Blackjack has come a long way since its inception, and there’s no shortage of add-ons and variations available. Whether at a promising upstart online casino, or a storied venue in gambling haven Las Vegas, perhaps you’ve come across a particular wager known as an insurance bet.
Basic strategy covers hitting, standing and splitting, but what is insurance betting, and when should you consider it? Let’s take an in-depth look at the insurance bet in this latest LV BET blackjack guide.
WHAT IS INSURANCE IN BLACKJACK?
Insurance provides some protection when the dealer shows an ace — the strongest card in blackjack. The insurance bet is optional and it is only available when the dealer’s upcard is an ace. This bet allows the player to stake half of their original wager as insurance against the dealer making a blackjack when their second card is revealed.
This means that an insurance bet is a way to hedge your bet on the dealer’s blackjack. Should that second card give the dealer a blackjack, the dealer pays off the insured half, even if the main bet is lost.
BLACKJACK INSURANCE BET RULES
Insurance is a side bet on whether or not the dealer hits 21. This separate bet is half the original wager. Winning insurance wagers pay out 2:1.
You can place a bet on the insurance line if a dealer’s upcard is an ace. If their next card doesn’t hit it, you win.
Insurance adds half your original bet when you win, paid out in even money. If you lose, both the original bet and the insured half are lost. This, and the available odds, may make it relatively low worth in a game.
HOW TO USE BLACKJACK INSURANCE?
An insurance bet is an optional side bet, taking the original wager and adding an insurance wager that equates to half that amount. Bear in mind that the only time you can take insurance is before the dealer’s hole card is revealed and when the dealer’s upcard is an ace.
Taking insurance is usually frowned upon by basic strategy, owing to its poor probability of paying. If the likelihood of beating the dealer is very high, taking insurance is usually not a good option. Blackjack is a game of chance, and insuring a good initial hand is more likely to cost you money that it is likely to pay you.
The player always makes the first move, meaning that they must use the dealer’s upcard to gauge whether their dealt hand is worth splitting, hitting or standing.
WHEN SHOULD YOU TAKE INSURANCE IN BLACKJACK?
Whether players should take insurance or not depends on several factors.
In land-based casinos, a round may sometimes be played with one deck of cards. Few casinos allow card counting nowadays, as players would apply the technique and deduce the odds of the dealer hitting 21, skewing the odds too heavily in one direction.
In a land-based casino, when players have blackjack and the dealer’s upcard is an ace, one can take even money (albeit this is not recommended), but one can never insure their own blackjack.
Online casinos, on the other hand, offer insurance even if you have blackjack. If a multi-deck shoe is used, as is common at online tables, then the Insurance bet may not always be optimal.
Although playing with more decks means more 10-point cards, it also means that there are many more cards of lower point value! If dealt a weak hand, like 14 or 15, against the dealer’s ace, the player is likely to lose; thus, insurance won’t make a difference.
IS IT WORTH USING BLACKJACK INSURANCE?
Although it may seem appealing, probability suggests (and most blackjack experts will agree) that insurance in blackjack won’t net you any profits in the long run. Given that most blackjack tables in online casinos are played with six or eight decks, it’s safe to say that the odds of an insurance bet panning out are relatively low.
It may be worth considering taking insurance when you’re playing at a single-deck blackjack table and are confident that the dealer’s hole card will likely be a 10 or picture card. Notwithstanding that, at the end of the day, blackjack is a game of chance — even your best guess may lose to Lady Luck.
- Were the dealer’s hand to reach 21, players may utilise insurance betting at tables permitting the side bet to break even and recoup some of their losses.
- If the player and the dealer reach 21 simultaneously, the wager is returned to the player.
- Insurance is more likely to be a bad bet if a player has a hard hand, such as H14 or 15, since they are already starting on a bad foot (or hand).
- Since it pays 2:1, it is usually taken under very particular conditions, as it is generally at a long-term loss to players.
SIMPLE MATH OF AN INSURANCE BET IN BLACKJACK
We know that the payout odds for blackjack insurance are 2:1, but what are the odds of winning this wager? The odds of an insurance bet win in blackjack vary from one game to another and are greatly affected by the number of decks in play.
To help you understand how often an insurance bet has a chance of hitting the target, let’s take a look at the probabilities of procuring blackjacks. Given an eight-deck shoe, the likelihood of getting blackjack is 4.74%, or approximately once every 21 hands (how fitting). The odds of you and the dealer having blackjacks simultaneously are only 0.22% (one in 450 hands), but the odds of a dealer’s ace upcard upgrading to blackjack stand at 30.77%, roughly four out of 13 hands. The fewer decks in play, the higher the probabilities, but only marginally so.
HOW DOES INSURANCE AFFECT THE HOUSE EDGE?
The house edge in blackjack is relatively small, sitting at just about 0.5%. If players take the Insurance bet, the house advantage will vary depending on the number of decks used. A single-deck game sits at 5.88%, and playing an eight-deck game (the typical shoe on online tables) will have a house advantage of 7.47%.
The idea behind the Insurance bet is to help the player break even when the dealer is off to a solid start. Still, regardless of the number of decks in the shoe, the Insurance bet is significantly disadvantageous to the player.
WHY DOES OUR CASINO OFFER INSURANCE BETS?
Like other side bets, the Insurance side bet may be offered at a casino because it acts as a safety net if the dealer wins. Since the payouts are relatively small in a standard game, these extra bets offer the chance to play higher odds, risking a higher net loss and potentially winning even money that might look tempting under the circumstances.
When playing blackjack, it is essential to remember that using blackjack strategies does not guarantee favourable results to all players and that approaches (and results) may differ. Always look at the game’s rules before you play to evaluate side bets, payout odds and any unique rules the table may have. Above all else, manage your bankroll well and thoroughly research any blackjack strategy or betting system before you attempt to use it.
CONCLUSION – WHAT ABOUT INSURANCE IF I’M AT BLACKJACK?
Playing insurance bets might result in an even-money payout in blackjack, so even though taking insurance may not be the golden ticket, it definitely is an option. Look into blackjack charts online to help you learn which actions to take, given the state at hand.
While taking insurance could be a good way to protect your hand against the possibility that the dealer has blackjack, it is recommended to avoid this wager. The probability of successful insurance bets is low, which is why insurance bets may well cost you money in the long run.
✅ Are there any alternatives to blackjack insurance?
Insurance bets may be limited since the dealer’s upcard needs to be an ace to pay out money. However, these wagers are not the only side bets players can pick on a table.
One popular choice is the 21+3 bet. This involves forming a three-card poker hand out of the player’s two cards and the dealer’s upcard. You can only win through a certain number of combinations, and the odds for this stake make plain its potential appeal; getting a flush pays out 5:1, while a suited triple pays out at 100:1.
Another favourite is the Perfect Pairs bet, used when your two cards form some sort of pair. There are three ways to win this side bet: earning a mixed pair (the cards are two different colours), coloured pair (the cards are the same colour but not the same suit) and perfect pair (the cards are two of the same). A perfect pair could pay out as high as 30:1.
✅ Is blackjack insurance bet a side bet?
Insurance is a side bet that protects the player’s hand against the dealer’s blackjack. Insurance bets are only available when the dealer shows an ace upcard is an ace and will pay 2:1 if the dealer gets 21 with their hole card.
✅ What is the difference between the insurance in blackjack and another bet?
While rare, other forms of insurance stake exist and benefit the player in different ways. For instance, a player can take insurance with an amount equal to the original stake or against the dealer’s hole card when it is a 10-value card. Some European casinos allow the player to take insurance when the dealer’s hand is blackjack. Sometimes, the surrender rule in blackjack is used as a variation of the insurance bet, for example, when the dealer doesn’t have a natural blackjack (called late surrender).
✅ Why do blackjack dealers always get 20?
Blackjack is a game of chance; thus, all outcomes are entirely random, and any streaks or coincidences are manifestations of chance, randomness and probability. If you play blackjack at an award-winning online casino, such as LV BET, then rest assured that both the casino operator and the game provider will adhere to the highest industry standards. This can be evident in a casino by the presence of licences, which ensure your gameplay’s safety, integrity, and fairness.
✅ Why is taking insurance not always a good bet?
Ultimately, the choice regarding whether to use this bet or not is up to you. However, one must consider the risks inherent in this side bet. The chances that your dealer has an ace and a 10 are lower than the chances of winning the bet, so it is quite risky. That’s why your best bet is to be informed of the risks and rewards before you take insurance so that you can make smart moves when betting your money.