Blackjack Insurance - The Complete Guide To Pros, Cons And Strategy

Blackjack Insurance – The Complete Guide To Pros, Cons, And Strategy 2024

In the fascinating world of blackjack, where skill, strategy, and anticipation intertwine, players are frequently presented with a variety of decisions that can influence the outcome of their hands. One of the most intriguing choices that players are given is the option of “insurance.”

Blackjack insurance is a side bet that holds a certain allure, promising to safeguard against the dealer’s potential blackjack hand. However, like many aspects of gambling, the decision to take insurance is subject to several risks.

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What Is Insurance In Blackjack?


During a blackjack game, players can buy insurance if the dealer’s up-card is an ace. The insurance bet is, in fact, a side bet. The insurance bet is typically offered at a payout of 2:1 if the dealer’s second card is a 10-value or picture card, resulting in a blackjack.

In other words, if the dealer has a blackjack, the player will receive twice the original insurance bet. If the dealer doesn’t have a blackjack, the insurance will be lost, and the game will continue as normal.

Opinions on blackjack insurance are divided in the gambling community, as many experienced gamblers believe that it’s better to rely on a solid blackjack strategy. It’s mostly because blackjack insurance odds aren’t usually in the player’s favor. Let’s go into detail below to learn more about blackjack insurance.

How Does Blackjack Insurance Work?

The purpose of the insurance bet is to protect the player in case the dealer has a blackjack. Here’s how blackjack insurance works:

  • When the dealer’s face-up card is an ace, the dealer will offer the players the option to take insurance before they continue playing their hands.
  • To buy insurance, the player must place a bet on the line that is located on the blackjack table. The insurance bet can be up to half the player’s original bet.
  • If the dealer has a blackjack (a hand totaling 21 with only two cards), the player who placed an insurance bet will win a 2:1 payout, which means the player will receive twice the amount of their original insurance bet.
  • If the dealer doesn’t have a blackjack, the player loses the insurance bet, but the game will continue. The player can still win or lose their original bet based on the outcome of the game.

When To Take Insurance In Blackjack

Let’s say that your strategy is to get insurance. In that case, knowing the best circumstances for that strategy to pay off is vital.

For instance, if you know how to count cards and have a high count, you may have a better chance of determining if the dealer has a blackjack. Insurance is a good idea if you think the odds are in your favor.

Furthermore, if you play high-stakes blackjack and bet a large sum of money, you may want to buy insurance to protect your investment.

Finally, if you play in blackjack tournaments, you may have to take risks to increase your chip stack and advance to the next round. Taking insurance in specific scenarios may be a calculated risk you’re willing to take.

Advantages Of Blackjack Insurance

Risk Mitigation: The primary advantage of insurance is its potential to mitigate risk. By taking insurance, players can protect themselves against the possibility of the dealer having a blackjack. This can be especially appealing when a player has a significant wager on the line.

Emotional Comfort: Insurance can provide a psychological sense of comfort and security for players who are risk-averse or nervous about losing their original bet. It offers a brief moment of relief in an uncertain situation.

Card Counting Strategy: For experienced card counters, insurance can become a strategic tool. When the deck has a high concentration of ten-value cards, the odds of the dealer having a blackjack increase. In such cases, a card counter might take insurance to capitalize on the more favorable odds.

Short-Term Gain: In specific scenarios where a player has observed a trend of the dealer hitting blackjacks, insurance might offer a short-term advantage. However, this advantage is based on anecdotal observations rather than long-term math.

Entertainment Value: Some players take insurance for the sheer excitement and thrill it adds to the game. While this doesn’t necessarily confer a mathematical advantage, it can enhance the overall experience for those who find it enjoyable.

How Do Insurance Bets Stack Up Against The Spread?

The odds of an insurance payout in a hand of blackjack depend on the number of decks in play and the house regulations. The odds of the dealer having blackjack when the up card is an ace are about 9 to 4, or about 31 percent. This indicates that the dealer has blackjack roughly 4 times for every 13 times they show an ace.

Conversely, the payout on an insurance bet is usually 2:1, so if a player wagers $10 on insurance and the dealer gets blackjack, the player will win $20. The insurance bet’s expected value is calculated by multiplying the dealer’s probability of having blackjack by the insurance bet’s payout. The insurance bet’s expected value is negative, indicating that the player will incur losses if they choose to make this wager.

For instance, if there is only one deck in play, the dealer has a 4.83 percent chance of having blackjack. The expected value of an insurance bet is -8.75% if the insurance payout is 2:1. That works out to a loss of 8.75 cents for every dollar staked on insurance for the gambler.

Risks Of Taking Insurance In Blackjack

Insurance is often seen as a way of protecting yourself against losses. In blackjack, however, it comes with several risks that you need to be aware of before taking the plunge.

Firstly, the insurance bet will always cost you money. Even if the dealer has a Blackjack, your insurance bet will lose, leaving you worse off than if you had not taken it in the first place. This means that insurance is only profitable if you are certain that the dealer does have a Blackjack and you are willing to pay the extra cost.

Secondly, when taking insurance in blackjack, you are only protecting yourself from losses on one hand – not all hands at the table. For example, if the dealer has a Blackjack but you have a good hand, you will still lose money even if you take insurance. This means that even if you do manage to break even or make a small profit, it is not worth it in the long run.

Finally, when taking insurance, you are essentially betting on something that is not in your control – whether or not the dealer has a Blackjack. This means that taking insurance should be seen as a gamble rather than a surefire way of making a return.

Blackjack Insurance Price

If the player wins, that is the dealer’s face-down card turns out to be a 10, then the blackjack insurance payout is 1:1 or a percentage equal to the wager.

In a situation where the player’s hand turns out to be blackjack, he is paid at 3:2, that is, three dollars for every two bets or one-and-a-half times the wager.

Enhance Your Blackjack Strategy

blackjack insurance

If you’re looking for general advice on how to play Blackjack, read our guide to Blackjack. If you want to learn more on how to inform your Blackjack strategy, remember to read our articles on how to double down, split, and surrender, alongside how to place a side bet.

We also have an article outlining an advanced Blackjack strategy. If you want to learn more about Blackjack beyond how to play the game, you can read about the history of Blackjack.

Can You Really Bet On Money?

One could make the case that you will receive compensation in this case. If you win, you win.

You’re playing a lot of hands of blackjack at once. Getting paid is different from getting the most money over time.

Let’s go over the $10 betting situation again. The dealer’s hole card could be any one of thirteen cards.

You would have $130 if you wagered even money on all 13 of these scenarios. If you don’t, you lose $15 on the nine cards that aren’t 10, but you push on the four times that the dealer has a 10. That’s $135.

This is almost 3 percent better in the long term if you don’t take even money, but it is simplistic because it doesn’t take into account the cards you and the dealer are dealt into account.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is blackjack insurance?

Blackjack insurance is a side bet offered when the dealer’s face-up card is an Ace. It allows players to bet on the possibility that the dealer has a natural blackjack.

When can I take blackjack insurance?

You can take insurance when the dealer’s face-up card is an Ace. It’s offered before players make any decisions on their own hands.

How does blackjack insurance work?

When you take insurance, you’re essentially betting that the dealer has a blackjack. The insurance bet is usually half your original wager. If the dealer has a blackjack, the insurance bet pays 2:1.

Is blackjack insurance a good bet?

From a mathematical perspective, blackjack insurance is generally not a favorable bet. The odds of the dealer having a blackjack are lower than the payout offered, giving the casino an edge.

Why do some players take insurance?

Some players take insurance as a form of protection for their original wager. It can provide a sense of security when the dealer’s face-up card is an Ace.

What is the house edge on blackjack insurance?

The house edge on blackjack insurance can vary, but it’s generally higher than most other bets in the game. It’s important to understand the odds before deciding to take insurance.

Does card counting affect the decision to take insurance?

Yes, card counting can influence the decision to take insurance. When the deck is rich in ten-value cards, the likelihood of the dealer having a blackjack increases, making insurance more appealing.

Can I take insurance if I have a blackjack?

Yes, you can take insurance even if you have a blackjack. However, it’s usually not recommended, as the insurance bet won’t impact your potential blackjack win.

Should I always take insurance if the dealer has an Ace?

No, experts advise against taking insurance as a regular strategy. It’s generally better to focus on using basic blackjack strategy and understanding the odds.

Is blackjack insurance necessary for success in the game?

No, blackjack insurance is not necessary for success. Mastering basic strategy, understanding probabilities, and, if desired, learning advanced techniques like card counting are more effective approaches to improving your blackjack play.