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The dealer busts – the lowdown on four blackjack side bets


26 Apr 2017

There is arguably no greater development in a hand of blackjack than a dealer busting.

Of course, that is if you haven’t already busted first, especially if you had one of the trickiest decisions of whether to stick or hit. This may include when holding a hand of 12 against a dealer’s upcard of a three.

However, there are some blackjack-playing environments where a dealer bust could become even more profitable.

Each has its own slightly independent set of rules, but some casinos offer players side bets which go in-play when a dealer’s hand value exceeds the total of 21.

Here are four of the more common blackjack side bets and a guide to their intricacies:

Bet The Bust

The main perk of this specific side bet is that it is placed after the unveiling of the dealer’s face-up card. Obviously, this technically gives a player an advantage in assessing whether the dealer is more likely to bust or not.

With dealers having to hit on all hands totalling 16 or less and being forced into sticking on 17 or more, it is clear that an upcard of six is more likely to cause a busted hand than a two on display.

Unfortunately for players, the odds on a dealer busting changes depending on the card shown.

A few examples of the differing payouts a player can expect include, 1/1 on a six, 6/4 on a three and 3/1 on a card with a value of 10.

Bust Bonus

This goes one step further than Bet The Bust by not only allowing players to see the first of the dealer’s two cards, but additionally letting them complete their own hands before considering the side bet.

The significance to the player is twofold. The first is that by knowing the position of their actual blackjack hand, they can make a decision on whether they want to chase any losses or spend any probable winnings in advance.

The second is that they will have a better idea of what the next cards to emerge from the deck may be. If all of the players have hit on their hands and received low-value cards, the possibility of a dealer turning over a higher-valued card, which is more likely to cause them to bust, is hypothetically improved.

What’s more, enhanced odds are available to players if a dealer busts with all cards of the same suit. For example, if a dealer busts when showing a two, the payout is 1/1. If the bust occurs with all suited cards, this is significantly improved to 25/1.

Bust It

The main stipulation of this side bet is that not only must a dealer bust for the bet to be successful, but they must also do so with exactly three cards. Also, all bets must be placed before the upcard of the dealer is revealed.

Like the Bet The Bust game above, the payout scales for winning bets differ depending on the cards of the dealer. For example, it’s 3/1 if the dealer busts with a 10 and 9/1 if they do so with a seven.

The big lure of this promotion is the prospect of two bumper payouts, especially if there are six decks in play.

Eights are the critical cards. Should the dealer bust with three of the same colour, a player gets paid out at 50/1, while three eights of the same suit increases the return emphatically to 200/1.

Buster Blackjack

This side bet has to be placed before any cards are dealt but, unlike the others in this list, a player’s payout is not changed in any way by the upcard of the dealer.

Instead, the payout differs depending on the number of cards that it takes for a dealer to bust. The more cards it requires, the more a player wins.

With three or four cards being the most likely totals for a dealer’s hand to exceed 21, it is no surprise that these are paid least generously at 2/1. However, should it take eight cards or more, a player is rewarded with a 250/1 payday.


Blackjack can be one of the more mundane casino games in its typical guise. There are no unlikely, big-paying hands and excitement is really limited to a player getting dealt blackjack.

The atmosphere around a roulette wheel ahead of the ball spinning or prior to a dice throw at a craps table is much more noticeable.

Blackjack side bets are one way of generating additional excitement and giving players more opportunities to win significant sums.

However, it should be pointed out that the house edge on these side bets tends to be greater than on the general game, so it also increases the potential of the casino turning a profit.