What is Blackjack insurance all about?
Blackjack is a game of strategy, unlike slots. A major reason why beginning players are fooled into thinking insurance is a good idea is because dealers ask players beforehand if they need insurance when the opportunity arises. Blackjack insurance is usually not advisable unless you are an advanced card counter. This simple side bet will put a massive dent in your profits in the long run. It is often a subject of much debate and also a bit complicated than simply placing a side bet.
What exactly is Blackjack insurance?
Insurance is a side bet that’s offered when the dealer’s upcard is an ace. Insurance can be taken for half of the player’s original wager. In this case, players are betting with a hope that the dealer’s face-down card will be a 10, thus giving the dealer Blackjack. Insurance pays 2-1 if the dealer has Blackjack. This a widespread feature popular among table game fans and Blackjack players in particular. You are simply betting that the dealer will have a Blackjack.
How does Blackjack insurance work?
Players are invited to participate in this bet by the dealer when the dealer’s upcard is an ace.
When the dealer says ‘insurance open’, you may place half the size of your original bet in the insurance spot on the table. After the dealer says ‘insurance closed’, no more bets may be placed.
In a live game, the dealer asks the players in an online casino game about taking insurance and then the question pops up onto your screen along with yes/no option. If you decide to accept, then a bet equal to half of your stake is made, which will pay out at 2:1 if the dealer turns over a 10 and makes a Blackjack. At this point, if you do not have 21, you will lose your initial stake when the dealer turns over Blackjack and win the stake back in the form of the payout for the insurance bet.
Blackjack and card counting
Here is where things get interesting, there are certain points in advanced and card counting strategy where the deck becomes so positive that taking insurance can be the right move. Note that with a lot of 10s in the deck, the dealer is more likely to get a Blackjack. This means that the card counter has calculated that they will lose a small percentage less on their initial stake by insuring at that point. Not so much an easy win as a way of making a losing situation slightly less bad. Realistically, you would need to be a card counting expert to spot those situations and be playing Blackjack in live casinos too. For many players, the insurance is a bad bet all the time and it should be avoided.
When should I take insurance?
Unless you are counting cards in a real-life casino, you should never wager money on insurance in Blackjack. All it takes is a quick look at the math behind the bet to see that statistically, it is going to lose you money in the long run. The odds against the dealing making a Blackjack are roughly 9 to 4. On average you will lose more than half of the insurance bets you make and since the bet pays out 2 to 1, it’s a losing proposition.
The exception to this only applies to advanced card-counters who can keep track of how many ten-point cards are still left in the deck. The more tens and face cards in the deck, the more likely it is for the dealer to hit a Blackjack. If the count is good enough, taking insurance can be a profitable bet. It’s really important to remember that this only applies to expert players and only in live casinos, not on the internet.
What are the odds for insurance bets?
The exact odds of winning an insurance bet are not always the same. The odds depend on the number of decks being used in the game and the number of ten-point cards that have already been dealt with. Because card counters are able to keep track, they can identify whether the conditions are perfect to make a profitable insurance bet. Another reason to avoid insurance is more the decks being used in the game, the worse the odds. Roughly, the house edge on the insurance bet in a one-deck game is 5.8%. That number jumps to almost 7.5% when the casino is using eight decks. If you have to take insurance, only do it for one-deck game with a full table when very few ten-point cards have been dealt with you and the other players.
Making any form of decision is quite hard in gambling and so the choice of taking insurance. Therefore, it is advisable for players to make up their mind in advance to face a tricky situation. The professional opinion of many of them is to take insurance with Blackjack and this can give you good profits.
Blog Name: What is Blackjack insurance all about?
Posted On: 20/12/2019
Author: Robert Bowron