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A Detailed Guide to Blackjack Insurance



Eddy Cheung

While most blackjack players view it as a necessary evil, others consider blackjack insurance a lifesaver when misfortune strikes. Therefore, it's safe to say that blackjack insurance is one of the most dividing topics in the gambling world. So, if you're still new to blackjack, this article will furnish you with all the details about blackjack insurance and why you should keep a safe distance. Read on!

A Detailed Guide to Blackjack Insurance

What is blackjack insurance?

Blackjack insurance is a side-bet given to players if the upcard of the dealer is an ace. As the name suggests, it acts as insurance if the dealer's hand is a 'blackjack.' Typically, an insurance wager is half the original bet and pays out 2 to 1. In other words, the maximum stake allowed is half the punter's main bet.

Also, the side bet is only complete after the dealer reveals his/her second card. If it's a king, queen, jack, or ten, the dealer can make a blackjack. In return, a player can win the insurance wager. If not, you may lose the insurance wager but can still win the original stake.

Blackjack insurance example

First and foremost, it's worth taking insurance if the blackjack you're playing allows the dealer to only stand on soft 17. Also, you must have 20, 19, or 18. Otherwise, your hand may not beat the dealer.

For example, you visit your favorite live online casino and place a $5 blackjack bet. After that, you're dealt a nine or Jack of Hearts, and an ace is the dealer's upcard. Now you decide to take $2.5 insurance, which is half your original bet. Next, the dealer reveals ten as his/her second card. In return, the insurance bet will payout 2 to 1 and break even on your hand.

When it's necessary to take insurance

Taking insurance during a blackjack game can be irresistible if an ace the dealer's upcard. There is a 1 to 3 probability that the subsequent card has a 10-value card, in that case. But unless you're counting cards, it's not worth risking your hard-earned money on blackjack insurance. Mathematically, taking blackjack insurance will result in losses in the end.

You can generally win your insurance wager only if the dealer's hole card is a 10-value card. As said before, you must be an expert card counter to know for sure the amount remaining in the deck. So, if you're green about counting cards, stay away from this sucker bet.

Blackjack insurance, odds, price, and house edge

So, what are the blackjack insurance odds? The probability of a blackjack being dealt by the dealer when playing a regular table game is 9:4. However, the odds for a player to win an insurance wager aren't similar and may vary depending on the number of decks and 10-point cards already dealt. In short, the odds are stuck against the punter.

When it comes to the price, the player can only win if the dealer's facedown card is a 10. In this case, the insurance payout is 1:1. If the player's hand is a blackjack, the payout is 3:2 or $3 for every two bets or 1.5 times the wager.

Lastly, a single deck blackjack insurance has a steep house edge of around 5.8%. But it's worth noting that you're likely to play modern blackjacks with 6 to 8 decks. In such cases, the house edge can hit 7.5%.

Blackjack insurance: Final advice

If you're an expert card counter, then blackjack insurance can be very profitable. Card counters have a rough idea of the number of 10-point cards remaining in a deck. Also, the payout is handsome if you already have a blackjack in hand. Bust as said, the odds are always against the player. What's worse, taking insurance when playing multi-deck blackjacks will expose you to a painfully high house edge. Be wise!

AUTHOREddy Cheung

I remember the first time I saw Kai Tak, Hong Kong's gambling city, I thought I was in a fairy tale. All the lights blinking, the music and the monumental buildings, what 9-year-old wouldn’t think they’ve come to a magical place? It was my father who brought me, dragging me along and when inside I was hit by the smell of frying duck. As soon as I hit 21 I returned to Kai Tak, A bit nervous to see if my mind had embellished the memory, but it hadn’t. Kai Tak was still a magical place. I decided I wanted to spend as much time as I could at this place, so I did. For the next coming years I lived and breathed Kai Tak. Now I am married with kids, and they have become a part of my life too. That’s why I started exploring online casinos to create a better work-life balance and I couldn’t be happier!

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