Online Blackjack Insurance Bet Explained

What Is a Blackjack Insurance Bet?

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If you have been playing blackjack as a hobby you may have heard about the various side bet options there are in the game. One of these is the infamous blackjack insurance bet. It has quite a reputation at various blackjack casinos and is all around a controversial topic for blackjack enthusiasts. But what is blackjack insurance?

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Blackjack insurance is one of the side bet options available to the players where they can wager extra units to win if the dealer is maybe about to hit blackjack. This option is a sort of a safety net for players. Let us take a detailed look at this side bet option in this article.

Blackjack Insurance Explained

Blackjack Insurance Bet Guide

Now that we have a basic idea of what a blackjack insurance bet is for, let us take a precise look at how it works.

Blackjack insurance rules are as follows. This blackjack side bet option is offered to players if the dealer’s revealed card is an ace.

Additionally, insurance is usually taken when the player has a hand of 15 or more. The player can wager up to half of their original bet for a chance to win it back in a 2:1 payout ratio if the dealer’s second card is a value of 10, that is, a 21 in total.

Therefore, blackjack insurance bets are essentially defensive bets against the dealer’s hand being ‘blackjack’. They offer the player a chance to break even if they lose to a dealer’s 21. The interesting thing is that they can win an insurance bet even if their main bet loses. It is noteworthy to point out that blackjack insurance can only be used before the dealer checks their hidden second card.

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For example, let us say that you place a $20 bet and you have a mediocre hand. Then you see that the dealer’s upcard is an ace so you place an insurance bet up to half your original one, let us say 10$. The dealer’s hidden card is revealed to be the Queen, a 10-value card, meaning the dealer has Blackjack. This results in you losing your main wager but winning the blackjack insurance bet. You would break even and win 20$ from your insurance bet. Additionally, you will receive your $10 insurance bet wager (making $30 in total for this example).

Advantages of Blackjack Insurance Bets

Blackjack insurance is there to be a beneficial option for the player. When used properly it offers a couple of positives for the players.

  • Foresight – Players have the option of deciding whether to use the blackjack insurance bet when they see the dealer’s opening card.
  • Safety – In the case of successful payouts, insurance offers a safety net for players to break even in the case of dealer blackjacks.

Disadvantages of Blackjack Insurance Bets

Unfortunately, there are various downsides to blackjack insurance bets. It is generally a very risky move so let us take a look at some of the cons as opposed to the aforementioned pros.

  • Low Win Chance – Due to the nature of a single 52-card deck, the number of 10-value cards is limited and therefore the chances for an insurance win are limited too. Blackjack insurance odds are 9:4 which gives us a rough 30% chance of a win.
  • Low Payout – The fact that you can only wager up to half your original bet for a 2:1 payout means that in the best-case scenario, you are only breaking even. If you play 100 blackjack games and take the insurance bet in each one, you will come out with less money than when you started.
  • Blackjack Casino Statistics – The blackjack insurance bet has a 3% house advantage as per the house edge statistics. That means that even while paying out 2:1, the casino is receiving that 3% discount on the payout every time you take insurance.

When Should I Take Blackjack Insurance Bets?

For newer players, the idea of always taking the insurance bet, thinking they will be paid out whether they win or lose, is tempting. However, experienced players know that this is not a lucrative strategy in the long run. Insurance bets win roughly 30% of the time (9:4 odds), and they on average payout 50% of your bet. This means that due to Blackjack insurance odds, the blackjack casino has an advantage over players who take the insurance bet every time.

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On average, players tend to lose more than they gain from insurance bets due to the low payout ratio. Therefore, experts say that taking insurance in blackjack can only be viable in some specific cases.

  • If the player has a hand of 15 or higher – This way, the player might still be able to win the round against the dealer. Even if the insurance bet is lost.
  • If the player is a capable card counter – Card counting is an advanced skill and it can allow the player to guess when 10-value cards will show up. If you are counting cards with a good true count plus the deck being plentiful with 10s, the insurance bet might be in your favor.

This means if you are new to the game, we recommend playing free blackjack games to get used to them. Then, once you understand the odds of the game, try a few insurance bets in these free games. You can now move on to playing blackjack for real money.

Are Insurance Bets in Blackjack Worth It?

In summary, the odds of winning a blackjack insurance bet can vary from game to game. They depend on various elements. Though it is presented as a safety option for players, new players can sometimes lose money by taking it. Before taking the insurance bet, consider the number of decks you are playing with and your current hand.

The blackjack insurance can be worth it, but the general statistics prove that it is not always a smart bet. It is only recommended for advanced players who are familiar with card counting strategies.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What does insurance mean in Blackjack?

Blackjack insurance bets are side bets that help the player break even in the case of dealer blackjacks.

  • How much do insurance bets pay out?

Blackjack insurance bets pay out 2:1, with the option to wager up to half your original bet.

  • Are insurance bets available in online blackjack?

Yes, insurance bets are available in almost all forms of online blackjack games.

  • Should I bet on insurance in blackjack?

Most of the time, taking insurance in blackjack is a bad bet. However, using card counting, there are some specific cases where it can be worth it.

  • What are some other blackjack side bets?

Some of the most popular examples of side bets are perfect pairs, 21+3 side bets, and Top 3 poker combinations.

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