky gamble, meant for fun. Using them to get even when down in chips is never advised.

## Blackjack Switch

Usually you’d be kicked out of the casino for swapping cards between hands – but with Blackjack Switch, it’s encouraged! Blackjack switch let’s you make the most of two hands, by swapping out the second card dealt to each.

### How is it played?

Players must make two bets of equal size before receiving two sets of cards. Once they’re dealt, players can switch the two secondary cards between hands – getting as close to 21 as possible. If a player switches to a Blackjack, it counts as 21 points (as opposed to a “natural” or official Blackjack, which is a 21 from the first two cards dealt to you and wins automatically)

Blackjack Switch is a “Push 22 game”: if a dealer busts (loses) with a total of 22, any bets left in action are “pushed”, meaning they don’t win – they’re just returned to their player. Since you’d win in this scenario in standard blackjack, consider this the “catch” for being able to swap cards.

Tip

Blackjack Switch gives you more flexibility to win but costs more per round than other versions.

## Spanish 21

Remove the tens from the deck, add some new play options and bonus prizes, and what do you get? Spanish 21. Learn the main differences of this unique version of Blackjack, and its basic strategy.

## Zappit

Available in select Ontario casinos, Zappit follows standard Blackjack rules with one major twist: under the right circumstances, your opening cards can be exchanged for new ones. Zap!

### How is it played?

As with regular Blackjack, players are betting on whose cards will add up closest to 21, without going over—their cards or the dealer’s.

To start, players are dealt two cards face up. If they total 15, 16, 17 or 18, they can be “zapped” for two new cards. If players choose this option, their opening cards are replaced with new ones, and the game continues following Push 22 Blackjack rules.

### The Push 22 rule

Since the ability to exchange cards is advantageous for players, Zappit uses the “Push 22” rule to level the playing field. This means that if the dealer busts —loses— with a 22, players don’t win their bet. Rather, players “push” and carry their bet over to the next round. In traditional Blackjack, a dealer bust on any number would result in a player win.

• Players can “zap” before the dealer looks at their cards
• Receiving a Blackjack as your initial hand pays 3 to 2
• Receiving a Blackjack after a “zap” pays 1 to 1
• Splits and doubles are permitted
• Split aces cannot be re-split

Because of these additional rules, the house edge for Zappit (1.24%) is considerably higher than that of standard Blackjack (roughly 0.4%).

Tip

Hold on to your opening cards if you’re happy with them—you’re under no obligation to ”zap” for a new hand.

## War Blackjack

This exciting version of Blackjack lets you combine two bets to increase your chances of winning – one on a hand of Casino War and another on a standard hand of Blackjack.

### How is it played?

The game starts as Casino War and ends with Blackjack. A standard deck is used, but unlike regular Casino War, Aces are the lowest card.

To start the game, each player makes a Blackjack bet and decides whether or not to make a War bet. Passing on the War bet means that even though a player receives a card, they need to wait until the Blackjack round to play it.

#### 2. Play a round of Casino War

The player and dealer are then dealt a single card each. If the player makes the War bet, and their card is higher than the dealer card, they win and move on to Blackjack. If the player card is lower than the dealer card, the player loses both bets. This means they skip the Blackjack round and wait for the next round of War to play again.

Players that don’t make the War bet must sit out the War round and wait to play their Blackjack hand.

#### 3. End on a hand of Blackjack

Once the round of War is over, it’s time to move on to Blackjack. If you played the War bet and won, add your winnings to your Blackjack bet or put them in your pocket. The dealer will then deal out one more card to each remaining player, kicking off a standard round of Blackjack.

### Round example

#### 2. Casino War Round

• Player gets a King and the dealer gets a 10
• King beats the dealer’s 10 and the War bet pays out \$5
• Player puts the \$5 in War winnings on top of their Blackjack bet
• Blackjack bet is now \$15

#### 3. Blackjack Round

• Dealer deals a second round of cards and play continues with standard Blackjack rules

Tip

If you want to conserve your play budget, consider making the Blackjack bet only.