What is the Blackjack Insurance Bet?
Insurance is a side bet that’s offered when the dealer’s upcard is an ace. You can bet half your original wager and it pays 2 to 1. If the dealer’s second card is a ten, jack, queen, or king he makes blackjack and you win the insurance bet.
How Does the Insurance Bet Work?
Insurance is a bet on whether the dealer will make a blackjack when his first card showing is an ace. Insurance is a side bet made in addition to your original bet and it pays out 2 to 1 when you win. The idea is that insurance gives you a way to win back some of your first bet when the dealer does have a blackjack.
You bet $20 on a hand of blackjack. You are dealt 19 and the dealer’s upcard is an ace. You decide to bet $10 on insurance.
The dealer looks at their downcard and sees that it’s an 10, which makes a natural blackjack. Your original bet loses but your $10 insurance bet pays out $20.
What is the Blackjack Insurance Bet?
Insurance bets always pay out 2 to 1 and you can usually only bet half the amount of the original bet you made on the hand. To figure out how much insurance bets pay out, just multiply your insurance bet by two.
DEALER HAS BLACKJACK
DEALER DOESN'T HAVE BLACKJACK
If the dealer makes a blackjack, your profit on the insurance bet will be equal to the amount you bet on insurance. If the dealer doesn’t make a blackjack you lose your insurance bet.
When Should I Take Insurance?
Unless you’re counting cards in a real-life casino, you should never wager money on insurance in blackjack. All it takes is a quick look at the math behind the bet to see that statistically it’s going to lose you money in the long run.
The odds against the dealing making a blackjack are roughly 9 to 4. On average you will lose more than half of the insurance bets you make and since the bet pays out 2 to 1, it’s a losing proposition.
The exception to this only applies to advanced card-counters who can keep track of how many ten-point cards are still left in the deck. The more tens and face-cards in the deck, the more likely it is for the dealer to hit a blackjack. If the count is good enough, taking insurance can be a profitable bet. It’s really important to remember that this only applies to expert players and only in live casinos, not on the internet.
What are the Odds for Insurance Bets?
The exact odds of winning an insurance bet aren’t always the same. The odds depend on the number of decks being used in the game and the number of ten-point cards that have already been dealt.
Because card-counters are able to keep track, they can identify when the conditions are perfect to make a profitable insurance bet. For the rest of us, however, the odds are almost always against us when we take insurance. This is especially true for online blackjack since the decks are shuffled before every single hand.
Another reason to avoid insurance is because the more decks being used in the game, the worse the odds get for the player. Roughly speaking, the house edge on the insurance bet in a one-deck game is 5.8%. That number jumps to almost 7.5% when the casino is using eight decks.
If you absolutely, positively HAVE to take insurance, only do it a one-deck game with a full table when very few ten-point cards have been dealt to you and the other players. But don’t say we didn’t warn you.
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Avoiding insurance is just one small part of a solid blackjack strategy so if you’re ready to take your game to the next level, check out more of our extensive insider blackjack tips and tricks. After you’ve got your game tight, cruise our online casino reviews to find the best sites with the best bonuses to kick start your online blackjack career right now.
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