Blackjack Insurance

Insurance is a popular side bet that is available in blackjack. It is offered whenever the dealer has an upturned ace card and is designed to protect some of the player’s stake in case of a blackjack being revealed. The side bet is not offered with all versions of blackjack, and knowing when or how to use it can be difficult. In this blackjack insurance guide, we are going to look at how to play blackjack when using the insurance bet and whether or not it is profitable long term.

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How does the Blackjack Insurance Side Bet Work?

In Blackjack, the aim of the game is to hit 21 or get closer to it than the dealer. In the game, the dealer will always have an upturned card, and the player will get to make the first move. As such, it is not uncommon for the dealer to have an Ace card upturned. This boosts their chances of hitting a blackjack when they reveal their second card. 

This is where blackjack insurance bets come in, and you will need to understand how to play a side bet before you make this decision. In some games, you will be offered to take the insurance bet when you are presented with this exact situation. If you do this, you will be presented with an insurance offer, and you will be able to place half of your original stake on the dealer hitting a blackjack. The bet is played out at 2/1 if the dealer gets a blackjack.

Blackjack Insurance Wagering and Payout

When offered an insurance bet, players will be given the chance to wager half of their original stake. For example, let’s say you place £10 on a hand, and the dealer has a face-up Ace. The game will then present you with the option to take an insurance bet. 

If you do this, you will be placing a further £5 on the dealer having a blackjack. If the dealer does have a blackjack, you will be paid at 2/1, winning £10. If the dealer does not have blackjack, you will lose the insurance bet. Of course, if the dealer has blackjack, you will also lose your original £10, so you will end up breaking even. The odds of this happening are higher than you think, so be cautious. 

The worst-case scenario is that the dealer does not reveal a blackjack, but you still go on to lose with your opening hand.

Blackjack Insurance Side Bet: Is it worth it?

In short, no. While an insurance bet can be tempting, the odds of the dealer having a blackjack are still lower than him not having one. The dealer’s hand is likely to be a blackjack less than a third of the time, which means that, in general, an insurance bet is not worth it. 

That is not to say that it is not always worth it. If you have blackjack and are worried the dealer might have it, too, then this can at least guarantee you a profit on the round. Even if the dealer does not have a blackjack, you will still break even in this scenario.

Alternatives to the Insurance Bet

The insurance bet is not the only side bet that can be offered in blackjack when the dealer is showing an Ace. Let’s take a look at two of the most popular alternatives to the blackjack insurance bet.

Even Money

An even money bet option is presented when you also have a blackjack. When this happens, you can instantly cash out for 1:1, regardless of whether the dealer has a blackjack. If the dealer does not have a blackjack, you will be paid out 1.5:1, whereas if he does and you don’t take this option, it will be a push.

Surrender

The Surrender bet is not always offered, so check the paytable of your chosen game before you play if you ever want to use it. In this instance, you are presented with the chance to simply lose half of your stake when the dealer is showing an Ace. This ends the round instantly.

Advantages and Disadvantages of the Insurance Side Bet

The insurance side-bet is one of the most hotly contested features in online blackjack. For most players, the natural inclination when they are presented with the dealer having an upturned Ace is that they are going to lose. As such, the insurance bet always feels like a good option. However, this is not the case, and in the long run, taking the insurance bet will likely cause you to lose money. This is because the odds of the dealer hitting a blackjack are actually just 30%, so you are better off holding out to see how the hand plays.

There are, however, certain situations where an insurance bet can prove useful. Firstly, if you can count cards, then you may be able to work out what the chances are of the dealer hitting blackjack, and these could be in your favour. This only really works in a real-life casino setting. One instance where blackjack can come in useful is when you already have a blackjack. If the dealer hits blackjack, this will end in a push, but if you have played the insurance side-bet, you will see some return. 

Players should also take a detailed look and learn some basic blackjack strategy before they make these kinds of decisions. This will help you determine how to play each individual hand and will give you an indication as to whether or not taking an insurance bet is worth it. In the majority of circumstances, however, it is not.

Final Thoughts

The blackjack insurance side bet is extremely tempting. When greeted with a face-up Ace card, most players assume they will lose. In fact, taking the insurance bet will only increase the house edge and see you lose more in the long run. Players should never be impulsive or over-confident when playing blackjack or any other casino game. In the end, the house will always win. If you feel as though you or someone you know is being impacted negatively by gambling, then seek help. We would also recommend checking out some of the responsible gambling resources we have provided.

If you want to know more about playing blackjack, check out the rest of the Gambling Zone Blackjack Learning Zone.

Blackjack Insurance Side Bet FAQs

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