What Is Rummy In Blackjack? Spice Up Your Game With This Lesser-Known Side Bet

What Is Rummy In Blackjack? Spice Up Your Game With This Lesser-Known Side Bet

Rummy can be two different things in blackjack. Rummy blackjack is a specific variant of the game, while a Rummy in blackjack is a side bet which you can choose to make in some live and online blackjack games.

With the side bet, you are predicting that your first two cards and the dealer’s up-card will form either a straight (cards in numerical order), a flush (cards of the same suit), or a three-of-a-kind (all cards have the same value) when combined.

In this article we’ll break down the basics of the rummy side bet, including payouts and whether it’s a bet worth making.

What Is A Rummy In Blackjack?

Rummy in blackjack is a side bet you can make before the game starts. To win the side bet, your first two cards combined with the dealer’s up-card must form a valid Rummy hand. A valid Rummy hand can be any of the following:

  • Flush: three cards all of the same suit
  • Straight: three cards of consecutive value
  • Three-of-a-kind: Three cards of the same value

In the image below, only the player on the far left would win a rummy side bet. This is because their two cards are both diamonds, as is the dealer’s up-card. This create a Flush. The middle player came close to a Straight and a Three-of-a-kind, but not close enough!

Example of winning rummy side bet

Importantly, the Rummy side bet does not serve to help you get closer to 21. It is independent of the results of the regular blackjack game; only the value of your own cards can be counted towards your blackjack hand. In other words, you play the hand as normal by competing with the dealer to get as close to 21 as possible without going over.

Instead, this side bet helps adds additional payout potential, should you win. As with other side bets, you will need to add a separate wager on top of the standard game stake.

This side bet varies in availability and payouts among casinos, online platforms, and different blackjack variations. Always remember to check the rules of the specific game you’re playing before placing this, or any, side bet.

Payouts For Rummy In Blackjack

Rummy blackjack payouts can differ depending on the version of the game you play. However, below are the common payouts for this side bet:

  • Flush 4:1
  • Straight 4:1
  • Three-of-a-kind 9:1

The house edge on the Rummy bet is usually 4% or higher, but this can vary significantly based on the payout structure, as well as the number of decks used etc. Regardless, it’s still a high house edge compared to the base game’s house edge (between 0.5% and 2%).

The Rummy Side Bet vs. 21+3 

21+3 is an extremely popular side bet that is essentially the same as Rummy. It, too, allows you to place an extra wager that “melds” your hand with the dealer’s up-card to make poker-style hands. However, there is one key difference.

For the 21+3 side bet, the player wins if their two cards plus the dealer’s up-card form either:

  1. A flush: Three cards of the same suit.
  2. A straight: Three cards in numerical sequence.
  3. A three of a kind: Three cards with the same value.
  4. A straight flush: Three cards in numerical sequence of the same suit.
  5. Suited trips: Three cards with the same value and suit.

On the other hand, the Rummy side bet only pays out for the following combinations:

  1. A flush
  2. A straight (in the Rummy side bet an Ace is typically considered high, not low)
  3. A three of a kind

So, the 21+3 side bet includes the straight flush combination, while the Rummy side bet does not.

Additionally the payouts are usually smaller in the Rummy side bet.

Is The Rummy Side Bet Worth It?

Overall, the Rummy side bet is not worth it.

The side bet is made before the game starts. This means you will not see your cards, or the dealer’s card, before you make the bet. In other words, you are not making the bet with any knowledge. It’s all about the luck of the draw.

But adding an extra bet can help to cover your bases as you can potentially win the side bet even if your blackjack hand loses, right?

Well, in theory, yes. However, the downside of side bets is that the odds do not match the investment. Each side bet comes with a significant house edge. For the Rummy side bet, the house edge is typically 4% or higher, depending on how many decks of cards are in play. This is significantly higher than blackjack’s standard house edge of between 0.5% and 2%

Because of the high house edge and random results of side bets, most serious blackjack players tend to avoid them.

If you do want to place a Rummy bet, keep these tips in mind:

  • View the side bet as extra entertainment, not a way to win blackjack
  • Do not wager big amounts of money on the Rummy side bet
  • Avoid making side bets a part of your regular blackjack betting strategy

What Is The Blackjack Rummy Game?

Now, let’s flip the switch. You may have also seen the word Rummy used for a specific type of blackjack variant.

The “Rummy Blackjack” variant was developed in countries that do not allow blackjack games under local regulations, such as Costa Rica. It’s very similar to blackjack, with a few core differences such as the value of cards, as outlined below:

  • The blackjack hand (10+Ace) does not have an extra payout
  • Aces are only worth 11 (not 1 or 11, as in blackjack)
  • You can choose to double down any hand, even when you have split
  • Rummy allows unlimited splitting and re-splitting of pairs, including aces
  • You can surrender early vs. both 10 and Ace
  • Dealers must stand on soft 17
  • A Rummy bonus of making a three-card poker hand from your first three cards

Of course, there is also another totally separate and different card game known as Rummy. This game involves players trying to create groups of cards in three or four-of-a-kind sequences. This game is popular in the United States and the UK, but is not found at online casinos.

What Is Rummy In Blackjack: A Recap

So, Rummy, when talking about blackjack, can refer to a side bet where you look to create a “Rummy hand” with your first two cards and the dealer’s up card. A Rummy hand is a flush, a straight, or a three-of-a-kind.

It can also mean a blackjack variant, popular in Costa Rica, which is very similar to blackjack, but has some key rule differences, such as the value of an Ace and when you can double down.

And finally, it can refer to a totally separate card game where players try to create sets and sequences of cards.

We hope that clears things up!

Lead image credit: juliannedev/Shutterstock