Explained: What Does Insurance Mean in Blackjack?

If you are completely new to the iGaming world, you may want to know what blackjack insurance bet is. On the surface, just by looking at the term, the blackjack insurance side bet seems like a good idea, but is that really the case? Let’s take a closer look at how blackjack insurance bets work and whether you should use them.

Blackjack Insurance - Meaning

How Does Insurance in Blackjack Work

Let’s start with the basics here. A blackjack insurance bet works very simply. It is a side bet that the player can get if the dealer’s up-card turns out to be an Ace. So, you will protect yourself in case the dealer has blackjack.

The odds for blackjack insurance bets stand at 2/1. Moreover, the maximum bet allowed is usually half of your main bet. This way, you can break on the hand if the dealer has blackjack, even if that means losing your main bet.

Keep in mind that taking insurance bets is possible before the dealer’s hole card is revealed. If the hole card has a value of 10, then you receive a payout for your insurance bet.

For you to understand this better, let’s make an example. If you place a bet of A$10 at the beginning of the game, and the dealer’s face-up card is an Ace, the insurance bet would be determined as follows:

  • You make an insurance bet of A$5.
  • If the dealer has blackjack, you will win A$10 from your insurance bet, and you get the A$5 you have wagered as insurance.
  • However, keep in mind that you will lose the initial A$10 bet you have made (an exception here is if you also have blackjack.

As for the other scenario, let’s say the dealer does not have blackjack. In this case, the maths is very simple – you lose your A$5 insurance bet, and you continue the round as normal in all online casinos. The same logic applies if you use this blackjack strategy while playing live dealer blackjack against real human dealers.

Should You Consider Insurance Blackjack Bet?

When learning the rules of blackjack, one of the very first things you need to learn is when to use the insurance betting option. Experienced punters will tell you that a blackjack insurance bet is a bad idea generally, but let’s see a specific example where an insurance bet at blackjack tables turns from a bad to a good idea:

  • You play a single-deck blackjack game.
  • You get a 10, 10 against the dealer whose up-card is an Ace.
  • Now, there are 14 tens and 33 non-ten cards left in the deck, and you have the chance to make an insurance bet.
  • You shouldn’t take an insurance bet here, as the ratio is higher than 2/1.
  • So, if you have a 20-valued hand, then it is the worst possible idea to insure it, as you already stand in a good position.

On the opposite side, let’s say that there are no other cards but 10s left in the deck. In this case, you should always be playing insurance in blackjack. Additionally, if you have a 19-valued hand, then it seems like a good idea to protect it against the dealer’s blackjack and insure it.

Lastly, another scenario says that there are 20 cards in the deck, and two of those are 10s. So, you can just imagine that the probability of the dealer having one is low, so generally, an insurance bet is a bad idea once again.

At the end of the day, it all comes down to you being concentrated when playing online blackjack and keeping track of the cards. You should have a general idea of how many 10-valued cards are left, so you know better when it pays off to take an insurance bet.

Why to Avoid Insurance Bets in Blackjack

Sometimes, players will justify taking insurance bets as they think they will insure their strong hand of 20. However, as mentioned above, this is a highly flawed strategy, as it puts you at a big disadvantage.

It’s important to be aware that the insurance bet carries a 3% house advantage, and it only pays out when the dealer blackjack holds a 10-point card, which is not a very common occurrence. Therefore, despite the 2/1 payout ratio, the casino applies a 3% reduction to the payout each time you opt for insurance in blackjack.

Therefore, insurance bets in blackjack will limit your winnings and worsen your losses over the long term. Sure, by keeping tabs on which cards are left in the deck, you can use the bet from time to time, but that only works in the short term.

Blackjack Insurance Summary

Overall, even if you think you can always predict what will happen next in blackjack, it is best to refrain from blackjack insurance bets. Of course, the odds of the dealer making blackjack will vary, but it is likely that they will have blackjack less than one-third of the time.

From time to time, these types of wagers will pay off, but you will lose money in the long term if you place blackjack insurance bets. At the end of the day, we can confidently say that blackjack is arguably the only casino game where insurance is almost always a bad idea.

Blackjack Insurance – FAQs

As a beginner in blackjack, should I make insurance bets?

Well, there is one thing you should be aware of if you are a newbie for playing blackjack. The dealer will maybe have blackjack in one-in-three cases if they have an up card of 10. So, the basic probability here suggests that insurance bets can be beneficial from time to time but are losing ones in the long term.

Is it possible to place an insurance bet in live blackjack with an online dealer?

Of course, live blackjack games offer you a real-life casino gaming experience, so you will be able to use various blackjack strategies, including the blackjack insurance side bet.

Are insurance bets more suitable for experienced gamblers?

If you are an experienced player, then you might be better at keeping tabs on which cards are left in the deck. Therefore, you might be better equipped to see when you can make an insurance bet, but generally, you should avoid it as a long-term strategy.

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