Many online competitions provide the option of a side bet, especially in poker-based games. The phrase “side bet” is often interchanged with “bonus bet” or other names. For instance, in Microgaming 3-card poker, the phrase is “Pair Plus” because the house pays out if the dealer draws a pair or higher. Side bets have become popular because they add a fun dimension to the game while offering a considerable payout.
Despite their attractive nature, side bets should be approached with caution and knowledge so players are aware of the varying characteristics of these bets. For instance:
Side bets have a higher house edge
Side bets are typically optional
Side bets can be linked to the outcome in the main game
Side bets typically have a higher house edge than the primary game. Therefore, most of these bets should be avoided. However, there are always plenty of players willing to make this bet on the chance of winning a large payout. In many instances, side bets are used to increase the progressive jackpot in a slot game. Remember, side bets are only profitable if they exceed a specific value.
Side bets are usually optional so most casinos present some type of reminder. However, in a few games, the side bet is part of the main game and is, thus, mandatory and automatically placed. If a beginner is not aware of this bet being deducted from their account, their bankroll can diminish fairly quickly.
Similarly, the outcome of the primary game can be linked to the side bet. For instance, the side bet can only win if the player wins in the main game such as in many online Roulette games. However, this is a rare occurrence as the side bet is usually independent of the main game. Also, most sites require the player to finish the main game to collect the side bet. If the player folds, they are not eligible to win the side bet.
Whether side bets are profitable depends on the game and house edge. If players would like to wager the side bet occasionally, this will not significantly deplete their bankroll. However, a consistent side bet wager should only be enacted while playing in a progressive jackpot slot game with a significant pot or if the side bet is limited to a few percentages of the main bet. In these cases, side bets may be profitable.